NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Christmas is the season of the heart, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is here to warm yours with a delightful holiday novel of first impressions and second chances.
Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.
Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.
Praise for Merry and Bright
“Warm and sweet as Christmas cookies, this new Debbie Macomber romance is sure to be a hit this holiday season.”—Bookreporter
“Heartfelt, cheerful . . . Readers looking for a light and sweet holiday treat will find it here.”—Publishers Weekly
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Debbie Macomber, the author of Cottage by the Sea, Any Dream Will Do, If Not for You, and the Rose Harbor Inn series, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Thirteen of her novels have reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and five of her beloved Christmas novels have been hit movies on the Hallmark Channel, including Mrs. Miracle and Mr. Miracle. Hallmark Channel also produced the original series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, based on Macomber’s Cedar Cove books. She is, as well, the author of the cookbook Debbie Macomber’s Table. There are more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide.
Hometown:Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:Yakima, Washington
Education:Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
Read an Excerpt
“Mom, I need to work overtime, so I won’t be home to help with dinner.”
“Again?” her mother moaned into the phone.
“Yes, sorry.” Merry hated leaving her mother with the task of cooking dinner. Robin Knight struggled with mobility issues due to complications with multiple sclerosis. As much as Merry hated the thought of it, her mother would soon be confined to a wheelchair.
“That’s three nights this week.”
Merry didn’t need the reminder. Three nights out of four. Matterson Consulting, the firm where she worked as a temp, was involved in a huge project, its biggest one to date, for the Boeing Company. With the time crunch, everyone on staff was putting in mandatory overtime. Normally, few would object to the extra hours, but this was the holiday season. People were busy, and there were parties to attend and shopping and decorating that needed to be done. Baking. Visiting. All the normal, fun things that were part of this time of year, but for those employed by Matterson, it didn’t matter. Christmas might as well be blocked off the calendar.
“Don’t worry, dear,” Merry’s mother assured her gently. “Patrick will help me with dinner.”
Merry closed her eyes and let her shoulders sag. Patrick was a dear boy, but he tended to dirty every dish in the house when he cooked. Her eighteen-year-old Down syndrome brother was the light of her life, but his help in the kitchen was questionable at best.
“Heat up soup and have Patrick make sandwiches,” Merry suggested.
“We can do that, but you should know Bogie is out of dog food.”
Bogie was Patrick’s golden retriever, who had an appetite that rivaled that of an entire high school football squad. Grocery shopping was a task Merry had taken on as her mother’s illness progressed. However, working the hours she did made it nearly impossible to find the time needed. “Oh Mom, I’m sorry. Poor Bogie. I’ll stop off at the store on my way home and pick some up.” While she was there she’d grab a few other essentials, too, like milk and bread. They were running low on both. And maybe some ice cream for Patrick, who never complained about the need to help his mother.
“Your father can do that on his way home—”
“Don’t ask Dad,” Merry interrupted. Her father was in pharmaceutical sales and traveled extensively around the Pacific Northwest and was often on the road. He carried a heavy enough load as it was. By the time he got home from driving across the state, he’d be exhausted. Merry didn’t want to burden him with any extra chores. Buying the groceries was her responsibility.
Everyone worked together in the Knight family. They were a tight-knit group by necessity and by love. Merry had taken the twelve-month temp job with Matterson Consulting to save tuition money for college. Her educational expenses were more than their family budget could manage. She’d been hired by Matterson Consulting specifically for this Boeing project and had worked extensively on inputting the data. It’d taken months to accumulate all the necessary information. It was all winding down now. December 23 would be her last day on the job.
After working with the company for nearly a year, she’d made friends with the other two women working in data entry. They considered her part of the team and often turned to her with questions, as she had replaced the department head. Although she was only a temporary employee, her skill level was above those currently assigned to the project.
Merry took another bite of the peanut-butter sandwich she’d brought for lunch. She usually ate at her desk and worked through her lunch break. Most everyone else went to a local café around the corner, where the food was fast, cheap, and tasty. All three were necessary if Merry was going to splurge and eat out. She treated herself once a week, but more often than that would play havoc with her budget. Most days she brown-bagged it.
