Reviewed Jan. 2019
Narrator: Amy McFadden, Joyce Bean
Length: 12 hours 49 minutes
Publisher: Brilliance Audio⎮2018
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Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life - a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she's marrying the man of her dreams, she's sure this is the life she'll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé's irascible matchmaking great-aunt who's dying, and everything changes - just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She's even more astonished to find that she's inherited Blix's Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix's unfinished "projects": the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn't believe she's anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
The Audiobookworm's Review
Rating: 4.25 Stars
4.25★ Audiobook⎮Matchmaking for Beginners was a fun little read. It was more substantive than I was expecting it to be, but still light and breezy, without being overly fluffy. Women’s fiction, with a touch of magical realism, Matchmaking for Beginners took me on a moderately paced roller coaster ride.
It was very well-developed, with both the characters and story arc being given ample time to breathe and grow. It wasn’t perfect and there were certainly things that bothered me, particularly about Marnie’s a weakness for Noah. She laid down for him like a doormat, which I found to be annoyingly pathetic, if a little too realistic. Marnie was not the most endearing of characters. I think I was supposed to have liked her more than I did, but I really couldn’t stand her pushiness, especially where Patrick was concerned. She was narrow-minded and almost bullheaded about pushing her (ableist) agenda on him, with a little to no regard for his point-of-view. The author approached their dynamic from a black/white perspective and that’s not how the stories of those with disabilities need to be told.
Blix seemed to have a far better understanding of, not only Patrick, but human nature in general. I wish we had seen more of her and less of Marnie. Blix was a wonderful character. I would love a prequel story from a young Blix. She lived a lot of life before meeting Marnie, so there would be plenty to choose from. She was really fun!
Overall, I enjoyed Matchmaking for Beginners well enough to finish it and I would certainly pick up any Blix-focused spinoffs, but it also reminded me why I don’t frequent the women’s fiction genre too often. However, there was never a point where I considered not finishing this audiobook. Luckily, it was a super easy listen that I was able to complete in just three days. It was breezy enough for me to listen while I worked and it didn’t require much focus at all. I’m not opposed to trying out something else from this author. Although, probably something very different from this.
I would recommend Matchmaking for Beginners for a true optimist. Someone who enjoys Hallmark movies, astrology, and believes in soulmates. If you check any of those boxes, Matchmaking for Beginners is perfect for you.
Narration review: Amy McFadden and Joyce Bean did stellar jobs with the narration for Matchmaking for Beginners. I’ve heard Amy narrate before, but this was my first time listening to Joyce Bean and she absolutely blew me away! She voiced Blix and added so much to the character. I could practically envision Blix when I heard Joyce’s voice. So much of my affection for the character was realized through Bean’s narration. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for more audios from Joyce Bean and Amy McFadden. They both provided wonderful characterization and distinction to make this a great listening experience. ♣︎