REVIEW: A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau
A Thanksgiving rom-com with lots of food and interfering family!
Advertising executive Nick Wong enjoys living in Toronto. He loves late nights partying and taking women back to his penthouse. And so it is with great reluctance that he returns to his boring hometown of Mosquito Bay for Thanksgiving.
This year, however, is even worse than usual. His parents and grandparents, frustrated with the lack of weddings in the family, have invited blind dates for him and his three siblings. Nick’s brother Greg has been set up with Lily Tseng, who just so happens to be Nick’s latest one-night stand, the one he can’t get out of his mind.
Although Nick has never been interested in settling down, Lily has him reconsidering. Perhaps he’s good for more than a single night of sex, dumplings, and bubble tea after all. But first, he has to get through this painful weekend with his family and convince her that she should be with him, not Greg…
Dear Ms. Lau,
I know that Thanksgiving in Canada is not at the same time as in the US but given the paucity of books centered on this holiday, I’m going to borrow this one. There’s actually a lot packed into this novella. “By the rules” Lily Tseng, who takes delight in lists and crossing things off of lists, has added a new item to hers: have a one night stand. Suave Nick Wong has reinvented himself since he left his small hometown. The chance to help a hot looking woman who is sitting at the bar of a swanky restaurant in a stunning red dress and muttering under her breath about how hard it is to have a one night stand is right up his alley. One steaming night later, they part company with no thoughts of anything more.
That is until Lily arrives at Nick’s family Thanksgiving dinner as one of the dates Nick’s parents and grandparents arranged. Time’s a wastin’ and they want great/grandchildren. Seeing Lily set up with his brother awakens something in Nick and for a man who has shown no interest in long term relationships, he’s certainly acting as if he wants to be in one. But is he ready to give up his bachelor lifestyle? Lily never thought to see Nick again but he accepted the invite to her family’s Thanksgiving meal (complete with KFC – yum). But she doubts that Nick would be satisfied long term with a boring, list-crosser-offer like her.
I can’t imagine “meeting the family” as a matchmaking set-up at a family holiday event. Blech. What were Nick’s elders thinking? Mom and Ah Ma might be using romance book tropes to pick dates (opposites attract, second chance at love, best friend’s sibling, etc.) but yeah, I hope this only happens in a romance novel.
There are little things that ground Lily and Nick’s characters and that they can share together such as growing up different in a small town. Both experienced subtle and not so subtle racism before leaving for Toronto. Nick seemed to envy his younger brother a little – the one who could pass as White. But both MCs are successful and happy now.
The sex is smoking (condoms used), the food sounds great – especially the nanaimo bars (and I don’t care that they sound unhealthy; fuck eating healthy when these are on the table). Both Lily’s mother and Nick’s elders are all on board with their grand/children finding life partners. Nick’s friend might flinch at the thought that Nick could be slipping into having …. brunch … on Sundays but Nick is surprisingly cool about this. He doesn’t even mind that he and Lily seem to be having moments when they’re together. It’s not quite montaging but dangerously close.
Yet despite the fact that all signals are go, I’m just slightly unsure of how quickly this relationship progresses. At times both Lily and Nick ponder things, how fast things are moving and whether or not they see a future together. But Nick – even though he’s enjoying spending time with Lily – is questioning leaving his playboy ways while Lily is wondering if she’s good enough to hang on to a man like Nick. There seemed to be a slight relationship imbalance there that niggled at me. The epilogue helped but still it’s only three months onwards. Perhaps reading the other three stories and seeing Nick and Lily staying together will convince me. B-