“When was the last time you went out, Merry?” her mother asked.
“I go out every day,” she answered, sidestepping the question.
“On a date.”
“Mom! When do I have time to date?” Merry had a fairly good idea what had prompted the question. Her best friend from high school had recently announced she was pregnant.
“That’s exactly my point. You’re twenty-four years old and you’re living the life of a nun.”
“Patrick dates more than you do.”
Merry had to smile, even though her mother was right. Her younger brother was involved with a special group that held dances and other events that allowed him to socialize with other teens who had Down syndrome. As a high school senior, he was active in drama and part of the football team. He had a girlfriend as well.
“It’s time you stopped worrying about your family and had some fun.”
“I have fun,” Merry countered. She had friends, and while she didn’t see them often, they were in touch via social media, email, and texting. If Merry was busy, which she tended to be, then she communicated with emojis. It was fun to see how much she could say with a simple symbol or two.
“Have you ever thought about joining one of those online matchmaking sites?” her mother asked, sounding thoughtful.
“No,” Merry returned emphatically, rolling her eyes. She hoped the state of her social life would change once she could afford to return to school. It wasn’t like she was a martyr, but at times she struggled with the weight of family obligations. She tried not to think about everything she was missing that her friends enjoyed. It was what it was, and it didn’t do any good to feel sorry for herself. Her family needed her.
“Why don’t you try it? It’d be fun.”
“Mom, have you seen all the forms and questionnaires that need to be filled out for those dating sites? I don’t have time for that.” Especially now, with the demands of my job, she thought to herself.
“I will someday,” she said, hoping that would appease her mother.
“Someday, Merry? Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
“Mom. You sound like Anthony Robbins.” Although she complained, her mother was right. The timing, however, was all wrong.
“I’ll think about it after the first of the year,” she promised.
Her best friend Dakota had met the love of her life online at Mix & Mingle. Inspired by Dakota’s success, Merry had checked out the site, but she became bogged down with the page upon page of questions that needed to be completed. She started filling out the forms but quickly gave up, exasperated by all the busywork.
“You need to get out more, enjoy life,” her mother continued. “There’s more to life than work and more work.”
“I agree. After the holidays. Let me finish this temp job first.”
“It worked for Dakota.”
“Mom, please. I have plenty of time to get out there.” Merry didn’t need the reminder about her friend’s happy ending. After Dakota met Michael on the site, she had sung the website’s praises to Merry like a wolf howling at the moon. She wouldn’t stop bugging Merry about it until she’d promised to give it a try.
“I heard from her mother this morning. Did you know Dakota and Michael are expecting?”
“Yes, Mom, I heard.” Merry reached for her sandwich and was about to take another bite when the vice president of the company, Jayson Bright, walked past her desk. He had to be one of the most serious-minded men Merry had ever met. To the best of her memory she had never seen the man smile. Not once. He looked about as happy as someone scheduled for a root canal.
Jayson Bright paused and stared at Merry. His eyes fell to the nameplate on her desk. mary knight. She’d asked HR to correct the spelling of her first name twice, with no success, and then gave up. Seeing that she was a temp, they hadn’t shown that much interest. Her boss’s gaze landed on the sandwich she had on her desk, and for a moment she toyed with the idea of offering him half, but as she doubted he’d find any humor in it, she restrained herself. He arched his brows before he walked away.
“Merry, did you hear me?” her mother asked.
“Sorry, no, I was distracted.” From Mr. Bright’s look, Merry had to wonder if there was something written in the employee handbook about eating at her desk. She’d been doing it for almost a full year now, and no one had mentioned that it was frowned upon before.
“Mom. I need to get off the phone. I’ll call you before I leave the office.”
“Okay, but think about what I said, all right?”
“I will, Mom.” Merry’s mind filled with visions of meeting her own Prince Charming. Of one thing she was certain: It wouldn’t be someone as dour as Jayson Bright.
Sure enough, just as Merry suspected, at three that same afternoon, a notice was sent around the office.
It is preferred that all staff refrain from eating at their desks. For those who choose to remain in the office for lunch, a designated room is provided. Thank you.
