Mini-Reviews: Matchmaker, Georgie, Secrets

Stella Gibbons, The Matchmaker

This slice-of-life novel centers around Alda Lucie-Brown, who has moved with her three daughters to a small cottage in Sussex after their London home was bombed in World War II. Now the war is over, but Alda’s husband is still stationed in Germany, so she’s feeling somewhat isolated in the country. Her solution is to meet the neighbors and try her hand at a little matchmaking, but naturally things don’t go as planned. This is a calm, pleasant read where not much happens, but the characters are nuanced and interesting enough to carry the book. I loved the setting of postwar England; I’ve read plenty of WWII novels, but not many set in the aftermath. So it was fascinating to read about, for example, the Italian POWs still compelled to work on English land. Gibbons reveals some of the prejudices of her time but is also pretty generous in her character depictions. The book isn’t as comedic as Cold Comfort Farm (though it has flashes of gentle humor), but I’d recommend it to fans of books from this era.

Kate Clayborn, Georgie, All Along

Georgie Mulcahy is at a loose end after being laid off. She’s temporarily moved back to her small hometown in Virginia, where she’ll help out her pregnant best friend Bel and try to figure out what to do with her life. She doesn’t expect to feel a connection with Levi Fanning, the town troublemaker and black sheep of the illustrious Fanning family. Levi has been keeping his head down and his nose clean for years, but he’s still living with a bad reputation and with the anger and guilt of his past. As Georgie and Levi grow closer, they both have to confront the mental and emotional obstacles holding them back. I really love Kate Clayborn’s writing, and this latest book doesn’t disappoint. I especially loved getting inside Levi’s head and seeing how he and Georgie interpreted the same events differently. The book deals with some heavier themes than the cover art and publisher’s blurb would suggest, but it’s still an uplifting read with a fair amount of humor. Highly recommended for fans of contemporary romance!

Alyssa Everett, Lord of Secrets

When Rosalie Whitwell’s father suddenly dies during a transatlantic voyage, she finds herself with few options for her future. That is, until one of her fellow travelers, the cold and reclusive David Linney, marquess of Deal, proposes marriage. Despite his reserved manner, Rosalie perceives a softer side to David, so she happily accepts and is prepared to fall in love with her handsome new husband. David is strongly attracted to Rosalie but refuses to consummate the marriage, which frustrates and confuses her. When he finally reveals his secrets, will he lose Rosalie’s love? This book didn’t work as well for me as Ruined by Rumor, but I think it’s entirely due to the subject matter. David’s secrets are quite dark, and certain flashback scenes were very difficult to read. (No spoilers here, but if you google the book, you’ll be able to find relevant content warnings.) Further, once he confesses everything to Rosalie, the happy ending comes way too soon and feels unrealistic. I still enjoy this author’s writing style and will continue to read more of her work, but this one isn’t destined to be a favorite.

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