Dating by Numbers
In Jennifer Lohmann’s charming Dating by Numbers, Marsie Penny is frustrated. Her life is going really well, but she can’t seem to find true love. As numbers have never betrayed her before, she decides to create an algorithm that will help her to find her match. Her colleague, Jason, thinks she’s nuts to boil love down to an equation and frequently makes his objections to her methods known. As he teases and cajoles her, she finds herself falling for him, but he absolutely does not fit the algorithm. What is our beloved numbers nerd to do?
Well, sadly, she fights it for a lot longer than I wanted her to. But I’ll get into that in a minute.
Marsie is one of those characters who is exactly what it says on the tin. She’s fastidious, organized, and someone who values order more than most. She’s excellent at her job, has some good friends, but romantic relationships befuddle her. Online dating, she thinks, is a racket, and like any true nerd, knows she can do it better. As she fumbles her way through various dates that fit the algorithm she’s designed but continues to bond with Jason, the juxtaposition sends her for all of the loops.
Jason, for his part, is fascinated with Marsie. He can’t understand why she trusts numbers so much – dating and relationships cannot be patterned or predicted. He humors her a bit, but mostly needles her about the dates she goes on. We, as readers, can completely see what is happening, but our couple is fairly oblivious.
Harlequin SuperRomances walk a fine line. I’ve read some that are on my favorites list, but far more I think are delightful ways to pass the time but will probably never return to. I always think of them as the middle-of-the-road contemporary line for Harlequin. They’re not the frequent cheese-fests of the Love Inspired or Heartwarming lines, but they’re also absolutely not Presents or Blazes, with their sexual chemistry and explicit shenanigans. They also have longer page counts than the other lines, which can lead to the stories feeling stretched out.
This is one of those stories. I like Ms. Lohmann’s writing quite a bit, and usually enjoy the characters she introduces us to, but this one drags in the middle. While Marsie and Jason were flitting around with other people while I knew they belonged together, I was tapping my foot impatiently for them to just get on with it. The pacing felt elongated instead of tidy, and I have a feeling that’s a consequence of the requirements of the line.
All that being said, I still liked these two and am happy for their HEA. I’m always here for nerdy heroines and have been vocal about my love of books where people are good at their jobs – both of which elements are present in Dating by Numbers. If you like the idea of exploring online dating in romance, this is a fun read.