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The Irish Matchmaker

The Irish Matchmaker, February 2024
by Jennifer Deibel

Revell
Featuring: Catríona Daly; Andrew; Donal Bunratty
320 pages
ISBN: 0800744853
EAN: 9780800744854
Kindle: B0C9RSG1N5
Paperback / e-Book
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"All the fun of the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Irish Matchmaker
Jennifer Deibel

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted March 11, 2024

Christian | Romance Historical

I so enjoyed reading the delightful tale of a Lisdoonvarna matchmaker. This County Clare town still trades on its famous festival of matchmaking today. After the harvest was gathered rural people could travel and meet, and they often needed to marry outside the village or get guarantees of a dowry. But there was no social media, and no telephone, in 1905, and women didn’t get many chances to socialise. Enter THE IRISH MATCHMAKER, a respected role in bringing together two hopefuls.
 
Like her father, Jimmy Daly, Catríona Daly prides herself on suitable matches. Donal Bunratty decides he needs a matchmaker’s services, since his daughter Sara, now nine, needs a mother – and Donal, six years widowed, is also in need of a helper and companion on his smallholding. He asks Catríona to set him up with some pleasant ladies. Though she doesn’t say so, Catríona knows the life of a small farmer all too well, her family having moved to town years earlier to get away from the brutal cold and wet, the ceaseless work and the lack of funds.
 
Casting his eye over the merrymaking lovelies is Lord Osborne's son, Andrew, who would perhaps rather be a playboy than have responsibilities. Catríona doesn’t see that aspect – she just sees a ticket out of the respectable town and into a wealthier life in a fine house. Maybe it’s time the matchmaker made herself a match.
 
The hardships and companionships of life in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, in 1905 are well realised. There’s even a reference to the earlier Boer War, quite appropriate as many Irish men joined the forces for “a pair of boots and a free meal.” While marriage was considered a bargain between families, there was also plenty of room for romance, bringing a real warmth and heart to this story.
 
Jennifer Deibel has previously written tales set in Galway and Donegal, and all three locations are famously Irish-speaking, so expect frequent Gaelic words scattered through conversation. I did spot the odd American term – slicker for a raincoat – but largely the setting and conversations ring true, and would suit adults or teens. I would be keen to read Jennifer Deibel’s earlier books and learn more about the locations in her historical romances. THE IRISH MATCHMAKER is a splendid way to honour the month-long Lisdoonvarna festival while making the most of one of the independent jobs open to women at the time. The characters feel like friends and their struggles would be typical of the day.

Learn more about The Irish Matchmaker

SUMMARY

As daughter of a well-known matchmaker, Catríona Daly is no stranger to the business of love--and sees it as her ticket away from the sleepy village that only comes alive during the annual matchmaking festival. Enter Lord Osborne's son, Andrew, who has returned to the festival after being disappointed by a rival matchmaker's failed setup. Catríona seizes the opportunity to make a better match for the handsome man--and for herself!

Cattle farmer Donal Bunratty is in desperate need of a wife after loss left him to handle the farm and raise his daughter on his own. Shy and lacking the finer social graces, he agrees to attend the matchmaking festival to appease his daughter. But when he arrives, it's not any of the other merrymakers that catch his eye but rather his matchmaker--who clearly has eyes for someone else.

Catríona will have to put all her expertise to work to make a match that could change her life forever. Will her plan succeed? Or will love have its own way?


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