My Christmas reading assignment ends this season with The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber. Cassie Beaumont is a woman in her mid-thirties who is motivated to find the man of her dreams just in time for the holidays. After she receives an early Christmas message from a friend–with the obligatory rewrite of all the year’s past events and a picture-perfect family photo–she is determined to create a perfect Christmas for herself.
While she can’t do anything about finding the perfect children, she can start looking for a new man in her life. To help her along she hires Dr. Simon Dodson, a well-known matchmaker. The story takes a turn into the eye-rolling unbelievable when Simon reveals his fee: an exorbitant thirty thousand dollars to find one’s “most suitable” mate. With so many dating apps that are either free or cost significantly less (this book was published in 2009) I doubt anyone would fork over that usurious amount, and Cassie did it all in one go, writing Simon a single cheque for the full amount.
This novel seemed like an exercise in repeat reading as I noticed similarities in the relationship between Cassie and Simon as I did with Addie and Erich in Mr. Miracle. In each case you have a rude and standoffish man who somehow turns the crank of the woman protagonist. What is the author saying here? That women should fall for impolite jerks? Cassie falls in love with Simon after repeated abrupt and rude encounters. She practically begs to have two or three children with him. Instead of wanting to hear more about the man Simon has found for Cassie, she isn’t interested. She even offers to surrender her entire five-figure fee, as long as she can go out with him instead. That makes it sound as if she is prostituting herself.
This story was so unbelievable yet predictable for Macomber; I just knew that in spite of Simon snapping at Cassie she’d nevertheless find him irresistible and have her tongue down his throat by the next chapter.
My last Macomber novels were not the mindless delights I had otherwise experienced them to be. In fact, I considered them to be laughably bad with unreal dialogue. I took to her novels as holiday escapes that first produced good moods but now that I have read fourteen ( ! ) there is no good reason for me to read any more by her.