The decision to marry someone is complicated: do you want the same things? Will you in ten, twenty, fifty years? Will your love last as long as you both shall live? Being part of a community with cultural and religious expectations around marriage adds layers of complication on top of that, even.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was someone guiding you, helping you make the big decisions, giving your marriage the best shot possible? That’s Saima’s job in The Matchmaker – a brand-new debut novel from Sydney author Saman Shad, which Penguin Books Australia sent to me for review.
The story follows Saima as she tackles a particularly challenging assignment: finding a match for a sexy, wealthy bachelor, without letting him know that his parents are pulling the strings.
Books+Publishing bills The Matchmaker as “A light read that still delves deep into the complexities and heartbreak of immigrant and first-generation experiences,”. It’s like an Australian-Pakistani Failure To Launch, meets The Wedding Planner. Saima and Kal both find themselves caught between the traditions and expectations of their parents’ homeland, and all the modern promise of the country in which they grew up.
The prose and dialogue were patchy in places, but completely forgivable for a debut author with such striking insight. It was a particular delight to read a rom-com set in my home city of Sydney. I recognised many of the spots that Saima and Kal visit – not to mention the “types” they encounter. Given that there’s no mention of COVID, and no spice (except for the frequently-mentioned delicious-sounding meals), The Matchmaker is the perfect blend of escapism anchored in reality, a wonderful end-of-summer read.
Buy The Matchmaker on Booktopia here. (affiliate link)