Harms, Kelly. 2016. The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-1250070616. $25.99 USD
Looking for a beach read? Or something to beat the heat? In August, you’ll want to immerse yourself in this charming tale set in Chicago and Wisconsin in the middle of winter.
Lily Stewart is a painter in Chicago, just starting to show her work in the gallery owned by her sometimes-boyfriend, when she finds herself evicted from the only home she’s known for the past ten years. She finds that all her art school friends have moved on to settle down in marriages with families, and both her boyfriend and her best friend refuse to help her out, thinking she needs to grow up and stop “playing” at art. As she is packing up her few household items (she mostly owns paints and canvases), she comes across a letter from the State of Nevada, requiring her to submit certain documents to annul a quickie Vegas wedding from ten years earlier. With no place to live, she embarks on a road trip to Minnow Bay, Wisconsin, to deliver the news to Ben Hutchinson, her still-husband, and finish the annulment. But the universe has other plans for Lily Stewart…..
This fairly simple description doesn’t do justice to the incredible character development that the author of The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane has created in her new novel. With a cast of well-developed supporting characters and a small town Wisconsin setting that is almost a character itself, reader’s will fall in love with this feel-good read about a down-on-her-luck artist and her attempts to turn her life around. I truly enjoyed this refreshing novel that hits all the right notes.