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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Sophia, Nothing beats a good book with a great cup of coffee. Together, they’re your piece of peace in the morning.
Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)
I’m not really a women’s fiction reader, but the cover grabbed my attention on this. Sounds like it was a good read for you as well. Great review!
I’ve slowly been getting into women’s fic more and more. This is a great gateway author from contemporary and magical realism into women’s fic.
Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Wow her mother sounds like a selfish piece of work! The Old Ducks sound exactly like what she needed to help find her way. Wonderful review, Sophia!
Oh yeah, I wanted to smack her mother and was impatient for Sophia to break loose.
This sounds fun! I like the sound of this one – especially with the magical realism thrown in. Definitely adding to my TBR.
Her books are heartwarming, but have that fun magical element, too. Hope you like it, Katherine.
I remember you recommending the first book in this series to me and I’ve bought it, but I haven’t read it yet. This sounds like a good series. I like the finding your way theme in books. The Asian main character and setting in Canada sound like interesting touches too. The light vibe with some strong undercurrents sounds great. definitely want to check out this series soon! Great review!
Oh that’s right, we were chatting about good women’s fiction. Yes, her books are great and I love the touch of magic in them. Hope you get the chance soon, Lola!
Carole @ Carole's Random Life
This sounds delightful! I would pick it up for the Old Ducks alone but add some magical realism and I am sold.
Yes, it was sensational. 🙂
I’m so happy you enjoyed this too, Sophia. I felt the same way as you did. I love this quote from your review: “a fun and poignant story that left me warmed and satisfied”
What a charmer of a story! Glad to know you loved it, Wendy!
Lover of Romance
Great review Sophia! It sounds like this one was a really heartwarming story and I am happy that this one worked out so well for you in a magical realism story. Its always so satisfying to see such a well balanced story.
It really was, Renee! I need to go back for the one I missed, but I can’t wait to see what story comes next for her. 🙂
There definitely aren’t enough book covers with ducks! I love them.
Wonderful review, I’m going to add this one to the TBR because the characters sound amazing.
So true! The cover matches the whimsical nature of the Old Ducks and the story, too.
Great review Sophia Rose I too have Natalie Tan’s book on my shelf and now I want to open it soon and get this one too! Thanks
Glad I could nudge it higher on your pile, Debbie. 🙂
It is good when stories leave you feeling satisfied. Lovely review, Sophia.
For sure! I’ve read one other of hers and I see that this is her writing style so I want more. 🙂
It’s the first time I hear about this one. I don’t read a lot in this genre but it looks good
I’ve recently been grabbing women’s fiction stories and particularly certain writers. Hope you get the chance, Melliane! 🙂