Published: 3 October 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.
Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.
Rating: 2 Stars
I like easy reads as much as the next person. Sometimes they’re incredible palate cleansers after an intense book, sometimes they’re just what you’re in the mood for. That being said, Merry and Bright turned out to be an example of too easy a read.
There was next to no tension, no build up. Shortly after the book begins, you already know who is going to end up with who. Sure they portray the love interest as a gruff over-worker, but come on, it was incredibly obvious, given that his name is Jayson Bright and the title of the book being what it is, that this would go the way of so many books before.
Not just other romance books either, I mean. Debbie Macomber has some good titles to her name, which is why I try again and again to like her newer books, Merry and Bright among them. Her Cedar Cover series, my personal favorite the Blossom Street books, even her Angel Interventionbooks are fantastic and satisfying, examples of good easy reads. Since she usually does so well at Christmas stories, I thought I’d give this one a try, despite my not liking her more recent works.
Merry was decent enough, though I think she faltered between being slightly flat in which case she was uninteresting, and between being a bit of a doormat. Jayson, even though I know he was supposed to start out a miserable being and end up “good for love”, was a pain. He was not a kindhearted person that I could see, even asking his doorman to roust a homeless person trying to sleep on the side of his apartment building. Either be decent and offer some help or leave the poor person alone!
I didn’t like how Macomber pushed the toxic father forgiveness storyline. Jayson’s father, will all the details we’re given, is not someone deserving of this, but because she’s set on every bump being smoothed over, it had to happen. It was disgusting when you consider what the feelings would be like if these were real people. It was very brief and only occurred in the early parts of the book, for which I’m thankful.
The men in the book were exactly stellar guys, even at the end when they should have had time to become better people. Aside from the earlier comments I made about Jayson, there’s also the fact that both he and Cooper, his best friend/cousin that gave him advice over the course of the story, came off as very shallow. Cooper, when asked by Jayson why he wants to marry his current girlfriend Maddy, could only come up with physical characteristics as reasons. Jayson, at the company Christmas party, thinks that someone more “bombshell gorgeous” is the woman he’s been talking to online, even though he’s attracted to Merry and she’s right in front of him. It left a bad feeling in my head when I realized these two, even though Jayson was not a great person, were still going to end up together.
The ending felt a bit weird, I’m sorry to say. Of course these two end up a couple, despite the “problem” they encountered along the way. The feeling I got was that it was all too simple, too quick, and too generous. Jayson brings loads of presents to Merry’s family home on Christmas Eve, including a laptop for her brother. After chatting online for a month and one, maybe two dates, and he’s showering her with gifts. It felt like he was overcompensating and I didn’t think it a comfortable place to end. Everything in the book was too brief, solved too quickly and too well, and that didn’t sit right with me.
If you don’t mind an almost instalove kind of story with practically no complications and everything wrapped up neatly, then perhaps you’ll find more enjoyment in Merry & Bright than I did.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.