Title: The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London
Author: Penrose Halson
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date: May 2, 2017
Source: TLC Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In the spring of 1939,
with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds,
Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They
found a tiny office on London’s Bond Street and set about the delicate
business of matchmaking. Drawing on the bureau’s extensive archives,
Penrose Halson—who many years later found herself the proprietor of the
bureau—tells their story, and those of their clients.
girls to debutantes; widowers to war veterans, clients came in search of
security, social acceptance, or simply love. And thanks to the
meticulous organization and astute intuition of the Bureau’s
matchmakers, most found what they were looking for.
Halson draws from newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, and
interviews with the proprietors themselves to bring the romance and
heartbreak of matchmaking during wartime to vivid, often hilarious, life
in this unforgettable story of a most unusual business."
My Two Cents:
"The Marriage Bureau" is the story of two women who start at matchmaking firm in London during World War II. They pledge to make love matches between many people from many different walks of life. They set up their business on Bond Street. This book is billed as being a true story but reads more like a frothy, fun story of two women with a lot of anecdotes about some of the out of the ordinary clients that they serve.
This book definitely reads more like fiction and while the book says that the author drew on sources from the time and from interviews, much of the story is told through conversations between different characters in the book, which seems to blur the fiction/ non-fiction line a little bit. I appreciated that the author tried to pull the facts into more of a story rather than a history. I was hoping for more facts (How was the business set up? What was it like to have a business involved with very happy things during wartime?).
Also, since many of the stories about clients are anecdotal and contained to individual couples, there is not much of a story arc there. Individually, the stories about the clients are very entertaining. I did wish that there was a little bit more to this book but it is a good taste of an interesting business. It made me want to read more about this subject!