Merry read the email and instinctively knew that this edict was directed at her. She preferred to avoid the lunchroom, and with good reason. The space was often crowded and it was uncomfortable bumbling around, scooting between those at the tables and those waiting in line for a turn at the microwave. Besides, it was more efficient to eat at her desk. Not that Mr. Bright seemed to notice or care.
What a shame—the company vice president was such a curmudgeon. Merry had heard women in the office claim he was hot. She agreed. Jayson Bright was hot, all right. Hotheaded! He was young for his position as vice president. The rumor mill in the office said he was related to the Matterson family; the company president was his uncle. Bright would assume the role when it came time for his uncle to retire. His uncle would continue as chairman of the board.
Merry’s thoughts drifted to Jayson Bright and she mused at how attractive he would be if he smiled. He was about six feet tall, several inches taller than her five-five, with dark brown hair and eyes. He kept his hair cut in a crisp professional style. Wanting to be generous in spirit, Merry supposed he carried a heavy responsibility. Word was that Jayson Bright was the one responsible for obtaining this Boeing contract. A lot weighed in the balance for him with his job. Merry knew that he put in as many hours, or more, than the rest of the staff.
By the time Merry arrived at home, hauling a ten-pound bag of Bogie’s favorite dog food, it was after eight o’clock. As soon as she walked in the door, Patrick rushed to help her with the heavy sack.
His sweet, boyish face was bright with enthusiasm. “Merry’s home,” he shouted, taking the dog food out of her hands and carting it to the kitchen pantry.
“Hi, sweetheart,” her mother called. Her mom leaned heavily on her walker, now exhausted and fatigued, because she grew tired at the end of each day.
“Can I tell her?” Patrick asked excitedly.
“In a minute,” her mother said. Merry noticed that her lips quirked in an effort to hold in a smile.
“Tell me what?”
“We got you an early birthday gift this afternoon and it’s the best one ever.” Patrick rubbed his hands together, unable to disguise his eagerness.
“You did?” Knowing the family budget was tight, Merry wasn’t expecting much. Born on December 26, the day after Christmas, Merry had felt cheated as a child when it came to her birthday gifts. Her parents had done their best to make her birthday special, but it being so soon after Christmas made that difficult. It wasn’t unusual for Merry to get her birthday gifts early because of it.
“And you’re going to be so happy,” Patrick assured her. “I helped Mom with everything.”
“You helped pick it out?” Merry asked. The two of them must have ordered something off the Internet, because her mother was no longer able to drive and Patrick couldn’t. Those with Down syndrome could legally drive in Washington State, but the family couldn’t afford a second car. The family had only the one car, which her father used for work. Merry used public transportation to and from her job.
“Well, this isn’t something we picked out. You need to do the picking.”
“Patrick,” his mother chastised. “You’re going to give it away.”
“You can show me after you feed Bogie,” Merry suggested, as Bogie eyed the pantry door.
“We can’t really give it to you yet,” Patrick told her. “You get to pick for yourself, but I’ll help if you want.” From the way his eyes lit up, Merry knew he’d be terribly disappointed if he didn’t get a say in this.
Okay, now Merry was willing to admit she was intrigued. It was still November, over Thanksgiving weekend. Her brother was barely able to contain himself and rushed to grab Bogie’s food dish. She enjoyed his enthusiasm. Seeing the happy anticipation in him piqued her own. She couldn’t imagine what this special birthday gift could possibly be.
Bogie pranced around in his eagerness for Patrick to fill the dish so he could eat.
“Now, Mom, now?” Patrick asked, jumping up and down after he poured the dog food into the bowl. Between the dog and her brother, the two looked like they were doing a square dance.
“Let me eat dinner first,” Merry said, teasing her brother.
Patrick’s eyes rounded. “Merry, no, please. I’ve been waiting and waiting to tell you. I don’t think I can wait any longer.” Merry and her mother shared a smile.
“Have pity on the boy,” her mother urged.
Holding back a smile would have been impossible. “Okay, Patrick, you can tell me about my birthday gift.”
Her brother’s eyes lit up like Fourth of July sparklers. Whatever this early birthday present was must be special. Merry hugged her brother and, wrapping her arms around his torso, she gave him a gentle squeeze.
