The Matchmaker's Gift
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Publication Date: 09/20/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)
From the bestselling author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters comes a heartwarming story of two extraordinary women from two different eras who defy expectations to utilize their unique gift of seeing soulmates in the most unexpected places.
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?
Utterly charming with a mix of historical, humor, romance, mystery, and a little stardust of magic!
Lynda Cohen Loigman returns following The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters (loved both) with her latest THE MATCHMAKER'S GIFT — a family saga of two generations of women with the family gift for matching soulmates.
1910: Sara Glikman is the grandmother who was a "shadchanteh," a Jewish matchmaker on the Lower East Side in NYC in the early 20th century. She was ten years old when she made her first match.
1994: Her granddaughter, Abby, is a divorce attorney in Manhattan. She is pretty cynical when it comes to all things love. Her mom and dad separated and divorced when she was young (her dad with younger girlfriends), and she decided to become a divorce attorney after her mom got the raw end of the divorce.
It is 1994, and Sara, the grandmother, has passed peacefully in her sleep. She misses her so much. Fourteen years earlier, her Grandma Sara abandoned her retirement in Florida to help Abby's mother raise her two daughters. Even at 94, she still lived on her own. She led a good life and was a wise woman. Her husband died at age sixty of congestive heart failure.
Sara's boss Diane is pretty cutthroat, and they have high-end, famous, wealthy clients at the firm they represent.
After her grandmother's death, she inherits her matchmaking journals. They are quite intriguing, and Abby had no clue of how detailed and invested her grandmother was in her matchmaking business. So much history. Who would have known?
The more she reads and pours through Sara's handwritten journals, she wonders why they were left to her. What is it her grandmother wants her to know?
Is Abby willing to sacrifice the career she has worked so hard to keep her grandmother's promise to a stranger?
Soon, Abby realizes she may have inherited the matching gift too. She is excited about the possibilities. She must rethink her life when her job is on the line for stepping outside the boundaries.
Sara had trusted Abby to find them and piece together the stories. Somewhere in this remarkable collection were the lessons Sara wanted Abby to remember.
"One day, my brilliant skeptic, I'll be gone, and all of my stories will belong to you. When the time comes, try to remember what I taught you. Who knows? Maybe you'll make a few love matches of your own." — Grandmother Sara
Wow! I loved Sara's Chapter Openings.
Meticulously researched (as always), Loigman dives deep into the history of matchmaking and Jewish cultures. What a fun and fascinating story. I always learn something when I read one of her books.
Not only were there thousands of Jewish matchmakers (1910) in New York, but the majority of them were men. She mentioned when she created the character Sara, she wanted to make sure she was unmarried in a business dominated by older men. LOVED THE AUTHOR'S NOTE and the Epilogue (1995).
With the dual timeline, the author knows her way around being a young lawyer in New York during Abby's timeline. I enjoyed the sprinkling of Yiddish throughout and the interesting NYT articles which inspired THE MATCHMAKER'S GIFT.
Lynda's books have a strong sense of family and the importance of things we can learn from our prior generations if we only listen.
If you love well-written magical tales with a bit of history where the past meets the present with two strong women finding their place in the world, this book is for YOU!
PS. Check out my #AuthorElevatorSeries Interview with Lynda (2019) THE WARTIME SISTERS where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5 Stars
Pub Date: Sep 20, 2022
"Loigman’s thorough exploration of turn-of-the century, Jewish immigrant culture and her smooth transitions into the 1990s give the reader a full and satisfying picture of Manhattan across the twentieth century. The details are painstaking but never tedious, and the relationships are exciting, sincere, and beautiful." —Booklist
"Charming...Loigman moves smoothly between the tales of her two spunky heroines and imparts historical details with a light touch. Readers are in for a treat."
"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
"In the inviting The Matchmaker's Gift, Loigman takes the readers by the hand and leads them into the world of shadchanim, or matchmakers, of both a historic and modern variety. This charming story about a realm that is at once familiar and magical invites contemplation of the many ways in which the past reverberates into the present.”
––Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
"Loigman brilliantly illuminates the struggle of two women, generations apart, torn between society’s traditions and expectations and their own personal fulfillment. The novel bubbles with romance and love matches, yet the joys of early infatuation are deftly layered over an exquisite exploration of grief. Glorious and powerful."
––Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
"Combining authentic historical fiction with mystery and a touch of romance, Loigman artfully reminds us that the past is never far, the present is a gift and the future is ours for the making. The Matchmaker’s Gift is timely and timeless, and readers should make time for this original and touching story about the things that matter most."
––Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman With The Blue Star
"Written in luminous and lyrical prose, The Matchmaker's Gift is a powerful and profoundly emotional novel that charts two generations of women seeking to find their place and forge their independence in an ever-changing world. Exquisitely rendered and masterfully plotted, Loigman delves into the mysteries of what makes the heart soar and the soul find its perfect match. As magical and timeless as love itself, this is a book to be shared between generations."
––Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife
"Loigman once again taps into her exquisite ability to create rich characters that take us into the past while at the same time telling a universal story about destiny, family, and being authentic. I got lost equally in the stories of both Sara and Abby and was charmed by their connection to each other as well as to their craft. With her trademark ability to spin a tale and the heart with which she does it, Loigman has provided her readers with a story they won’t soon forget."
―Susie Orman Schnall, author of We Came Here to Shine
“The Matchmaker’s Gift has all the right ingredients for an enthralling read―history, humor, romance, mystery, and a dash of magic. Loigman’s latest book brims with optimism, a cast of colorful characters, and two smart heroines who dare to forge their own brave paths in life. I was completely charmed by this clever dual-timeline novel.”
––Elise Hooper, author of The Other Alcott
About the Author
Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, MA. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. Her debut novel, Two-Family House, was a USA Today bestseller and a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction.
Her second novel, The Wartime Sisters, was selected as a Woman’s World Book Club pick and a Best Book of 2019 by Real Simple Magazine. The Matchmakers Gift is her third novel.