Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: second chance romance; single dad; single mom; widow; divorced dad
Two days out, and I am still reveling in Kristen Ashley’s Making the Match. Here’s the thing: I am loving the River Rain series. It’s a combination of older MMC/FMCs and younger ones. It feels multi-generational, and the cast of characters is as compelling as Ashley’s Rock Chicks/MMC/Dream Man/Dream Team series. Writing a world of characters so interesting that they feel real to you is Kristen Ashley’s superpower.
It was intriguing to enter Tom’s story. He cheated on Genny, and we should hate him. Right? Except Ashley is astute about marital issues. Decided in her characterization of him, Ashley makes it clear that his cheating is an exception, not the rule. And it’s complicated by the reality of his marriage to Genny. Tom doesn’t blame Genny for his indiscretion, but he expounds upon the complications of their marriage. For me, this was my favorite part of the book beyond Tom and Mika’s coupling. Marriage is hard, and it is easy to be derailed because both people are human. Ashley articulates this beautifully and deftly throughout Tom’s journey.
Make no mistake. You will leave this story having fallen hard for Tom and Mika even while grieving the loss of Genny and Tom together. I felt that indelibly as I was reading Making the Match. I adore Tom and Mika together. He’s a wonderful human, worthy of Mika’s love. Mike is a compassionate empath who truly sees Tom in a way that he’s never seen before. Except for some missteps early in their pairing, Tom and Mika are fated, and they steal a piece of your soul.
There are ideas about grief and acceptance, marriage and divorce, along with the humanity of people in relationships. There are characters upon characters in Making the Match that will make you smile, cry, and grow angry. I could live in Kristen Ashley’s River Rain series for a long, long time because each new chapter excites me for the future of this series.
You should really start at the beginning of this series with After the Climb to understand the impact of this story on this world. To me, Kristen Ashley is a gifted storyteller with the capacity to weave magic into her characters and her stories. Please don’t miss out on Tom and Mika, but read the others first.
In love and romance,