Miss Match by Erynn Mangum is a light, witty novel about twenty-three-year-old Lauren Holbrook’s quest for contentment, fulfillment, and the world’s best cup of coffee. Lauren claims to be a happily single caffeine addict, but she questions this as she sees the success of the relationship she has set up between her sister and new brother-in-law. She enjoys the scheming of setting up her co-worker, Ruby, with her pastor, Nick, but this relationship challenges her desire to be single, testing whether it is a part of God’s will or her own.
The book begins as a modern day mimic of Jane Austen’s Emma, but progresses past this original premise to develop an attitude and action all Lauren Holbrook’s. The more I read the book, the more I found myself drawn into the actions, events, and conversations of this borrowed social circle. The most striking aspect of Mangum’s book is her ability to push humor past the predictable. Many times, a slight twist in a predictably funny scene changed my quiet entertainment into genuine, out-loud laughter.
From beginning to end of Miss Match, Lauren sifts through everyone she knows to bring together the perfect couples. Her employer and long-time friend, Brandon, watches her attempts to set up Ruby and Nick with scornful amusement. Hannah, the secretary at the studio where Lauren works, also joins in. As Lauren watches her plans unfold only to crumple under the stress of everyday life and misunderstanding, she questions if it is her place to prod along other people’s relationships. Despite her uncertainties, Lauren launches ahead through extravagant evenings, failed dates, and even a fake relationship with Ruby’s brother to see her friends happy together.
It is through these elaborate schemes that readers meet the energetic, highly caffeinated Lauren Holbrook, known by most of the people around her as a quick-witted kindred spirit. Fortunately, Mangum incorporates a deeper, deliberative side to Lauren’s character as she struggles to find God’s will in her life. By the end of the book, these two sides merge to form a more mature, understanding Lauren Holbrook than the one presented at the beginning.
After reading Miss Match, I feel as though coffee with Lauren might taste better and that I would be comfortable going out to dinner with her friends. Unexpectedly, Mangum’s ultimate goal in this novel does not seem to be a condemnation for all matchmaking or even a rulebook for singles to live by. Instead, she challenges readers to think about God’s sovereignty in their own lives through Lauren Holbrook’s friends, decisions, and cravings for caffeine. – Natalie Myers, Christian Book Previews.com
Lauren Holbrook has found her life's calling: matchmaking for the romantically challenged.
And with the eclectic cast of characters in her world, there's tons of potential to play "connect the friends." Inspired by the recent success of matching her sister and new husband, Lauren sets out to introduce Nick, her carefree singles' pastor, to Ruby, her neurotic coworker who plans every second of every day. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything. When Lauren's foolproof plan begins to unravel, she learns that a simple introduction between friends can bring about complicated results. And as she reconsiders her new role as Cupid (as well as her vow to stay single forever), will Lauren finally decide that God's plan is always good enough?