In brief: Cora is determined not to spend Christmas alone. Hence, she devises a ‘man plan’ to find romance to the amusement of her neighbour, Matt.
The good: It’s a fun story that also has funny moments.
The not-so-good: I seemed to visit the Melbourne location, and then it would appear in the narrative…freaky!
Why I chose it: Love Elise K. Ackers’ writing, so snapped up this book.
Publisher: Destiny Romance
Setting: Melbourne, Australia
My rating: 9 out of 10
When I was looking for a book to take on holiday, I knew it had to be something fun and light. The Man Plan fitted the bill perfectly – it had me giggling, interested and strangely enough, the characters seemed to be visiting the same places as me! The book is set in Melbourne and has a lovely Australian feel to it. Plus, it’s also set in the lead up to Christmas, so now is a great time to read it. But fear not if holiday season books aren’t your thing – it’s not over the top Christmassy.
However, Christmas is on Cora’s mind as the book opens. After her father’s death, she’s adamant that she won’t be alone any longer – the plan is for a man by Christmas. Naturally, this requires some intensive research, so cue full volume Adele and poring over romance books, which sends downstairs neighbour Matt to Cora’s door. The pair begin to strike up an unlikely friendship – Matt thinks Cora’s ‘man plan’ is crazy (who wants a long term relationship anyway?), but he tolerates it.
Cora’s devices to find a man range from the crazily inventive to scarily plausible (I hadn’t considered the ‘pretend to change a tyre damsel in distress’ as a good opportunity to pick up men). Matt puts up with it stoically, even coming to Cora’s rescue after one of her online dates turns out to be a little different. Cora tries to help Matt out with his family issues, but does Matt really want help? Can they both change to fit the other’s wishes? The ending is sweet and a perfect Christmas treat.
I think what puts The Man Plan out there in the sweet contemporary romance category is the humour. Cora and Matt have a lovely banter going on – Cora’s a little crazy and Matt’s wry words of wisdom bring her back to Earth. The chemistry between the pair pulses off the page. Plus, this book is a great homage to Melbourne, Australia. Parts of the plot are undertaken at The Boatbuilder’s Yard in South Wharf, a pub/café. Now I assumed that Ackers has invented this spot – until I walked past it the following day! The Prahran Markets are also visited by the characters – I read this scene after going there earlier the same day! Coincidence?
I really enjoyed this book – it’s just perfect for a holiday read. Light hearted, sweet and yet not stereotypical – Cora and Matt are individual characters following their own arc. The plot is well crafted and the supporting characters lovely or cringe worthy icky (hello Matt’s parents). A fantastic romance!