Finders Keepers by Karin Kallmaker is a vacation romance and so much more. Despite dealing with difficult, unusual subject matter, it still pulls off a beautiful, emotional story and had me rooting for the two leads all the way.
Marissa Chabot has finally made her way to Tahiti for a well earned vacation. As the co-founder of Finders Keepers, a popular online matchmaking service, she hasn’t had time off in a very long time. When the cruise ship she’s on goes down, forcing the passengers to shore in lifeboats, she only makes it thanks to the help of fellow passenger Linda Bartok.
Linda is so smart, strong, and great at conversation that Marissa almost doesn’t notice how beautiful she is. She can’t understand why someone so wonderful would be interested in a chubby computer geek like her, and yet the flirting, and then the passion they share on their last night on the island, makes it clear that she does. Despite promises to get in contact, Marissa doesn’t hear from Linda, leaving her wonder if those feelings were as real or mutual as she thought they were.
The characters are the greatest strength of Finders Keepers, with each of them having a huge journey over the course of the book. I love that they were each influenced by their time with other when they were on vacation, and yet their transformations happen for the right reasons and not just to make them fit as romantic partners.
I can’t say anything about Linda without giving major spoilers away, but I will say that we see what she’s going through when she’s apart from Marissa, and oh my goodness, did it ever make my blood boil at times. How Karin Kallmaker managed to write about that and make it believable and work in a romance is beyond me, but she did it and I bow to her mastery.
Marissa’s experience on vacation, especially when she’s forced to climb a rock wall or drown, gives her the motivation she needs to tackle her weight. In doing so, whether through the exercise or working with a professional on her nutrition, perhaps even both, she finds the courage to confront other areas of her life that need it. She’s a stronger, more self confident person by the end, without ever losing that core of goodness and authenticity that drew Linda to her in the first place.
The Writing Style
I have a confession to make. I actually read this for the first time several years ago and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. It didn’t conform to my expectations of a romance and it left me wondering what I’d just read. Returning to it recently was a revelation. Finders Keepers doesn’t play by the usual rules of romance and now I see that’s a huge advantage. Just like Roller Coaster, it defies expectation, yet delivers a beautiful story that left me satisfied and happy in the end. Like I said above, it tackles some heavy subject matter and I guarantee you’ve never read a character like Linda before. I also love that it has a plus sized heroine, even if she doesn’t stay that way, because let’s be honest, some of us are a little fluffy and it’s nice to see that in a genre where most of the women have perfect bodies.
Everything about this book is so good that I’m still thinking about it days later. It’s going to live on my reread list.
That I didn’t reread it sooner?
Oh goodness. Just buy this book and read it. It’s wonderful and emotional and you won’t find anything else like it out there. It has matchmakers and Tahiti and super hot vacation sex and all of the feelings, and so much more that I can’t say without spoilers. Finders Keepers is a rare gem that should be treasured and revisited regularly.
Excerpt from Finders Keepers by Karin Kallmaker
“Step over here.”
She sidled to where Linda was standing and her breath caught. The pool sparkled bright blue and beyond that a white sand beach dotted with hammock-draped palms gave way to the deep turquoise of the white-capped ocean. “It’s like something off of a postcard.”
“My camera’s gone,” Linda said quietly. “I could have taken a shot of you in paradise.”
“I’d ruin the scenery.” Marissa turned toward the path that led to their bungalow.
“Not in a silver lamé dress. Or, better yet, a teal green swimsuit that shows off the curves and your eyes.”
Marissa could feel herself blushing for the remainder of the short walk, all the way until she unlatched the door to their room. She wasn’t used to anyone looking at her with such approval. She felt . . . what was the right word?
Something unfamiliar, but welcome.
Attractive. She felt attractive.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594930720
- Publisher: Bella Books
Karin Kallmaker Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Finders Keepers by Karin Kallmaker. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.