Dabney Kimball Beech had lived on Nantucket her whole life. In her childhood, she lived there alone with her father, after her mother abruptly left one day under circumstances that would forever impact Dabney’s life. Some believed that Dabney’s agoraphobia, which kept her from leaving the island, could be traced back to that abandonment.

As the Director of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years, and as the wife of brilliant economist John Boxmiller Beech (Box), some might say she has it all. Additionally, she has a reputation as a “matchmaker,” since she can detect a rosy aura around those who are “meant to be.” She has never been wrong, and all the couples she has matched are still together…if they are alive.

But despite her marriage and her ability as a matchmaker, her own heart has belonged to her first love and the father of her daughter Agnes: Clendenin Hughes, a journalist who left for Southeast Asia on assignment before he learned of her pregnancy and has never been back.

Until now. An e-mail telling her of his imminent return throws her into a tailspin.

What will happen between them when they see each other again? And what about Agnes, who is returning to Nantucket for the summer? Can she handle connecting with the father she has never met? Will everything spin out of control now?

The Matchmaker: A Novel thoroughly engaged me, and as I immersed myself in this book, which was also narrated by individuals that had been “matched” by Dabney, I enjoyed seeing how their stories offered a unique perspective on Dabney’s gift.

I was rooting for Dabney and Clen, and also hoping that Agnes would break up with her controlling fiancé C.J. It was intriguing how much these characters’ lives mattered to me, and I couldn’t stop turning those pages. But as a dark tragedy loomed over them, I had to reach for the box of Kleenex while I kept hoping for a reprieve of some kind.

A beautiful story of love, loss, mistakes, and second chances, I wanted more time and more magic for these unforgettable characters. Definitely a five star read for me.

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