Review: Love by Chance by Kacy Cross

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Claire, a pastry chef struggling to make her restaurant succeed, is too busy to pursue romance. That doesn’t stop her loving but meddling mother, Helen, from setting her up on dates. Even after Helen promises to stop her matchmaking efforts, she can’t help herself. She convinces Eric, a pediatrician, to meet Claire at a gallery event. Eric and Claire feel an immediate connection, and their meeting becomes a magical first date. But the longer Eric and Claire see each other, the less comfortable Eric feels about hiding the fact that Claire’s mom set them up. Meanwhile, Claire loves to talk about how she trusts Eric, and how they met by chance. How will she react to the truth? This witty, sweet romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Coconut Cream Lime Tart.

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Source: NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing          Rating: 2½/5 stars

Claire is utterly convinced that Fate is going to drop her perfect partner into her life and when that moment happens, it will be utterly perfect!  Why should Claire doubt when Fate has already dropped the perfect business partner in her lap?  Though their bakery is fledgling, they are doing OK and always hustling to do better.  Thanks to Claire’s mom, she and her partner are able to take on lucrative catering jobs in addition to their onsite sales.  It’s at one of these events that “Fate” chooses to introduce Claire to her perfect man.

Eric is everything Claire could want in a partner.  He’s kind, generous, successful, handsome, and their first meeting story is everything Claire has always dreamed about.  An accidental meeting while she’s catering an art gallery event is just the kind of story Claire will delight in one day telling her children.  Unfortunately, Claire is the only one who thinks her meeting with Eric is the result of Fate and the universe.

For years, Claire has struggled with her mother’s incessant meddling in her love life.  Claire’s mother is utterly convinced she knows better than anyone the type of man Claire needs and only she, Claire’s mother, can find him and bring the two together.  Time and time again, Claire has told her mother to back off and let her live her own life and make her own decisions regarding her romantic entanglements.  The instances of meddling have become so blatant, offensive, and uncomfortable that Claire has begun to pull away from her once close and loving relationship with her mother.  In order to prevent the separation, Claire’s mother has once again said she will cease all involvement in Claire’s love life. 

As the weeks pass, Claire is deliriously happy with Eric.  Both her personal and professional life is blossoming, and Claire is happier than she can ever recall being.  For Eric’s part, Claire is just about perfect, and he can’t believe his good fortune in meeting her.  The only problem Eric has with the relationship is the circumstances under which it was begun.  Claire has no idea of her mother’s involvement nor that Eric is still in contact with her mother.  Eric has repeatedly asked Claire’s mother to divulge the truth to Claire before she discovers the truth on her own.  Once again, Fate steps in! 

The Bottom Line:  I’m going to tell you the same thing several men told Claire’s mother, she is the reason I didn’t like this book!  It really is true that a single character can ruin an otherwise good book.  I wanted to excuse Claire’s mother and her behavior as the actions of a woman who loves and deeply cares for her daughter and wants nothing more than her happiness, but by her own admission, Claire’s mother is so involved in Claire’s life to avoid dealing with her own life and issues.  Additionally, her actions have been repeated so often as to speak to her selfishness and self-interest rather than care and devotion to her daughter.  Claire’s mother and her abhorrent actions are such a dominant theme in this book that it is hard to overlook her and really appreciate the rest of the story.  Claire and Eric are fine characters, her bakery is wonderfully scrumptious, and their love story is endearing, but all of that is tainted and overshadowed by the antics and shenanigans of her mother.  I think I can safely say, this book is an easy one to bypass.

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