Patrick took hold of her hand while their mother opened the laptop and pulled out a chair to sit down. Merry joined her mother.
“You ready?” Robin Knight asked, turning on the computer.
“I can hardly wait,” Merry answered.
Tucking his arm around her elbow, Patrick scooted close to Merry.
She looked at the blank computer screen, getting more curious by the second. They both seemed to be squirming with anticipation. “What did you two order me?”
Reading Group Guide
1. What are the main themes of the novel? What did you find most interesting?
2. The story is told from the perspectives of both Merry and Jayson. Who do you think is the main character? Why?
3. Merry’s brother, Patrick, is a huge part of Merry’s life. How does his presence affect Merry and Jayson’s relationship?
4. If Merry and Jayson hadn’t met through online dating, do you think they would have ever made a connection on their own? Why or why not?
5. In Chapter 12, Merry tells Jayson that “Christmas is a condition of the heart. . . . It’s being open and sincere, generous and kind to those with less, or showing our love to those we cherish.” What does Christmas mean to you? Does this definition match how you feel about the holiday season?
6. How does the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” relate to this story?
7. How does Merry change Jayson and his relationships with others?
8. Which character did you most easily relate to? How are you similar? Different?
9. Who would you cast to play each of the characters in a film adaptation of Merry and Bright? Why?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Christmas books and this one was great! I love this author, her books are always so heartwarming
As usual Debbie has written another wonderful Christmas story. Her characters become people you can care about. I especially loved Patrick. I loved her treatment of his special needs. Downs syndrome children are very special. A wonderful read anytime of year.
This book was such a sweet holiday treat! With 5 little ones of my own to tend, I still somehow managed to read this entire book in less that 24 hours! I was reading during every spare moment that I could manage. Thanks for such a cute read!
Back to original writing with lots of sparring and resultant chemistry. And humor. Good job!
This book was a wonderful reading experience
Sticky sweet and predictable.
Another warm wonderful Christmas Story. This is a story full of family love and caring, humor, and romance. It is a very sweet romance between Merry and Jayson on an internet dating site. They are not aware they already know each other. It makes you realize that you need to talk with a person to really know them. I enjoyed reading this sweet Christmas story.
This was my first read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A bit predictable at times but only because I’ve watched hundreds of Hallmark movies. Would definitely read it again.
This was such a cute short read for the holiday. I read this as an audiobook. So I finished this in a few hours. And I love the story in general. It does promote online dating which is kinda meh for me. But I like the way the story develops and how the Jason's character grew in the story. This was a very light read. And it was quite good. I like the simplicity of it.
This is a charming contemporary holiday romance! I love the main characters and the very differing views of the Christmas season that they have. Their names are fantastic for fitting into the the story itself. In fact I think that they are inspired. I don’t know which came first the idea for the story or the idea for the title of this book. I do know that they are perfect. I adore Merry and the way that she relates with her family and others around her. I would love to be able to consider her a friend. At the same time I can understand all of Jayson’s negative opinions of the holidays. He’s had a difficult family life that has totally colored the season for him. I was enchanted with the way that their relationship developed through the course of this book. As with just about all romances they needed some help from others and I can’t think of any better helper than Patrick. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion. Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Merry and Bright by Debbie Newcomber is a fun, holiday read of a joy-filled temp office worker Merry and her Scrooge-like single boss, Jayson Bright. While the book is predictable, it is sweet and great for those who enjoy a light, feel-good Christmas romance. The little brother is truly a scene stealer. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaway. This review is voluntary and the opinions therein are solely my responsibility.
Enjoyed the story from beginning to end
Debbie Macomber is my go to author for holiday themed books. This one was truly delightful. A bit predictable, but I did not read it for plot twist or suspense. Instead I was looking for something that reflects the spirit of this time of year. This story did not disappoint! My thanks to Ballantine Books for providing this ARC via Netgalley
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Merry Knight has put others first her entire life. With a brother with Down Syndrome and a mother battling MS and a father who traveled for his job, Merry Knight has held her family together. Her brother and mother decide to give her a gift and sign her up for online dating and the story takes off from there!
