Miss Gwendolyn Brinley accepted a temporary paid companion position for the Newport summer season, believing it would be a lark to spend the summer in America’s most exclusive town. She suddenly finds her summer turning anything but amusing when her employer expects her to take over responsibilities as an assistant matchmaker. Tasked with the daunting prospect of attaining advantageous matches for her clients, Gwendolyn soon finds herself in the company of Mr. Walter Townsend, the catch of the Season, but a gentleman Gwendolyn finds beyond annoying.
Walter is reluctantly in search of a wife for his unruly motherless children. What he wasn’t expecting was Miss Brinley, who turns his quest for a new wife into a complete and utter debacle.
The more time they spend together throughout the Newport Season, the harder it is for Gwendolyn to find Walter a wife when she realizes his perfect match might be . . . her.
USA Today bestselling author Jen Turano’s trademark wit, sweet romance, and hilarious mischief will keep you turning the pages of this lively Gilded Age tale.
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic advance copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.
Welcome to the 1888 Newport, Rhode Island summer season, where the younger members of the esteemed Four Hundred will enthusiastically vie for the best (non-romantic) matches. Participants should be warned injuries may occur as well as snobbery, backbiting and duplicity. It should also be noted that one of the most eligible bachelors is a widower with three children under the age of ten who can be, by turns, both angelic and demonic.
The new Matchmakers series by Jen Turano immediately plunges readers into one of the season’s soirees, and lead character Gwendolyn straight into an embarrassing situation. Gwendolyn is not a member of the elite, despite her esteemed family name, and is ostracized since being outed as a paid companion to a well-known matchmaker. Said matchmaker, however, is indisposed due to an accident and Gwendolyn must reluctantly take on her responsibilities. But each potential candidate for main client Walter falls short when it comes to his children. Is no one other than Gwendolyn capable of interacting with them? That’s what it seems like.
If you’re a fan of historical romance novels, particularly those set during the Gilded Age, Jen Turano’s novels can be a lighthearted balm for a rough day. Her novels are clean yet fun, not taking themselves too seriously. There are no heaving bosoms or detailed illicit meetings between characters, but you will find your eyes rolling at the lengths some of these young people will go to in order to make the best match. The Reverend’s sermon in chapter 17 is quite amusing. Using James 3:16 as his base, the man in the pulpit spares no one as he lambasts their behavior, albeit without naming names. But then, he doesn’t need to; the tongues have already wagged.
Due to Gwendolyn’s informal role of nanny to Walter’s children, this book came across as a strange mix of the movies Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Houseboat (starring Cary Grant), although none of these were set during this particular era or location. An element of the plot involving an abduction feels a little superfluous, but life can’t always be laughter even in fiction.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 20 February 2023
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.
Jen Turano’s website: https://jenturano.com/