Sophia Rose is here with a review of Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim. Grab a pumpkin spice latte and check out her thoughts on this women’s fiction filled with magical realism.
by Roselle Lim
Genres: Magical Realism, Women's Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
A new heartfelt novel about the power of loneliness and the strength of love that overcomes it by critically acclaimed author Roselle Lim.
Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.
In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.
Sophia Rose’s Review
After reading Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, I was very taken with Roselle Lim’s writing and characterizations. Her delightful portrayal of her Asian American backdrop and characters brought a gentle story into vivid life. I spotted this latest release set in Toronto, Canada, with another Asian heroine needing to find her way, and I confidently settled in for a comfy coze.
Sophie has recently returned from Matchmaker training in Shanghai and is setting up in her own lovely place within a condo complex in Toronto. She has confidence in her ability to be a successful matchmaker and establish herself right until her own mother sabotages her chances at an easy acquisition of clients by telling a whole social gathering her daughter is a liar and a fraud- she didn’t finish her training.
Her mother wants her living at home under her thumb, taking the bank job for steady, but boring existence, and never forgetting that mother knows best and Sophie needs to apologize and show respect.
Fortunately, Sophie’s one bid for independence and self-satisfaction in her work brought her into contact with a quirky group of seniors in her building who are called the Old Ducks. Most wouldn’t notice or would consider them too high maintenance, but Sophie’s big matchmaking heart sees hurting, lonely people who need her brand of help and she dives in to fun results.
Somewhere along the way, Sophie starts to find herself a bit of romance, and the importance of found family.
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club was light and quirky in general, but has some strong undercurrents of more. Her parents were toxic, to put it bluntly, and, because of the Asian culture, Sophie comes from, to defer and show respect for parents and elders. She has been trapped and her esteem is in tatters. She broke free long enough to get trained and learn to love her calling of matchmaking only to have her mother’s hooks back into her when she returns and it is a tug o’ war who will be in charge of Sophie’s life. Her mother was a particular over the top shrew of a character and I was waiting for the big money moment when Sophie would finally give her back some of her own.
While there is a bit of a romance for Sophie and I was cheering for her to step away from fear and doubt for the chance (she had been taught that matchmakers never got their own romance and her mother definitely didn’t give her what was needed to do well at a relationship), this is not a romance. This is the story of Sophie finding herself and finding the Old Ducks.
The Old Ducks were an impressive cast of seniors. They were a hoot and scrappy for their age even while they needed a different brand of stirring up. Sophie taught them that their old dreams of love and companionship could still be fulfilled. And, as they opened up and let her help work on their relationships, more of their lives grew colorful and exciting. The interactions with this group and Sophie was the best part.
Magical Realism fills the book with Sophie’s gift of seeing the potential connections or state of a person’s contentment with their romantic relationship situation as represented by red ribbons dangling from people that are only visible to Sophie.
All in all, it was a fun and poignant story that left me warmed and satisfied. It got frivolous at times, but this balanced with the serious elements, too. Those who want their chick lit or women’s fiction flavored with humor and diversity should give Sophie a go.
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