“The Matchmaker’s Gift” by Lynda Cohen Loigman 

Genre: Historical Fiction/Women’s Fiction The match makers gift
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date: Sept. 20, 2022

This novel is women’s fiction written in the form of historical fiction. I suspected as much after reading the blurb. I’m not usually a fan of women’s fiction, but the Lower East Side of Manhattan is the setting of one of the protagonists in the story. My home was in that neighborhood decades ago, in a subsidized apartment not far from the district’s gritty alleys and tenement-style apartments, which in the 1970s, were filled with the neighborhood’s Jewish, Italian and Chinese heritage. I read the book out of nostalgia.

In this dual timeline novel, the author weaves together the tale of a young Jewish child named Sara and her granddaughter, Abby. Sara, in 1910 discovers that she is blessed with the gift of finding marriage matches but only for those in true love. This gift remained with her until she passed away in her golden years. She explains to Abby that when she has found two soul mates, she simply knows, sees, and feels it. In this story, there is a lot of sweet-natured magical realism. Her granddaughter refuses to believe in such nonsense. That is until after her grandmother’s death when she recognizes that she, too, possesses the ability.

Loigman brings feminism into the novel long before it was even a word. When Sara was in her twenties, devout older men who do not believe a matchmaker should be female take Sara to a religious court in an attempt to stop her matchmaking. Without giving spoilers, I will share the decision was not very believable. I loved reading about my old hangouts but this book while charming was too predictable for me to truly enjoy.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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