Book Information – The Matchmaker’s Match
Author – Jessica Nelson
Reading Challenge Book? No.
As I read it, I could tell that The Matchmaker’s Match would be a standout read. I’ve encountered some Christian romances that read very much like the worst of secular romances, complete with lust and unrealistic relationships, but with a thin veneer of religiosity. This book, however, is quite different.
The lead characters have a story that many readers will find achingly romantic, but there is also a strong focus on God and His leading in their lives. The hero, after all, once had a slightly roguish reputation that is only hinted at in the text. We learn fairly early on in the book that he spent time in America and during his travels, came to repent sincerely of his earlier ways and to become a Christian. Throughout the book, it’s a calling he takes seriously, seeking the Lord’s direction in many things, but most especially in his choice of bride.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, the general plot of the book is this: For a variety of reasons, Lady Amelia Baxley has shied away from the traditional callings of wife and mother. She yearns only to live quietly and independently. To supplement her modest stipend, she has discreetly started a side business – she uses her connections in Society to serve families as a matchmaker for their young ladies.
Spencer, Lord Ashwhite, first encounters Amelia when she interrupts him mid-argument at a ball. He invites her to dance and during that dance, he finds himself quite intrigued by this unusual and intelligent lady. He later learns of her side business and since he is in a bit of a fix (his father’s will stipulates he must marry by a certain time or forfeit the bulk of his inheritance), he tries to engage her services on his behalf.
Amelia considers herself quite proper and discreet and would not normally take on a male client. However, she is in a bit of a fix herself. She needs money, and her brother is threatening to force her to move in with him and his wife, a position where Amelia fears that as an old maid/poor relation, she will be little more than a servant. So, she takes on the job.
Working with Spencer causes Amelia not only to confront her own feelings, but also her faith. When Spencer tells Amelia he needs to marry, his primary concern is not for his own wealth or advancement but his concern for the many tenants who depend upon him for their livelihood. That sense of responsibility to those who depend on his leadership shines through many times in this book and it’s so believably rendered that it made me like Spencer more every time I encountered it.
In addition, when Spencer tells Amelia what he requires in a wife, he tells her that anyone he marries “..must have a personal interest in God. A relationship with Jesus, as you will, that influences her daily living.” As they discuss the matter, one can see seeds being planted with Amelia. Throughout the story, she has occasion to examine her own heart. While that strong interest in the things of Christ does not initially shine through in her character, she undergoes a great deal of refinement throughout the book.
Not surprisingly, as Spencer and Amelia work together, they also find themselves drawn together. There’s more than simply matchmaking going on in this book, as readers will likely discover to their joy. Family relationships are strengthened, happy marriages are formed, and even if there were a few silly moments interspersed, I found myself closing this book with a happy sigh.