Merry Knight is a temp helping to run the data analysis corps at a consultation company. She's 24 and lives at home with her parents because her mother has MS, her brother Patrick has Down's Syndrome, and her father travels to work. Plus, it helps Merry save all her money for college tuition; she's hoping to return to school in the new year when her contract expires. The job is grueling, though, and she's excited to be shot of it. And Merry won't miss the mini-aggravations, like the mandatory overtime, the misspelled nameplate proclaiming her "Mary Knight" HR wont' fix, or her petty rule-enforcing boss, Jayson Bright. The man won't even let them decorate for the holidays, and he's got the employee manual memorized. Merry can't wait for some time to herself, but her mom and Patrick have some plans of their own: signing her up for an online matching service--under a pseudonym, and with the picture of the family dog as her avatar. That way only people who are nice and not attracted to Merry's young face will try to set up dates...Merry's a bit mortified, but she does make a connection with one user, Jay. Jayson Bright has been working hard for the past several years at his uncle's consulting firm. A man his age, 28, doesn't make VP without a lot of sweat equity, and getting all the necessary data processed for his big report is the lynch pin of all his current work. If that means he needs to be a little forceful with the gals down in data services...well, can't make a cake without breaking eggs. Still, he's been lonely and his best pal just announced he's getting married. To a woman he met on a dating app. Jayson's checked it out, and doesn't really find a gal he's looking for: one who'd like him for himself, not his bank account. But, he's intrigued by a profile picture of a golden retriever, and he strikes up a conversation. Soon, "Jay" and Merry are chatting on most evenings, learning all about one another. Jay consoles Merry when she's frustrated with her boss's pushiness. Merry helps talk Jay through reconnecting with his father. Their rapport grows until they are ready to meet in person, and that's when Merry stands Jayson Bright up...because she recognizes him and knows it's a conflict of interest, plus, she's sure he's been playing at being nice online--he's downright heartless as a boss, in her opinion. Jay's mad that she stood him up, and that she has met and disliked him in person already. Their online connection was too good to let go, however, and Jay promises to win Merry back. She is unconvinced, but knowing that Mr. Bright is truly her Jay, well, she begins to notice that he's doing nicer things around the office, and his small acts of kindness begin to accumulate. It's confusing, but also endearing, and Merry's willing to give Jay another chance. For his part, Jayson's taking more notice of Mary Knight, and how selfless she is. How hard she's worked for the company. He knew she was a temp, and he's prompted to make her an offer to stay on full-time. One she refuses to his dismay; he was liking how they worked well together. Okay, so the romance is mostly misconnection, but it's fun in that semi-awkward way as we know these two don't want each other, until they really get to know one another. It's wholly clean, with just a few kisses in the HEA. The big Christmas reveal was fun, and the book is whimsical and enjoyable. I really enjoyed how both Patrick and Merry's mother were portrayed as real people, not disabilities.
This book is classic Debbie Macomber! After not really enjoying the past couple of books by her I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this story. It was a quick and easy read. Everything about this story was perfect. The characters, the situation they found themselves in, and the pace of the story were just excellent. Once I started reading this story I really didn't want to put it down to go to bed. The story pulled me in and I just couldn't get enough of these characters. There were moments that made me smile and even chuckle out loud. This book is a perfect Christmas read. Fans of Debbie Macomber will enjoy this book. This would also be a great introduction to those not familiar with her work. This is a fun read and one that could easily be read more than once without becoming boring. Definitely one for the keeper shelf. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.
