Looking at the front cover of The Matchup, by Laura L. Walker, I was expecting a simple and cheesy love story without a lot of depth. Well, to my delight and satisfaction, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
This book portrays the pain, low self-confidence, loneliness, sometimes recklessness, and lack of hope that can stem from poor choices, divorces, family disputes, and even raising an autistic child.
Two very different people, Gage Logan and Valerie Hall, who did not get along as youth, come together again by chance (or was it?) one night in a store. Their paths continue to cross, and they come to see how they can help each other in all the ways they really need it – spiritually, socially, emotionally, temporally…
The connection they form, and the relationship their kids make with each other, bring them closer and closer together. But, will he change his life and come back to church, and will she overcome her fears and insecurities about her children?
This is written as an LDS love story, so it is most suited to LDS adults, or adults who are really familiar with LDS beliefs and practices. Because it is an LDS romance, there is much more at stake with the couple, and also many opportunities to feel the Spirit as gospel truths are reiterated beautifully.
I got chills multiple times while reading this book. It is a pretty easy read, and doesn’t include a lot of description, but oh, is it profound as it enters the minds and hearts of the characters! It pierced my heart over and over. The first time I got chills was during Valerie’s and Gage’s second encounter when she is really distraught over an outburst her son, Justin, had just had:
…Pushing himself off against the post, he came closer and crouched down in front of her. “Is there anything I can do to help?” he asked softly.
She shook her head, keeping her gaze down. Something about the way she rubbed Justin’s back while simultaneously cradling his head in her arms touched a place in Gage’s heart that had long been dead.
“Valerie,” he said softly.
She lifted her eyes to him. Gage’s heart constricted at the sorrow he found there. Who would have imagined when they were young that they’d both be single parents? He’d always teased her so that he could see a flare of indignation light her gaze. That fire had apparently been extinguished a long time ago.
He’d have to see if he could reignite it.
Chills came to me at least three other times, and that does not often happen to me while reading a book. I felt that the story was so authentic, that these events could really happen in individuals’ lives. I myself have endured divorce, single parenting, and dating again after divorce. I could relate to Valerie some, though not completely. The inner struggles both Valerie and Gage, and even some of their family members, go through, are definitely on point.
The main message of the book is, the Lord loves each and every one of us. We have trials that help us grow and develop if we keep our faith in Jesus Christ. Hope is never lost, and everyone can change. We can be happy again after difficult times. We can forgive, move forward, and find joy again by keeping the commandments and praying for guidance. I loved the gospel message found throughout The Matchup, and recommend it as an uplifting romance and message of love.
About the book:
The last thing Valerie wants or needs is to work for Gage, whom she loathed as a teen. But Valerie’s husband just walked out on her and she needs the job. Together they discover that when it comes to the Church and each other, it’s all about second chances. This sweet LDS romance will renew your faith in love and redemption.
About the author:
Laura Walker is a native Arizonan. Having lived there all their lives, she and her husband, Rob, think it’s a great place to raise their six kids. They enjoy camping, reading, and learning history together. Laura loves to settle in with a good romance just as much as she loves to write one. She would love to have you visit her here for updates and more.