If you’re looking for relatively easy, feel-good historical fiction, try Lynda Cohen Loigman. Her latest novel, The Matchmaker’s Gift, is a dual-timeline story about two women – Sara, a matchmaker in New York City in the 1910s, and her granddaughter Abby, a divorce lawyer – and the gift for matchmaking that both women share. Sara faced the challenge of being a single, female matchmaker in a profession traditionally reserved for men, while Abby, skeptical about love after her parents’ difficult divorce, was unaware that her grandmother’s powers had passed down to her and was in fact in the business of profiting off of people falling out of love. Their timelines progress in tandem, with some surprising love connections made along the way.
Loigman’s novels are like comfort food: they go down easily but they are filling and satisfying. I liked learning about the profession of matchmaking, and while there is some mild magical realism, which I usually don’t like, it didn’t bother me here. There were some twists that I didn’t see coming, in terms of couples who were connected by the matchmaking pair, and combined, they kept my interest throughout the book. I also like books set on the Lower East Side in the early 1900s (blame my childhood obsession with the All Of A Kind Family series) so I particularly enjoyed that aspect of the Sara chapters.
Overall, this was an easy read that felt both historical and contemporary at the same time. It also kept my attention at a time when I was having trouble sticking with a book. I listened to it on audio, and the two narrators, Eva Kaminsky and Gabra Zackman, did a nice job of distinguishing the two characters and giving them each a unique voice. I’d recommend the audio version.
The Matchmaker’s Gift was the 49th book of 2022.