Kitchen Matches
by Marianne Arkins, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-60504-183-1


Corrine Weathers is terrible when it comes to the cooking classes that she has signed up for on her family members' suggestion, but she's very good at repairing cars and such. Micah DePalma is a pretty good chef and cooking class instructor, but he needs someone to fix up his van. They could have been so good together except for the fact that she's a tomboy through and through, with most of her attempts to "soften" herself (via cooking classes, et cetera) not exactly successful, while he's the stiff-lipped type looking for a Stepford Wife to settle down with.

Oh, and the fact that I definitely believe that Cori can do so much better than the boring Micah. I like Cori. This is probably because I can't really cook myself despite countless attempts to figure out recipe books with nice photos that catch my eye, so I can identify with Cori in some ways. Micah, unfortunately, is too much of a familiar boring stereotype of the stiff-lipped fellow whose dullness affects the rest of the story like some kind of nefarious osmosis in action. I know, opposites attract and what not, but I can't help feeling that Cori will be better off hooking up with an easy-going guy who won't make her feel as if she is constantly under pressure to meet his expectations.

Having said that, I find that the author has an easy sense of humor that works on me. Her heroine's klutzy drama in her cooking class, for example, comes off as something an inept person will do rather than a contrived attempt at slapstick comedy. The end result is something that is actually funny. I like Ms Arkins' style, but this short story is a pretty so-so read. Kitchen Matches will make a pleasant quick read but I suspect that the author can do much better than this.

Rating: 78


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