Blog Tour Stop! The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli
Hello friends! I’m very happy to be today’s blog tour stop for The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli! Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an advanced copy of this book, and inviting me on this tour - all opinions are my own.
This is a book that I have some mixed feelings on. I love a book by a Canadian author and set in a Canadian city I know, and this was no disappointment on those fronts. I find myself sinking deeper into a story when I can imagine exactly the places the character is going and hanging out and I loved how Sonya made Toronto a small character within the story itself.
There are parts of this book that are genuinely cute, rom-com type story lines - Raina being set up by her Nani, who is desperate to find a husband for her beloved grandchild. The mix of bad dates was often laugh-out-loud funny, and I could feel for her as a woman who has been on the dating scene in my life. I loved the glimpse inside this particular Indian family and the quirks that made them an unique as any family in Canada, while also seeing a side of arranged marriage and Indian wedding traditions that I only know a tiny bit about. It was beautifully done, and so very interesting.
I also really appreciated the fact that Sonya never shied away from creating complex, flawed and very human characters and I deeply appreciate that in a story. Watching the characters make their various mistakes, most notably, Raina, who in particular does really idiotic, insane and deplorable things - and then watching them mature and grow out of those mistakes was a process that I could really appreciate. I think there is something to be said for a story that is grounded in the reality that people do very stupid things, but there is always a way to learn and become a better person if you are willing to do the work. I would hazard a guess that everyone has done something probably really regrettable at least once in life. It’s how you react, learn and grow that is a demonstration of your character. Raina is a character who ultimately is forced to reckon with the mess she makes, and then (messily) goes about setting it right.
It is, admittedly, one of the biggest story arcs (and mistakes Raina makes) that I do have issue with. I don’t want to say too much, as readers do deserve to read and form their own opinions, but I will say that I wish the author had chosen another way to move Raina’s story forward, rather than writing in a somewhat insensitive arc that merges Raina’s path with the LGBTQ community. I felt a bit like it made light of situations that are often a very difficult reality for this community, and it honestly took what should have been a great rom-com read and sullied it for me. I can appreciate how it forced Raina to grow up and take ownership of her life - but I wish there had been another way to get her there.
This is one piece of the book that I do think will be the most problematic for readers, and I am genuinely looking forward to engaging in dialogue with other readers, especially those from within this community, so see how others feel about it. I think if nothing else, this may serve as an excellent platform for discussion on such complex topics - and anything that opens a door to respectful dialogue is a positive for me.
Overall, this is a book that I enjoyed, and one that serves for a bit of lighter springtime reading fare.
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.
Sent from my iPhone