"The Matchmaker's Gift" | Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
“The Matchmaker’s Gift” by Lynda Cohen Loigman, is a heart-warming historical fiction novel sure to put a smile on your face. It is a multi-generational story of two strong women—Sara, who has spent her life matching up couples, and her granddaughter, Abby, who doesn’t believe in marriage and is a divorce lawyer. The two are very close.
Sara Glikman began matchmaking in 1910. Sara was 10-years-old when she matched her older sister Hindel with Aaron, another passenger on the same ship going to the United States.
Sara has a special gift. When two soulmates meet, she sees a bright beam connecting them. Sara quickly learns that she needs to keep her gift a secret. To do so, she keeps the couples she is matching unaware of her involvement in their chance meetings.
Sara lives in a Jewish community in Lower East Side New York. Matches there are made by Shadchans, professional matchmakers. These men are paid well to match Jewish singles—marriage the end goal. After Sara’s father’s death she becomes determined to use her gift to support her family. If the Shadchans can earn a living as matchmakers why can’t she?
The chapters alternate between Sara and Abby, her granddaughter. Abby’s parents divorced when she was young, and Abby remains bitter about their divide. Abby doesn’t believe in marriage and becomes a divorce lawyer in 1990. One of her goals is to help women who are going through a divorce avoid being fleeced by their former husbands.
When Sara dies in 1994 she leaves Abby all of her journals. Abby soon learns that the journals are a chronicle of the matches Sara has made, often including newspaper clippings of resulting weddings. Sara’s journal entries begin to influence Abby’s opinion of love and marriage. When Abby begins seeing the bright beam among some of her clients, it affects the cases she is working on, causing her boss to threaten Abby’s career.
Eventually both Sara and Abby learn to trust their gift for matchmaking and to stand up to their adversaries. “The Matchmaker’s Gift” is a quick, feel-good read.