Review: ‘Tales from the Country Matchmaker’ by Patricia Warren

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Saturday, December 4, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Title: Tales from the Country Matchmaker

Author: Patricia Warren

Published: Hodder & Stoughton, 2006, pp. 248.  Originally published 2003.

Genre: Memoir

Blurb: Since she founded the Farmers’ and Country Bureau from her farmhouse in the Peak District more than twenty years ago, Patricia has been helping love to blossom the length and breadth of rural England.  She has hundreds of marriages to her dredit and numerous babies including one set of quads.

A born matchmaker whose warmth, patience and humour have literally changed the lives of thousands of people, here she brings us the real life stories of love and romance she has helped to create.  Tales from the Country Matchmaker is pure delight and a heartening reminder that there really can be a happy ever after.

When, where and why: I picked this book up from a local charity shop to add to my collection of wedding reading.

What I thought: Tales from the Country Matchmaker was a sweet book, full of stories of pleasant people, isolated by character or circumstance, being brought together for a happier future.  Patricia Warren, the eponymous matchmaker, was obviously a lovely woman who had a wealth of interesting anecdotes to relate, but unfortunately I didn’t think that the book was very well organised, so it quickly began to feel repetitive and muddled, although undoubtedly earnest, gentle and heartwarming.

One of Patricia’s clients remarked:

The trouble is, we’re all fed a diet of knights in shining armour whereas what I had in reality was this decent, good-looking, nice man who I was terribly comfortable with, but wasn’t fireworks and parties every night and travelling round the world.  Maybe the knight in shining armour was around the next corner.  But the guy who produces the fireworks is not the guy you want to spend your life with.  The comfortable alternative sometimes puts people off because lots of us want to live on the edge.  What I’ve learnt now is that companionship, trust and laughter are so important, and it can seem fuddy duddy — but it’s not, it’s real.  And we do have our firework moments. (p. 118)

This statement encapsulates the tone of the book for me.  It was steady, warm, quiet and sweet, at times touching and at others amusing, but sadly without any fireworks to provide a change of pace and mood.  I liked this book and thought that it had potential, but I wish that it had been written by someone else who could perhaps have brought the stories to life a bit more and made them seem more individual and exciting.

Where this book goes: This is definitely a BookMooch book.  It was an enjoyable quick read but it’s not one I’ll ever read again.

Tea talk: What else could I possibly drink while reading about such traditional country lives than a good, honest pot of strong English Breakfast Tea?

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