The Matchmaker’s Mark – a Novel – Regan Black
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
When you’re ‘more’ than human, finding your soulmate isn’t as easy as answering a few quesitons online. It’s best to track down Campbell Consulting, a.k.a. the Matchmaker.
In Charleston, South Carolina half-elf Lily has a birthmark her elders vow is a mystical promise of true love. So far she’s yet to encounter Mr. Right in either the elf or human realms.
Dare, a wood elf, has led the Matchmaker’s security team for years. In town on a simple errand, when the Matchmaker disappears his future is turned inside out.
And Amy Campbell is a completely human English professor about to discover the true magic of the family business…
2nd Place Winner for Best Paranormal RomanceSeries
2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice awards!
Honorable Mention: Best Fantasy Romance
PRG 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards
Gloria Lakritz – She Said:
I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing all of Ms. Black’sJustice Series, the last one calledTracking Shadows just this July. That series, in the genre of UF Fiction, takes place in the year 2096 with Alpha males and Kick ass heroines. This newest release,Matchmakers Mark, is quite a change, which shows another side of our talented Regan Black.
The setting for this beautiful love story is Charlestown, South Carolina. Please do not get me wrong, this is no easy boy meets girl, boy falls in love, and they live happily ever after kinda story. Heaven forbid, but it is certainly a light-hearted paranormal romance, filled with mystery down to almost the last page.
I quote from the book blurb. “When you’re more than just human, searching for your soul mate and eHarmony doesn’t ask all the right questions, it’s time to call in the expert: Campbell Consulting and the Legendary Matchmaker”.
Amy Campbell, an English Professor, and her dog Guinness, a greyhound, are visiting her friend Maeve King. They are both working at the local college teaching a class together. Amy, while walking with Guinness, wanders into a beautiful Flower Shoppe owned by Lily Parker. These three women are the heart of the story.
We learn that Amy’s Aunt Camille is a Matchmaker. A long line of them are in the Campbell family tree, and Amy is next in succession. We learn about Aunt Camille through the letters she writes to Amy during our story.
Lily, owner of the flower shop is a Halfling, half elf/half human. She has embraced her human side, as she feels she cannot be of service to her elf family because her magic is not strong. She buries herself in her flowers, and wishes to find true love.
Maeve King is a human and best friend to Amy. At the moment we meet these wonderful women, our story unfolds, with such a rich story line, humor, and mystery, it was hard to put this down… and I didn’t.
Darian Knoll, the Matchmakers Guard, has come to Charleston to give something to Amy from her Aunt, and that’s where we begin. Dare has given his life to guarding Aunt Camille. What could this mean?
Lily has a mark in her arm. She has always thought it was her mating mark. That is how she would find her true love, they would match. The mark starts to itch, then burn; it starts to move, and grow and what could all this mean?
The twists and turns are such a great start to the newest series for Ms. Black. Her world building is elaborate in description and flavor. One could feel the spray of the water; one could certainly be spooked in the graveyard…
And yet, the lovers were sensual, strong and so right. Of the three women we met, I tended to favor Lily. She had such a strong sense of what was right, and wanted to harm no one, even at the cost to her own desires. The ensemble Ms. Black brings to the table is wonderful, and from what I see, the next episode with them will be welcome on my TBR Pile. I am so happy this will continue.
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Senior Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Penelope Adams – She Said:
Lily is content with her life. As half elf/half human, it’s difficult to fit into either world, so owning her own flower shop in Charleston, SC is good for her. She yearns to find her own true love some day, but with over-protective brothers and magic that is unstable at best, she doesn’t hold out much hope.
Dare is a full wood elf who is personal guard to the infamous Matchmaker. His family isn’t thrilled with his job choice, but it works for him. He’s a bit puzzled, and more than a bit put out, when the Matchmaker sends him on a personal errand to hand deliver a letter to her niece, but hey, it’s his job.
Amy is an English teacher. Along with her greyhound Guinness; she is combining work with pleasure by co-teaching a course with her best friend Maeve and staying in her house with her. Who could complain about spending January in Charleston instead of snowy Nebraska?
Her whole life she has been receiving cryptic letters from her Aunt Camille that she thinks of as just her aunt being eccentric. She is about to find out that there is more to Aunt Camille’s letters than meets the eye.
