Sara Glikman and her family are Jewish immigrants who arrived in New York City in 1910 and settled on the Lower East Side. Sara discovers at an early age that she has a magical talent for matchmaking. She can determine which people are meant for one another - who is their bashert. Matchmaking was a male-only profession during this time and as she gets older, Sara must keep her arranging of these perfect matches a secret. This sweet book also takes place in 1994. In the second timeline, Sara has passed away and Abby, a divorce lawyer, is mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother. While reading Sara's journals left to her, Abby learns more about all the things her grandmother had accomplished. She also realizes that she may also have the same gift. And this might not be compatible with her career and her cutthroat boss.
I enjoyed Lynda Cohen Loigman's first two novels (The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters) and now The Matchmaker's Gift is my new favorite. There is so much about this book that I loved. The two main characters are smart, independent and strong. Both timelines are equally enjoyable. And based on my personal family ties to the Lower East Side, I felt as if Loigman looked into my ancestral history while writing this. One of Sara's first matches was for the daughter of "The Pickle King of New York" who owned Raskins Pickles. Well, my late Uncle Izzy owned the famous Guss' Pickles, which grew from a pushcart to a storefront, and we all felt we were part of pickle royalty. The street names read like a familiar road map of my childhood and the book included Lewis Street where my father grew up (it's a street that was mostly eliminated by the building of a housing project.) I appreciated the Yiddish sprinkled throughout and the many endearing words of wisdom. You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this heartwarming story. The pursuit of love is universal, and the bonds of family timeless. Don't miss this lovely book dusted with a little magic.
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read The Matchmaker's Gift in advance of its publication.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: September 20, 2022.
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