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A Match Made in Spain
A small-town ASL teacher is reluctantly captivated by the Catalonian vintner determined to woo her across the Spanish countryside. Can a match made on a tour of Spain be a fairytale second chance for this grumpy/sunshine pair? The ink on Cecilia's divorce papers might be dry, but she’s in no hurry to connect with another traveling businessman, especially the spatially challenged one seated beside her on a crack-of-dawn flight from San Francisco to Madrid. Felip should be on top of the world running his family’s cava empire, however life has left him feeling unfulfilled as of late. Good conversation and a hard-won smile from his seatmate—a grumpy but lovely American hearing-impaired teacher—have him wondering if maybe fairytales are possible—or if he’s lost his mind, especially when a series of mishaps lands him in the role of the substitute tour guide for her group. Over the course of twelve days, Felip’s irresistible charm and lust for life break down Cecilia’s carefully constructed walls as he competes with needy teenagers and pulls off a daring rescue to show her they are a good match. Will Cecilia see that their worlds are closer together than she thinks, and that faith and compromise can give them a real happily ever after? Perfect for fans of Shipped by Angie Hockman and People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. And those who miss the excitement of exploring a new place with a special someone by your side will appreciate the journey.
After divorcing her adulterous ex-husband, 35-year old high school ASL and Life Skills teacher Cecilia Galván is ready for a fresh start, but before that new life can begin, she must survive an international school tour with a group of teenage students to Spain in this humorous contemporary romance. Done with fairy tales, Cecilia wishes for independence and some distraction, which she gets after a meet-cute at the airport with 39-year old Catalonian businessman, Felip Segura, whom she at first thinks of as “Mr. Magic Abs Ankle Banger.” Repulsed by the similarities he shares with her ex-husband, Cecilia decides he’s “the kind of trouble that had already gotten her into trouble.” However, after a series of fortunate coincidences place Felip as the group’s substitute tour guide, Cecilia is faced with a decision–tread carefully or give into passion and “kisses that threaten[ed] to wake her slumbering libido.”

Merrill excels at incorporating a large cast of diverse, realistically written characters into the overall plot. Cecilia’s character has a hearing disability, while one of her students is on the Autism spectrum. Felip’s handsome looks are “made a little more human” thanks to a crooked front tooth. Amusing dialogue between Cecilia and her students, who prove both raucous and thoughtful, plus innuendo-laced banter between her and Felip make up for minor typos and editing oversights.

The use of Spanish and Catalán in dialogue as well as an enticing tour of popular destinations in Spain is charming while adding a sense of authenticity to the story. (Some students are both surprised and relieved to discover that Barcelona’s most famous bull-fighting arena is now a shopping mall, complete with a Sephora.) Although this winning couple’s attraction is evident from the beginning, Merrill weaves an appealing and comic contemporary romance with just enough angst and suspense to keep readers guessing about the relationship until the end.

Takeaway: Fans of contemporary romances will be drawn in by this holiday in Spain’s diverse characters and comic pleasures.

Great for fans of: Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation, Tessa Bailey’s It Happened One Summer.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A