Summary (from the publisher):
Phronsie Linnelle was conceived at Woodstock in a serendipitous liaison between a free-spirited hippie and a farmer’s son and was born with magical wonder flickering in her DNA and rationality knit into her bones. All her life she’s been torn between the two. But now that she’s been betrayed by both love and the mother she once idolized, her rational side is winning.
So when her best friend from childhood proposes that they give up on romance and marry each other, Phronsie agrees. Who better to spend your life with than your best friend? Maybe the connection they already have is love. Maybe there’s no falling to be done. But immediately after they announce their engagement, she encounters someone who makes a very charming and compelling argument for revisiting romance.
While her even-keeled stepmother argues for the safety that comes with her new engagement and her mother relays messages from the universe to hold out for true love, Phronsie must look to her own heart to find the answers that have been there all along.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Maddie Dawson’s books have always been on my TBR radar, but I officially added her latest book, The Magic of Found Objects, to my to-be-read stack when itwas announced as Bad on Paper Podcast’s September book club pick. Set in 2006 (this doesn’t really affect the plot other than the fact that they don’t have smart phones & social media), the book follows Phronsie, who after forty-four failed first dates, agrees to marry her childhood best friend, Judd, when the two decide that maybe marriage isn’t about love after all. Judd and Phronsie have made lives for themselves since leaving their New Hampshire hometown behind, but their families are both pretty excited that the two are finally tying the know. Phronsie’s parents don’t exactly have the perfect love story, having conceived Phronsie and her twin brother, Hendrix, at Woodstock and then separating as a couple shortly after. Phronsie is happy to be done with trying to find love, but her engagement leads her to re-evaluate love in her life, including her relationships with her mom & stepmother,….and of course, another guy may or may not come into the picture….
I’ve read books with the best friends-turned-lovers and marriage of convenience tropes, but I haven’t read a book with the same best friend trope as The Magic of Found Objects. Phronsie & Judd definitely have chemistry as friends, but they struggle to get that same chemistry as a couple. I really didn’t know what to ultimately expect (if they would actually get married or not), and I do have to admit I really liked the guy who messes with Phronsie’s plan, Adam. Adam and Phronsie both work for the same publishing company and have to work on the same book tour for a beloved children’s book author whose latest book is quite controversial & wrong, to say the least. Side note that I did not know going into the book that Phronsie had a love for writing and worked in publishing as a publicist. This was such a fun addition to the book!
Another aspect of the book that I wasn’t super expecting going into was Phronsie’s exploration of her relationship with her distant, hippie mother, Tenaj (yes, her name is purposefully ‘Janet’ spelled backwards), and her relationship with her stepmother, Maggie. The majority of the book flips between Phronsie’s present-day engagement to Judd and her childhood & past with Tenaj and Maggie. I really liked the exploration of their mother-daughter dynamics and how their relationships connected back to Phronsie’s own idea of love & marriage.
Overall, I recommend The Magic of Found Objects if you enjoy contemporary meets romance meets family drama and want a different kind of take on the best friends-to-lovers trope. I definitely see myself picking up Maddie Dawson’s Matchmaking for Beginners in the near future.
Have you read The Magic of Found Objects or any books by Maddie Dawson? Share in the comments!