Book Review: The Matchmaker by Catherine Walsh

Katie Collins has barely ever left her tiny Irish village of Ennisbawn. Why would she? With its tightknit community, friendly local pub, surrounded by glistening lakes and perfectly mysterious forests, it’s a place of peaceful beauty.

Or it was peaceful. Until Callum Dempsey turned up. Part of a hot-shot (and, Katie has to admit, hot is annoyingly apt for him…) development team with zero eye for beauty or charm, he’s not only building a hideous hotel just outside the village, he’s also just announced a plan to knock down Ennisbawn’s only remaining pub. To make way for a view from the golf course.

It’s the final blow to the village and the last straw for Katie, who refuses to let her home-from-home disappear. The pub is her life – her job, but also her last connection to her parents, who had met at Ennisbawn’s once-famous matchmaking festival that was held in the grounds.

But, after being laughed off the building site in her best flannel pyjamas for demanding the builders leave, Katie decides enough is enough and hatches a plan. She’s going to revive the matchmaking festival, save the pub, and single-handedly bring the town back to life again.

She might even help her two best friends find love as well. Since, heck, what’s another project when you’re taking on the world’s hottest, evilest man?

But what Ireland’s newest matchmaker doesn’t know is that even when someone’s really not your type on paper, love might be a little bit more than just a formula…


I loved this book. It was fairly predictable and borderline cheesy but full of warmth and it made me smile. I’ll always have a soft spot for books based in Ireland considering it’s my home country, but The Matchmaker made me want to find the smallest village and go live there. The author did a great job of capturing the sense of community in Ireland. I also appreciated how the characters weren’t stereotypical. Some books based in Ireland can be quite outdated, especially in terms of stereotypes. The Matchmaker showed that even the smallest of places can be full of diversity and different personalities.

It was hard not to like Katie. Her love for her friends and grandmother, plus her dedication in saving the pub was admirable. However, it was her level of self-awareness that sold me. We live in a society that always has us pushing for more; more money, more success, more possessions. We forget that a truly fulfilled life means not being afraid to live according to your values – and shamelessly so. Katie is happy with her life in the village and it was great to see that celebrated rather than frowned upon.

Of course, The Matchmaker wouldn’t be complete without a bit of romance. I won’t give any spoilers but the romance in this book is beautiful and realistic. Just try not to smile as relationships develop.

Interested in reading The Matchmaker? Pick up a copy here.


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