cover image The Irish Matchmaker

The Irish Matchmaker

Jennifer Deibel. Revell, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-8007-4485-4

With the follow-up to The Maid of Ballymacool, Deibel returns to provincial Ireland for an irresistible tale of matchmaking mishaps and second chances. Since Donal Bunratty became a widower nearly six years ago, he has struggled to keep his farm running while raising his high-spirited, eight-year-old daughter, Sara. Hoping to find someone to help out around the farm and with Sara, he calls on local matchmaker Jimmy Daly but is paired instead with Jimmy’s business partner and daughter, Catríona. The “unmatched matchmaker,” who’s sick of her small town and dreams of a life of luxury with dashing Andrew Osborne, a member of the landed gentry for whom she’s coincidentally supposed to be finding a match, becomes fast friends with Sara. As Donal and Catríona spend more time together as part of her matchmaking duties, their bond deepens. Things get complicated, however, after Donal strikes a risky business deal with Andrew, jeopardizing both his farm and his budding relationship with Catríona. Deibel enriches the narrative with vivid local color, from the Irish phrases sprinkled throughout (with a glossary provided) to her textured renderings of small-town life, matchmaking culture, and the social divides of early-20th-century Ireland. This earnest romance has more than enough heart to keep Deibel’s fans hooked. (Feb.)