Dabney Kimball Beech loves Nantucket with a passion. She has been working as head of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years, and she does it with an unrivaled level of commitment and enthusiasm. She is known by everyone on the island and is almost an iconic figure to old and new residents alike.
Dabney also takes pride in being Nantucket’s unofficial “matchmaker”, with over forty successful, happy matches under her belt. She cannot explain it without sounding crazy, but to put it simply, Dabney knows if a man and a woman are a perfect match for each other, because she can see a rosy-coloured aura around them, and a green smoky haze if they are not.
Her 26-year-old daughter Agnes has agreed to marry a wealthy, much older and very volatile man, and all Dabney can see is green haze all around them. And if that’s not distressing enough, Clendenin Hughes, the man Dabney has never stopped loving, even after she asked him all those years ago to leave and pursue his journalistic dreams in Southeast Asia and to never contact her or Agnes again, is finally coming back to Nantucket. Will Dabney’s 24-year-marriage to kind and gentle John Boxmiller Beech, the man who raised her daughter like his own, withstand the maelstrom that is Clendenin Hughes?
Dabney’s already complicated situation takes a downward spiral when she finds out that she is dying of pancreatic cancer. With just a few months left to live, Dabney fights to heal the broken hearts of the people whom she so deeply loves, and work her magic as ‘the matchmaker’ one last time before she goes.
Most of the reviews I read about “The Matchmaker” said that they bawled their eyes out after reading the last twenty pages of the book. However, I found, with great relief, that my tear ducts remained strong and completely unaffected. I guess it’s hard to cry over the death of a main character who cheats, lies, acts like a teenager and keeps making bad decision after bad decision.
But enough on the hating. Dabney is just someone you’re either gonna love or hate. Good thing there are other characters and events in the book that are endearing and entertaining. (I especially enjoyed reading the testimonials of the couples that Dabney matched through the years.) “The Matchmaker” is readable, engaging, and an overall okay book. If you believe that first love never dies, in soul mates, second chances or happy endings, this is the kind of book you will really enjoy.