by Brenda Novak, Jill Shalvis, Alison Kent

May 2004
ISBN: 0-373-83605-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin
Mass Market Paperback

MATCH-MAKING MOTHERS ON THE LOOSE could have been another title for this anthology with three short stories by some of your favorite Harlequin authors.

The anthology gets off to a kick with the best story out of the group for me – Upstairs, Downstairs by Alison Kent. Susannah Rice’s husband passed away five years ago and she has turned their once large home into a living area for herself, and two apartments that are filled by her daughter Avery and David Marks who just happens to be the guy who rescued her daughter from the local jerk when they were in high school. Of course Avery doesn’t have a clue that David is the perfect match for her - until her mother schemes to throw these two together. I found myself giggling a few times throughout this charming 'set-up' story.

I’ve been a fan of Jill Shalvis’s work in the past and her contribution to the book, The Road Home is my second favorite story. You will find a charming plotline as Jason Lawrence keeps bringing in unfortunate pet after pet to veterinarian Melissa Anders. Of course Melissa could make good money off this poor soul but she has to begin to wonder if all these pets are really his. Melissa soon starts to feel more than just pity for Jason and may even be falling in love, until she realizes that she’s been set up. Set up by the mother who gave birth to her and then abandoned her all these years ago.

Even though a huge fan of Brenda Novak’s work, I felt her story What a Girl Wants was the weakest of the lot and actually pulled my rating of the book down a bit. Physicist Abby Ashton is very upset about the split up of her parents' thirty-three year marriage and she is determined to do whatever it takes to get the two back together again. Even though she has no kind feelings toward former NASCAR racer Gunner Stevens, who has purchased the family owned auto parts business, she sets out to make him a deal. If Gunner will accompany her parents and herself on a trip to Mexico, she will support his ownership of the business. It doesn’t take the author long to figure out that of course Abby and Gunner will be the ones falling in love under the Mexican sun.

Even though all the stories in this group were predictable, they all had a touch of humor in them and I think a lot of daughters could relate to the whole matchmaking-mother idea.

Reviewed in May 2004 by Shelby.