Rummanah Aasi
Description: Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn't mean she has to like it--or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina's side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she's ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn't know won't hurt her... As Raina's life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother's dreams

Review: I was hoping for a fun, light, romantic comedy with The Matchmaker's List, but unfortunately I was disappointed by this debut novel. Raina Anand is raised by her Nani, her maternal grandmother, and terrified of not meeting Nani's expectations. Raina Anand isn’t exactly happy that she’s 29 and still single but Nani is scandalized. After getting over a heart wrenching break up, Raina finally agrees to let her nani set her up with a long list of eligible Indian bachelors, none of whom Raina actually likes. As her best friend, Shay, plans a wedding (that, in a terrible coincidence, is happening on Raina’s 30th birthday), the pressure is on for Raina to find a nice man—any nice man—and settle down. After a string of disastrous dates, Raina can’t let go of the one who got away, a dashing charmer named Dev who broke her heart with his inability to commit. Now that Dev’s back in the picture, but just as noncommittal as ever, Raina finds herself unable to stomach the endless list of bachelors. Eager to ease the pressure of being the perfect Indian granddaughter, Raina lets her Nani believe she’s a lesbian. Raina finds temporary relief, but her little white lie threatens most of her relationships.
  The Matchmaker's List is more of a drama than a romantic comedy. The author does a great job in exploring Raina's conflicting views of her culture and family. She wants to be her own person, but Nani's influence and the fear of being like her lost single mother quarantines Raina to her comfort zone. Even as she feels stifled by their expectations and pressure, she loves the strength of her community and how they always support one another through hard times. Raina’s desire to both please her family and stand up for herself is deeply relatable and it was the strongest aspect of the book. I loved watching Raina's character grow and soon realizes that she has never made a decision based on her own individual desires and dreams. Raina's self realization is what kept me reading. I also loved her relationship with Nani who I adored and loved. The romance unfortunately is a big let down. We are told of the romantic tension between Raina and an unexpected love interest, but I wanted it to be shown. I also did not buy her relationship with Dev which developed too quickly and ended abruptly for me. I would have also loved a more developed and nuisanced relationship with Raina and her mother, which was hinted at in the book. Overall a pleasant look at identity and culture, but short on the romance.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, mentions of drug and underage drinking, and sexual situations. Recommended for older teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani, The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem (July 2019)
5 Responses
  1. Hmmm..... I like that this explores Indian culture, but I am not happy that the romance is lackluster, and I don’t like that this is more drama than romance. I think I will pass. Thanks for the helpful review.

  2. Bummer to expect a romantic comedy and to get a drama-drama instead.

  3. Jen Twimom Says:

    Wonderful review! I felt much the same. I was disappointed in the story, and I blame some of that on how the book was marketed. Thanks, Rum!

  4. Kindlemom Says:

    It's hard to love a book when you were expecting one thing and got something entirely different. Wonderful honest review!

  5. Too bad about the romance. Still Raina sounds interesting.

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