A sweet, light, festive romance that just screams Hallmark. You’ve got mail… Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber is the first book I’ve ever read by this author, but I don’t plan on it being the last! The cover is a charming Christmas scene and drew me in right away. The story brought back wonderful memories from two favorite movies: You’ve Got Mail and The Sound of Music. Indeed, the story is a sweet, light, festive romance that just screams Hallmark, and, since I enjoy holiday reads year-around, and she has many, I definitely plan to check out more of her stories in the next few months. This is the story of Merry Knight and Jayson Bright. LOL! Even the play on names makes me smile… As the story opens, Merry is working as a temp at a consulting firm, but she might as well be a full time employee with the insane hours she’s putting in. To make things even more stressful at work, she can’t stand her boss, Jayson Bright. After pairing the demands of her job and her family and with readying for the upcoming Christmas season, her own social life is the farthest from her thoughts. But, her special-needs brother and her mother conspiring together as an early Christmas present for Merry, decide to sign her up with an online dating site using a picture of a dog. Merry doesn’t have the heart to be mad at them since they only want her to be happy. Lo and behold, through the listing, she strikes up a friendship with a mystery man who seems perfect for her. Jayson becomes aware of the same dating site through his friend, who is now a very happy customer and planning his wedding. Jayson’s dubious, but he decides to take a chance and signs up for an account with the service. He immediately sees a listing with a dog picture that reminds him of a beloved dog he had and messages her. They hit it off immediately, chatting every night. But, when they make plans to meet, a huge obstacle to any future plans becomes very apparent to one of them. The primary characters are both likeable and genuine. Merry loves Christmas as Christmas holds many fond memories for her. Jayson doesn’t care for Christmas as it’s never been a happy time for him growing up. She loves nothing more than to spread Christmas cheer while he is very serious and finds Christmas to be distracting and non-productive. She’s very family-oriented and he’s not. Can these two get past their original impressions and their differences? Is there any hope for an HEA for a Christmas elf and a Scrooge? Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Merry and Bright: “Christmas is a condition of the heart.” --- “I kissed her.” His words were met with silence and then, “How was it?” “On a scale of one to ten, it was about a hundred.” --- “I’ve always loved catching snow on my eyelashes.” This is an emotional sweet and clean holiday romance with a slew of laugh-out-loud moments. Family relationships figure strongly in the story. It’s kind of predictable, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. If you enjoy lovely Christmas tales set against a snowy wonderland that will most assuredly pull at your heart strings while leaving you snuggled in warm fuzzies, I’d highly recommend that you check out Merry and Bright. My full review is published at Reading Between the Wines Book Club. Please check it out there!
Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber is a wonderful light read perfect for the Holiday Season in front of the fireplace. Merry Knight, a busy frugal young woman, is working at Matterson Consulting trying to help her widowed mother and Down’s syndrome brother make ends meet. She has little time for herself or to date. So, for her birthday Merry’s mother and brother sign her up for an online dating service, Mix & Mingle. What happens as a result of their good-natured interference makes up this lovely novel. The individuals are well thought out, the dialogue and the situations are believable. And of course, in Debbie Macomber’s style, the story is a clean enjoyable romantic story that I didn’t want to end. I hope these characters reappear in more of Debbie Macomber’s books because I became quite fond of them. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Ballantine Books with no obligation to review it. This is my honest review after reading
“Someday, Merry? Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Debbie Macomber’s 2017 Christmas tale, Merry and Bright, borrows a bit of the storyline from You’ve Got Mail with a few charming twists of its own. The story touches the reader in all the right emotional spots for a wonderful little Christmas read. Merry Knight is a bright, positive young woman temping for the Matterson Consulting Agency run by Jayson Bright, a slightly uptight proper young man. Merry is cheerful and loves the Christmas season. However, this year her season is filled with anxiety and worries. She is working massive amounts of overtime for her boss and trying to keep up with her life at home, which includes a mother who is not well and a brother with Downs Syndrome. To brighten Merry’s holiday season, her mother and brother decide to help her out by gifting her with a membership to an online dating service. They do all the work for her because she perpetually tells them she will start dating someday when she has time. To weed out unsuitable responses to the dating service, her mother and brother use a picture of their golden retriever. Jayson’s best friend and cousin, Cooper, meets his fiancé on the same dating service. Out of curiosity, Jayson decides to check out the web site and runs across a picture of a golden retriever mixed among the many pictures of women. The photo catches his eye since he can’t quite figure why someone would use a picture of a dog and the golden retriever appeals to his sense of nostalgia since he had one when he was younger. Read this delightful story to find out what happens when Jayson sets up his own profile with a picture of his old golden retriever. This story will appeal to dog lovers, romance lovers, and anyone who just loves a good hearted Christmas story! A light, quick feel-good holiday read! I received this book free from Ballantine Books and Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own.
