The Matchmaker's Gift
by Lynda Cohen Loigman
Publication Date September 20, 2022
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Jewish, Fiction / Women
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
"Loigman's latest is a gem. A scrappy Jewish teenager newly arrived in 1920s New York struggles to follow her calling as a matchmaker––seventy years later, her cynical divorce-attorney granddaughter realizes she has very inconveniently inherited the family gift for matching soulmates. Both funny and moving, The Matchmaker's Gift made me smile from start to finish."
––Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
Is finding true love a calling or a curse?
Even as a child in 1910, Sara Glikman knows her gift: she is a maker of matches and a seeker of soulmates. But among the pushcart-crowded streets of New York’s Lower East Side, Sara’s vocation is dominated by devout older men—men who see a talented female matchmaker as a dangerous threat to their traditions and livelihood. After making matches in secret for more than a decade, Sara must fight to take her rightful place among her peers, and to demand the recognition she deserves.
Two generations later, Sara’s granddaughter, Abby, is a successful Manhattan divorce attorney, representing the city’s wealthiest clients. When her beloved Grandma Sara dies, Abby inherits her collection of handwritten journals recording the details of Sara’s matches. But among the faded volumes, Abby finds more questions than answers. Why did Abby’s grandmother leave this library to her and what did she hope Abby would discover within its pages? Why does the work Abby once found so compelling suddenly feel inconsequential and flawed? Is Abby willing to sacrifice the career she’s worked so hard for in order to keep her grandmother’s mysterious promise to a stranger? And is there really such a thing as love at first sight?
The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman is a dual timeline story that is set in New York City. It’s about a grandmother and granddaughter and their skills at matchmaking.
1910: Sara Glikman found out she was a matchmaker when she was ten years old and found a match for her older sister. She soon learns that in New York City, the matchmakers are all older men, and they don’t want any competition from a young girl. In fact, they forbid her to practice matchmaking, so for years, Sara practiced in secret, matching couples and making love matches.
1994: Sara’s granddaughter, Abby, is a successful divorce attorney in New York City, and when her beloved grandmother dies, Abby inherits boxes of journals documenting all of Sara’s matchmaking. Abby finds more questions than answers in the boxes and now she must decide if she’s fated for more than helping others dissolve love matches.
This is one of those dual timeline books where I enjoyed both timelines equally. I was fascinated with Sara, and how she used her matchmaking gift, but I was equally fascinated with Abby as she struggles to figure out what she really wants to do in life. I especially enjoyed learning about the Jewish matchmaking traditions in the early 20th century. And the setting was vividly described, both early 20th century New York and modern day New York. But I especially enjoyed learning more about the Jewish culture and traditions of the early time period.
I also loved the relationship between Abby and her grandmother, and it’s clear that they are two of a kind. Both are fighters and have compassion for others. I loved how Abby changed her opinion of love throughout the course of the book, and how comments and conversations with her grandmother came back to her at critical moments in her journey.
I highly recommend The Matchmakers Gift to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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