Lily, Dare and Amy’s lives are on a collision course that will result in a little romance, a little magic and encounters with all sorts of creatures outside of the human realm.
The Matchmaker’s Mark is a complete turnaround from Ms. Regan’s Justice series. It’s light and fun, full of romance, fantasy and humor. Ms. Regan couldn’t write a bad book if she tried, thankfully she didn’t try. Lilly and Dare live in a world of elves, werewolves, mermaids, trolls and other things that go bump in the night and are comfortable there.
Poor Amy is brought kicking and screaming into this world. She reacts as one would think someone would react when confronted with a world not quite human and I enjoyed that. Dare’s reactions to Amy’s reluctance to believe him are fun to watch and his frustrations with Amy and Maeve are priceless.
Maeve, and Lilly’s brother, Cade, are secondary characters that I enjoyed getting to know and hope to see more of in later books. Lilly starts off as a nice, unassuming type of woman. She slowly builds her confidence in her own ability and when she does, wow. The wonderful town of Charleston is not only a setting for the story but a character in its own right.
I could say all sorts of glowing things about The Matchmaker’s Mark, but the bottom line is, it’s a nice, romantic, mystical journey into a world of fantasy. Anything you could possibly want in a fantasy romance is here; angry werewolves, mermaids with a tude, saucy southern belles, hunky elves, a mysterious setting and a couple of smart women.
There are a few fights (this is Regan Black after all) that are more implied than seen, some sex (not graphic), some good laughs and a sigh or two. I hope there is a sequel in the works because I need to know where Aunt Camille is and how Amy is getting along in her new profession.
Review by Penelope Adams
Reviewer for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
I for one, after reading both of our reviews, wish I could hear what everyone thinks about these besides me. As I read your review, forgetting about my own, I would say your feel for the story and characters is outstanding. Your overall feel for the book to someone like myself who has already read The Matchmakers Mark is right on the mark (excuse the pun). I find then reading my own review we both seemed to find the flavor, the fun, the turmoil, and the mystery of this newest release from a very talented Regan Black. We both found her escape to a completely different storyline a positive approach to her writing abilities. Not so somber and dark this book showed a lightheartedness that was also refreshing to the reader.
Yes, I enjoyed this different side to Ms. Black, although mind you, I still love her Justice series. I was impressed with the way she switched between character viewpoints, not always an easy thing to do. I was also pleased to see the mystical side of Charleston, so often it is just portrayed as another southern city but in The Matchmaker’s Mark we see a different side. I would like to thank Ms. Black for giving us a proper ending, she still left the door open for other books in the series but didn’t do the dreaded cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see what scrapes our new Matchmaker can get herself into and out of next.
So it was all about Charleston, huh??? How about the wonderful people we will have as family… Maeve looks like so much fun, and Lily’s brother Cade, Hmmm? We also can see some more of poor Mac who is now stuck with the novice Amy… Sounds like he will have his hands full. Love the write in for Amy’s dog Guinness, so close to the authors heart. She is the proponant thatsaves Greyhounds. And down the road, we can learn Where is Aunty Camille??? Yes, thank goodness there was no cliff hanger, but a great segue to some other wonderful stories.
You mean there were people there and not just Charleston? Sorry, are my southern roots showing? I am intrigued with Mac, I think he is going to give Amy a run for her money, or is Amy going to give him a run for his money? Either way, I think they are going to be lucky not to come to blows. Speaking of running, there is a werewolf that isn’t going to know what hit him when Maeve gets a hold of him. And Cade, well being the only girl with five older brothers myself, I’m hoping someone brings him down a peg or two. I have a theory Aunt Camille just went on vacation, but that just might be me. See, I did notice there were people.
It’s kind of funny… If you are from the South it is called pride... When you are from the North you are called arrogant! Yes, our poor werewolf... I almost lost sight of that. Maeve won’t for too long I hope. To say the least, The Matchmakers Mark has offered everything a reader could wish for; a great read, romance, mystery and the Beginnings of a great New Series. Let’s see what the second book will reveal…I cannot wait!
I agree, can’t wait, hope it’s not too long.