Online dating. It seems to be the "in-thing" when it comes to finding love these days. Gone are the trips to the local watering hole after work or searching the personal ads in the paper. For Merry Knight, Christmas was the time of the year she looked forward to. Spending time with family, celebrating the joy of simply being together and participating in all the traditions her family embraced is what kept her focused on the month ahead of her. Working as a temporary data input employee for Matterson Consulting, she knew just how many days she had left to deal with an overbearing boss, Jayson Bright. He was someone who did everything by the book and even had the employee handbook so memorized he could tell Merry exactly where her current violation of company standards of decorating her cubicle or even eating lunch while she worked was frowned upon.Clearly the Christmas season was not allowed within her workplace or even at her cubicle location. Jayson Bright had a lot to prove to his father who expected him to fail at every turn. Not one for being together as a family, he watched his father move from relationship to relationship without questioning what caused all those failures. It seemed as if the apple didn't fall far from the Bright tree and now Jayson could see that he was slowly becoming his father. He didn't have time for family or even socializing as with this upcoming potential contract proposal for Boeing, he might just prove to his father, he is able to take on the role of leading the company. While he watches his best friend find true love through an internet dating service, Mix and Mingle, one he strongly advises Jayson to try. But all he can see it work and more work, if he ever hopes to find acceptance in his father's eyes. Since Merry can't find time to socialize, her mother and younger brother take it upon themselves to enroll Merry in an internet dating site, Mix and Mingle and instead of a profile picture of Merry, they add one of their lovable dog. They reason if someone is willing to judge a person based on looks, they might not look far enough into someone to discover who they truly are on the inside. Funny thing is she agrees to see where it might take her, after all, once she finishes her contract at work, she will have plenty of time to see where love might find her. She just doesn't expect to find Mr. Wrong on the other end of the email conversation. I received Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber compliments of Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley. If you LOVE the movie, "You've Got Mail," then you will love this different spin on the premise of internet dating. It is a wonderful heartwarming story of what really makes us fall in love and how we can keep those embers burning alive after the physical changes in our appearances begin to change and fade. If all we see is the beauty on the outside, we may be missing more than we hoped for by ignoring what's on the inside that truly counts. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and could easily see this being made into a Hallmark Christmas movie!
Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber is set in Seattle, Washington. Merry Knight is a temp at Matterson Consulting. Her contract will be up on December 23 and Merry will be glad for the break. Her by-the-book boss has been pushing the workers and the mandatory overtime has put a kink in her social life. Merry’s mother (Robin) and brother (Patrick) set up a profile for her on Mix and Mingle with a photo of their dog. They want to find someone for Merry who will be interested in her as a person (not her outward appearance). Merry is stunned, but, to her surprise, one man stands out to her. He did use a photo of himself either (his childhood dog). The pair start chatting online at night while Merry deals with her difficult boss during the day. After getting to know each other, they agree to meet in person and Merry is astonished by the man’s identity. It is the last person she expected to see or wanted to. To find out what happens between Merry and her online suitor, pick up a copy of Merry and Bright. Merry and Bright is a fun, entertaining story (Debbie Macomber never disappoints). It has good characters, a lovely city (I want to live there), a cute premise, and a set during a magical time of year--Christmas. I liked the themes presented in the story—Christmas is a condition of the heart (isn’t that just beautiful), kindness, generosity, openness, showing love to those we cherish, bad things about assumptions, misconceptions and judgements can be harmful/detrimental. I found Merry and Bright to be well-written with a nice ease to the writing (it flowed nicely). My rating for Merry and Bright is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). My one critique is the story is predictable. Once I started reading, I accurately predicted the rest of the story. Merry and Bright is a lovely, heartwarming Christmas tale that will delight fans of Debbie Macomber.
I always enjoy the yearly Christmas novel from Debbie Macomber. This year, things take on a You've Got Mail vibe, but with the characters connecting through a dating site called Mix and Mingle. That anonymity and a misspelled name set the stage for a fun courtship that takes the read right up to the holidays. It's a nice, heartwarming read.