Pick of the Week: The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand

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Elin Hilderbrand came to speak at Aspen Drive last week, and she was so impressive: a strong, inspiring woman who came out to Chicago for her book tour despite a recent cancer diagnosis and mastectomy! Even if she had canceled her visit, though, I would still have written a glowing review of this book. It’s a perfect summer read.

The Matchmaker centers on Dabney Beech, a woman who is at the heart of the Nantucket Island community. On the outside, her life is absolutely perfect: she runs the Chamber of Commerce, is married to a brilliant and famous Harvard professor, and is generally beloved by everyone on the island. And she’s known for her skills as a matchmaker: she has unerring instincts about couples and has successfully matched forty-two of them. Yet things aren’t quite as rosy as they seem. Due to a phobia she acquired in childhood, Dabney refuses to leave the island unless her life literally depends on it. Her daughter Agnes is engaged to a man who, Dabney sees clearly, is not right for her. And the love of Dabney’s life, Agnes’s biological father, has suddenly returned to Nantucket after a twenty-seven year absence. To top it all off, she has not been feeling well recently, but continues to brush off her symptoms as lovesickness. Coping with all these unsettling developments, Dabney finds that her comfortable, settled life is about to change for good.

Most of the time I was reading this book, I had a lump in my throat. And for me, that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean the book is terribly sad, because it isn’t. It’s just that it contains characters that are irresistible and moving. I fell in love with Dabney almost from the start. Her kindness and goodness just seemed to spill off the page and make her real; she was almost angelic without ever being maudlin.  We need more Dabneys in the world!

If you missed our event with Elin and would like to hear her speak about her fight with cancer, check out this segment on CBS This Morning: http://ow.ly/yFybB.

-Andrea Larson, alarson@cooklib.org


Andrea Larson works as a Readers' Advisor at Cook Park Library and loves to connect great people with great books.  She'll read or watch pretty much anything (except horror -- she's kind of a wimp that way).  She's currently working on her Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.