The Wrong Mr. Right
Marisa Cerini’s fiercely traditional family is oddball, to say the least. Female ambition outside of house and home is frowned upon, Grandma talks regularly to Grandpa (who passed into the Great Beyond many years ago), and every female in the Cerini family meets her one true love at sunset on the first day of the Amore, an annual celebration of love, food, and wine. Every female Cerini except for Marisa, apparently, who is rapidly becoming the black sheep. She secretly takes business classes so she can help run the family business, yet she yearns to fit in with her eccentric family. Therefore, she is determined that this year she’ll get find Mr. Right (young, well-off, and Italian, needless to say) the right way. After all, isn’t the sixth time a charm?
Unfortunately, she doesn’t exactly meet someone at sunset. “Run over” might be a better term. Barrie McKenzie, Scottish photographer and possibly the most unromantic man in the world, is covering the Amore festival under duress when a crazy line of dancing romantics and uneven cobblestones cause him to fall on Marisa. She sprains her ankle and becomes convinced that Barrie has foiled her chances at meeting her soul mate. So she asks Barrie to pose as a temporary Man of Her Dreams while she peruses the photographs he’s taken of the festival, to determine possible Mr. Rights she might have met before she was KO’d. Hilarious if mildly disastrous encounters with the candidates ensue, and Marisa and Barrie start wondering if maybe they really are right for each other, despite what common sense and the rest of the Cerini family are telling them.
The Wrong Mr. Right is a charming story told with a nice humorous touch, although the pratfalls and stereotypes come rather thick and fast. Marisa and her family are just a touch too loud and too Italian. Their absolute determination to hold on to old traditions and their strange insistence on being “romantic” all the time wore a bit thin after a while. Barrie is also a little bit too pragmatic, too Scottish. However, the book is undeniably amusing, and the chemistry between the two mismatched lovers is well done. Some of Wainscott’s turns of phrase had me laughing out loud. The story also makes a nice point about square pegs trying to fit into round holes, and the importance of balancing being yourself and making your family happy. If you’re looking for something light, with a dash of slapstick, this book will probably hit the spot.