BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli [in Booklist]

At 29, Raina’s known true love, but also debilitating heartbreak when happily-ever-after didn’t happen. Still single, she reluctantly agrees to meet the men of her grandmother’s choosing. Not that her family is particularly marriageable: Nani seemed more servant than partner to Raina’s late grandfather, her unwed teenage mother left Raina in Nani’s care, her single Uncle Kris still lives at home.

Matchmaking pressure only intensifies with the upcoming Bollywood-rivaling nuptials of Raina’s outwardly perfect BFF – a doctor marrying another doctor! – about to be on full display to their judgmental tight-knit Indian community in Toronto. In a fit of misguided self-preservation, Raina assumes a whopper of a lie to escape further badgering.

The ever-popular South Asian voice-of-choice Soneela Nankani adroitly embodies Raina’s growing desperation as she flails through expectations and disappointments on her way to a few raw revelations. Nankani is also especially convincing when assuming the truculent personalities of the older women, including Shay’s biting mother, Nani at her steely angriest, and Raina’s manipulative mother Manu. While Raina’s blinding self-absorption might devolve into tedium on the page, Nankani undoubtedly uplifts and entertains.

Review: “Media,” Booklist, September 15, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019


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