A Perfect Pairing
by Sheryl Lister
Release Date: August 8, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
Natasha Baldwin loves her life. As top realtor in her hometown of Firefly Lake, she has a good job and even better friends. Really, Tasha has only two regrets: never pursuing her dream career…and how things ended with Antonio Hayes years ago. So when an opportunity arises to show off her passion for interior design, Tasha’s excited—and a little nervous. But with the support of her girlfriends at their biweekly supper club, she’s eager to dive in…until she discovers that Antonio is her new project partner.
Teaming up with her ex is less than ideal, but with all eyes in town on her new project, Tasha knows now is not the time to let her messy past with Antonio impact her future. Yet working with Antonio immediately sparks bittersweet memories…and the same undeniable, irresistible chemistry even after all their years apart. Then, just as Natasha realizes that the life and love she’s waited for are within reach, her big break comes around, and she must decide what she truly wants…
I enjoy a good second-chance romance. Give me a couple who were once teenage sweethearts everyone in town was sure would marry but now, several years later, are enemies forced to work together? Now that is my kind of complication.
I love multi-layered characters who obviously belong together but have years of emotional baggage between them to first overcome. I appreciated the gradual pace Lister set for these two. Their relationship journey felt realistic and relatable. The underlying desire between them was obvious but not rushed. I liked the way they communicated, once Antonio got over himself and started to listen. Both had been very young when they broke up the first time. Their feelings were genuine but a whole lot of growth and communication was necessary - even after reuniting - before they could move forward. I really did love the communication in their story.
I adored Antonio's grandmother, her unabashed matchmaking, and the poignant direction her part of the story took. Antonio's relationship with her and the lengths he went to in his quest to help both her and the community spoke volumes about his values as well as the goodness of his heart and endeared him to Natasha (and me) even more.
Natasha and her tight group of friends are so important to these books. Their support of one another is friendship goals and their regular (homemade) dinners at Serenity's Supper Club had me drooling more than a few times. I'm looking forward to trying some of the included recipes, especially the Hot-Water Cornbread. My taste buds are dancing just thinking about it!
If you enjoy charming small towns with a host of good-hearted but meddling characters, matchmaking grannies, a close-knit group of friends, drool-worthy food, and heart-tugging romance, I recommend giving Sheryl Lister's A Perfect Pairing as well as the first Firefly Lake book, A Table for Two (read my review) a try. I enthusiastically recommend them both.