Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Unmatchmakers by Jackie Lau (2022)

Heat Factor: An uptight hero who gets dirty in the sheets.

Character Chemistry: “There are two kinds of people in the world. Ones who buy beach towels with brightly colored unicorns or starfish, and ones who buy plain, dull colors.”

Plot: Instead of trying to hook Leora up with her friend’s hot architect son, Leora’s mom is actively discouraging the relationship.

Overall: I read this at the beach and it was exactly what I wanted.

Leora is going on vacation with her mother and her mother’s friends and her mother’s friends’ adult children. Cue the grimace face!

Except then Leora arrives at the lake house and there’s a grade-A hottie there who…knows her name? What sorcery is this?!? Turns out Neil Choy, who Leora used to torment when they were like, eight, is all grown up and very attractive. And does things like iron his shirt in the living room. *fans self* 

But all this weird stuff keeps happening. The moms spend many hours telling embarrassing stories. Leora’s bikini goes missing. Leora gets sent on a wild scavenger hunt across the wilds of Canada for graham crackers. It seems like, maybe, their respective moms are trying to keep Leora and Neil apart. Could that be possible? 

Yes, yes it is. 

I loved the premise of this book. Meddling relatives in romance—not least in other romances by Jackie Lau—are generally trying to get their children paired off and making grandbabies, not blocking their children from romantic endeavors. While the lengths Leora’s mom went to were perhaps unbelievable, the place from where she meddles is recognizable. To wit: the dreams she has for her daughter are not the dreams that Leora has for herself. 

This book is a bit of a departure from Lau’s normal style in that it’s told from a single POV, from Leora’s perspective. (I notice these things now that we talked about them! Thanks, Erin and Ingrid for teaching me to pay attention to craft and not just themes!) While I’m generally not a huge fan of single-POV stories since I want to know what *everyone* is thinking, I thought this was an effective choice. First, Neil is taciturn and buttoned-up, which is the perfect kind of opaque hero. Tell me I’m wrong. He’s not so opaque that this book qualifies for slow burn territory, but there is a bit of delicious “he must think I’m annoying” / it’s obvious to the reader he actually thinks you’re the cat’s pajamas dynamic going on. Second, both Leora and Neil ultimately face the same challenge of their respective moms not supporting their adult decisions; getting the story from both perspectives may have gotten repetitive. By only focusing on Leora, Lau could dig into that meaty mother-daughter relationship more fully. And finally, Leora’s voice is fun—there’s a bit of sass, but mostly it’s a straightforward, breezy retelling of events and her reactions to them. There’s enough voice that Leora is a distinct character, but not so much that it overwhelms the story (or makes her seem like an unreliable narrator). My point is—given that we’re in a first-person single-POV story, I liked spending time with the narrator.

Overall, this was just a really fun read. Lau consistently delivers, and The Unmatchmakers is no exception.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Kobo

NOTE: This is a Kobo original and is only available through Kobo, but I was able to read it on my Kindle. Technology!

Looking for something similar?

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Books by Jackie Lau

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