Rating:★★★ | 352 pages | Contemporary | Berkley Romance | Release Date: 2/5/2019
29-year-old Indian-Canadian Raina has met every expectation of a good Indian girl–except marriage. Raina’s secretly nursing a broken heart and isn’t ready for marriage but reluctantly agrees to let her grandmother start matchmaking.
Thematically I liked this book. It’s about a woman facing this giant life-changing societal expectation and at a crossroads where she has to decide whether to give in to the pressure or be true to herself and face being seen as a disappointment. I do think the pressure put on women to be married or having kids by 30 is a real thing and an interesting topic to explore but wow, the execution of it in this was so clunky and just plain weird.
This book, which originally came out in the UK last year as The Arrangements, is marketed as a rom com but I’d argue it’s not. A surprisingly large part of the book is Raina pretending to come out as a lesbian to get her grandmother off her back. Now, this could be a type of comedy but when a scared closeted teen confides in Raina because he sees himself in her it stops being funny.
Our hero Asher is a white Canadian who is friends with Raina’s best friend’s fiance only shows up in about 3-4 scenes but you could literally remove him altogether and the book would still work…which makes this book not feel like a romance to me.
The Matchmaker’s List is more of a coming of age drama than romance but the execution wasn’t a match for me.
Now, I’m going to do a rant about covers. I love illustrated covers aesthetically but most of the time they tell you nothing about what is in the book. The US cover of this book makes it look like it’s about a girl being wooed by three men when really we get through the titular “matchmaker list” in the first 20% of the book, and the eventual love interest spends most of the book shaming her and the other half thinking she is a lesbian. He never woos her.
Also, I have yet to find an illustrated cover that tells you anything about a romance’s heat level. There is no sex on the page in this book, which is what I think is the expectation of a cover like this but it is not usually the case like with The Kiss Quotient or Fix It Up.
I like Avon and Bailey but this book almost looks YA and Bailey is definitely NOT for a YA audience.