The Matchmaker's List
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
One devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love where you least expect it.
Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn't mean she has to like it--or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina's side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she's ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn't know won't hurt her...
As Raina's life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother's dreams.
Entertaining, but not quite a romcom
After seeing the cover and blurb for The Matchmaker's List, I was excited to get my hands on it. It sounded like a fun (oh, those meddling matchmaking grandmothers!) and diverse read. Though I enjoyed the multicultural aspect of the story a lot, and there are plenty of silly and hilarious moments, I wouldn't consider this one truly a romcom. It was much more poignant and polarizing than I anticipated.
Our heroine, Raina, was sadly one of the main reasons why I did not love this book. I can definitely relate to the overwhelming pressures that family, friends, and community can unwittingly place on an individual. Even with this and the sadness surrounding her childhood, I had a hard time sympathizing with Raina because of her behavior throughout the book. I understand that it was part of her character arc to grow and recognize certain truths, but it was frustrating to see an almost 30 year old woman act this way. I don't want to be spoilery, but a good part of the book has her basically being a doormat (I wanted to throat punch Dev so badly!) and then she tells a lie by omission that ends up having HUGE repercussions. There were so many opportunities to come clean and explain, but over and over fear ruled her and she let the lie perpetuate and change lives. The situation with Asher felt forced and I'm a bit skeptical of the declarations that were made given their sporadic history. I really just wanted more from Raina and when she finally did come into her own, it just felt like too little too late.
Something I did love, however, was the overall message of love and acceptance. Yes, this is a romance, but it's more a romance about falling in love with yourself. Loving who you are and recognizing that you are enough exactly as you are. The writing was entertaining, but sometimes too detailed and descriptive for me. Overall I did enjoy Raina's journey and think the book's message will resonate with readers.
*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*