Move over Yenta and Dolly Levi – make room for Sara Glikman the lovable shadchan in The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman. This novel of magical romance and familial love is a perfect fit for the holiday season. A mix of historical and contemporary fiction, it is also an opportunity to learn some of the customs and traditions of Jewish immigrants in America during the early 1900s.
In the year 1910, ten-year-old Sarah Glickman made her first match. While traveling with her family by ship to America she decided to introduce a gentle, kind passenger to her grieving sister. As she did so, she saw a line of golden light connect the two. Three months later they were married. Sarah had a true gift. As she continued to see perfect matches she felt compelled to unite those people. Unfortunately, young unmarried girls were not allowed at this time to be matchmakers and Sarah needed to hide her matches. The professional male shadchan were not so easy to fool, and started to protest vehemently. Sarah was forced to decide: Give up her true calling or fight for change?
Moving forward in time to the 1990s the reader is introduced to Sarah’s granddaughter Abby. Ironically, Abby is an attorney of marriage law who spends most of her time dealing with divorces and prenuptial agreements. Her focus is to protect people from harm when a marriage fails. When Sarah dies, her matchmaking journals are given to Abby. Soon the incredible plan Sarah had for her dearest granddaughter is revealed.
Sara and Abby are strong, endearing characters that the reader will bond with. Their parallel narratives are filled with love and compassion. Recommended for fans of Fall of the Marigolds by Susan Meissner or The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.