At BookTrib, we are constantly searching for the best ways to connect readers with writers, opening their eyes and worlds to fresh ideas! This is how we came across a wonderful group known as the Tall Poppies, who are not only avid readers, but extremely talented writers as well! This is the third installment of our weekly Tall Poppies book review series, and more are on the way!
Kelly Harms has a knack for transporting her readers to the beautiful locations in which her books are set. In her debut novel, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane, it was the sunny and windswept coast of Maine. Now, with The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay, Harms takes us to the snowy woods of northern Wisconsin where her heroine, Lily, travels in order to procure a divorce from Ben, a man she married ten years earlier on a lark in Las Vegas, but hasn’t spoken to since.
Lily is, to put it bluntly, a mess. Despite being well into her thirties, she hasn’t quite figured out how to be an adult. The rent on her Chicago apartment is past due, her career as a painter has plateaued, and she’s in an aimless, ambivalent relationship with an art dealer.
Although Lily may be a mess, she’s a loveable one. Readers will laugh with her even as they shake their heads at some of the situations Lily manages to get herself into. She’s like that friend or family member who, despite a big heart and the best of intentions, just can’t seem to get it together and is constantly calling you on the verge of a crisis.
When Lily travels to Ben’s small hometown of Minnow Bay, Wisconsin, she is hoping just to procure the paperwork she needs for the divorce and get out of there. She has plans to turn over a new, more responsible leaf. But Ben has become a hermit since he moved to a remote cabin after a successful stint in the tech world. He hardly ever talks to the family members and friends who live in town, let alone a woman who shows up at the doorstep of his cabin unannounced.
It takes time, and several visits, for Lily to persuade Ben to let her in for long enough to have a real conversation. In that time she becomes fast friends with the local gallery owner and the keeper of the inn where she’s staying. With their help, Lily comes to see that small town life is richer than she could have imagined, and it even ends up inspiring her art in a new way. And, as Lily gets to know Ben better, she realizes that their long-ago attraction is still very much alive.
Readers will root for Lily as she grapples with the question of whether to stay in Minnow Bay or return to Chicago, and whether to build on her old attraction to Ben or go back to the man she left behind in the city. The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay is a great book to pack in your travel bag in these last weeks of summer. The cozy northern setting will keep you cool at the pool or beach, and Lily’s antics will keep you laughing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Harms is a former editor and literary agent who has worked with a wide array of bestselling and award-winning authors of commercial fiction. She traded New York City for the writing life in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her son Griffin and puppy Scout. She is the author of The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane and The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay.