Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday Review: His Ideal Match

His Ideal Match
By Arlene James
Publisher: Harlequin (Love Inspired)
Release Date: 
December 17, 2013

Carissa Hopper has endured a series of knockout blows. When she was left with a young widow with three small children, she worked to keep their lives as normal as possible. When she realized her husband had left her with nothing but her kids, sweet memories, and a load of debt, she did her best to deal with the difficulties. When she lost her business and her home and was forced to move into her dad’s small apartment, she worked as hard as she could to save enough to start over. But when her dad died and Carissa and her children had to vacate his apartment, she was forced to admit she couldn’t handle things without some help. She just wished God had sent the help through someone other than Phillip Chatam whose good looks and easy charm pose a threat to her heart even though he clearly is not husband and father material.

Phillip Chatam has steadfastly refused to follow his siblings into some responsible, productive career that makes his doctor parents proud. His adult life has been a series of adventures, sometimes risky and always temporary. His latest vocation as a mountain climbing guide for tourists in Washington State had lasted longer than most, but after an accident left a tourist and two of Phillip’s fellow guides dead, he had lost his enthusiasm for mountain climbing. He’d walked away from another job and wound up in Texas at Chatam House, owned by his seventy-five-year-old triplet great-aunts. He seems to have lost all sense of direction for his life, and no matter how attractive and admirable he finds Carissa Hopper, she and her kids—adorable Grace, mischievous Tucker, and angry Nathan who is struggling to be the man of the family—deserve someone more responsible and competent than Phillip. He vows to help them all he can, but then he will move on as usual.

However, change is on the way for Phillip and for Carissa as they discover that God’s answers to their prayers are not always what they expect.

The seventh book in James’s Chatam House series is a sweet, slight, easy-to-read romance. Although these are characters whose faith is important to them and who believe in a personal God who hears and answers prayer, the tone is not excessively preachy. The characters are likeable, and it’s easy to root for their HEA.

This was the first book I have read in the series, and I was bothered by the reminders that all the other young Chatams who appear with their spouses had stories that I didn’t know. I also got the feeling that the family relationships which I found too thinly developed for my taste might seem more substantial seen in the context of the full series. I had only a vague sense of the town and never got a sense of how it is different from a dozen other small Texas towns. So, overall, this is a pleasant novel but one that will probably be more appreciated by readers familiar with the series.

I missed a distinctive sense of place in this book, but I know some readers don’t pay much attention to place. How important is a sense of place to you?

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