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The Matchmaker
Stock image - cover art may vary
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 0312976992
ISBN-13: 9780312976996
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: February, 2001
Length: 320 Pages
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 6.7 X 4.2 X 0.9 inches
Language: English
   
   

The Matchmaker

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List Price: $10.49 Amazon.com
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From the journal of Miss Olivia Byrde:Lord H...Drinks too much. Ill-mannered and altogether too bold. Though rough-edged, he is tall and reasonably handsome. But he proves the rule that looks can be deceiving.Ill-suited for marriage.Since her entry into society three years ago, Olivia has kept detailed notes on every eligible man...
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55

Customer Reviews

  Some of these reviews are bewildering!!!!

I'm reading some of the other reviews and wondering if they are talking about the same book I just finished reading!!! And it's actually the love it or hate it aspect of those reviews that drove me to read this book in the first place. I just had to read it for myself.

I liked this book a lot. It's well written with some nice dialog and good descriptive text. Like another reviewer, I'm giving it 5 stars to off-set the negative reviews that this book doesn't deserve (though my true rating would be 4). First off, Olivia was neither a "cry baby" nor a "prude" as other reviewers stated. She cried maybe once and she was no more a prude than any well-mannered lady of the gentry of her time. She was cautious about men and didn't want to make the mistakes her mother made - multiple times! Maybe to some she was overly cautious, but hey, she had to live with the guy, not me!

Second, I hate the characterization of Neville as a "drunk" (though I suppose technically it's true). He used alcohol to deaden his pain and empty his mind of the memories from his war experiences. He is never drunk during the day or around anyone else (except for the one incident at the inn). And he doesn't insult Olivia, he teases her - and he could tease me anytime. He sensed that underneath her stuffy, proper surface was a kindred spirit that he wanted to get to know. I liked Neville and rooted for him to win Olivia over. He was handsome, charming, funny and mischievous. And when he finally figures out that he is in love with Olivia, he realizes he will have to change if he wants to win her. She brought out the best in him. Now Olivia was a bit uptight and she fought her attraction to Neville to the bitter end which may be why some found the book a bit too slow. I will concede at times some exasperation with her and wondered once or twice why Neville bothered, but I also knew that they needed each other. And hey, if I had a dime for every heroine in a romance novel that exasperated me, I'd be a millionaire! Believe me, I've read books with far more annoying characters than any in this book.

So, if you're interested, give this book a chance. Borrow it or buy it second hand if you're really on the fence. Lots of us enjoyed it, so you may too.

 
  Very good, but somewhat dark

This is a very good novel. The two protagonists are very well developed and their interactions are the highlight of the story. The secondary characters add sparkle and depth to the plot, as well as lightening up the otherwise serious topics. This is a great book for those who like emotional depth. It is NOT, however, a light read.
 
  I've discovered a great writer

A bit far-fetched as it may sound, Ms. Becnel reminds me of the incomparable Jane Austen. Now, being a out-and-out Austen-maniac, I am not the one to make such a (shall we say) bold statement without any sound reason.

For one thing, Ms. Becnel has created a set of wonderful characters whom I can't help but grow to care for and fall in love with.

Olivia Byrde manages to be a most lovable paradox of a heroine I've ever come across. See, she is beautiful yet utterly unconscious of her charm; she is innocent but is quick to respond to the hero with passion; she is feisty and stubborn without being annoyingly pigheaded; she turns into clay whenever she comes into physical contact, however slight, with the hero, but save for that, she has as much wit and sharpness about her as can be.

Lord Neville Hawke is the more common sort of brooding, dangerous, and devilishly handsome hero one will expect from a romance novel. Although initially he appears more like a drunkard who sets his mind on nothing but the seduction of Olivia, he gradually proves himself much more than just meets the eye. Along with Olivia, readers come to know he's hard-working and cares more about the well-being of other people than his own. His un-gentlemanly behavior towards Olivia during their first encounter is satisfactorily explained and I grow to sympathize with him. (Trust me, he is really a tortured lost soul.) What makes him so fascinating, however, is that despite his outward composure and confidence in his ability to woo Olivia, deep down he's actually a sorry (but adorable)case of insecurity and self-resentment: he may be able to kiss Olivia into oblivion but he feels himself totally unworthy of her love. Now, how cute is that?!

What makes Ms. Becnel "Austenian" is that she concentrates primarily on the courtship of the two protagonists, never distracting readers by tossing in a large group of secondary characters or by too many plot twists and turns. This is not to say the secondary characters, most notably Olivia's mother and sister, do not have their own appeal. Together with Olivia and Neville, they make a dazzling, unforgettable ensemble!

For another, Ms. Becnel, like Jane Austen, writes in such a peaceful, serene manner that although the story may not have a lot of "action," as one reviewer complains, it still is a page-turner, one you need to be patient with and willing to slowly immerse yourself in.

And there is Ms. Becnel's writing. I confess I cannot abide a horribly written story with irritating narratives, no matter how interesting the plot or characters are. This is not the case with THE MATCHMAKER, which is told with lucidity, elegance and subtlety. (notice how Ms. Becnel plays with the names of the hero and heroine?)

All in all, THE MATCHMAKER is a definite keeper for me and for those of you who like Jane Austen and a good Regency. As it is my first read from Mr. Becnel, I was furthermore thrilled to have discovered such an awesome writer. THE MATCHMAKER is not for those who like their romance action/adventure-packed and fast-paced (and thank goodness, there is not the dreaded big misunderstanding in the story), but I say, KEEP'EM COMING, Ms. Becnel! You've done a great job!!

 
  Learning what Love is about

Olivia is a young women that thinks she knows what finding a husband is about and she belives in the perfect future for everyone including herself. But what she finally figures out is that there is more to finding the perfect match than just joting down behavioral habits and comon interest in her Matchmaking Journal. She finds that there has to be some kind of chemistry. She is the perfect match with Lord H. She is very strong and helps him see that he is stronger than the nightmares that plauge him. Was fun to watch the tango of these two! Finding out what love is all about and not just matchmaking......

Thanks for helping me remember what falling in love was like.

Great fan of Ms. Becnel and will continue cheering her on.... can't wait for the next one.

 
  Exciting character study

Olivia Byrde has spent much of the last three years in Polite Society, but no man makes her heart beat louder. A bored Olivia leaves London to spend time in Yorkshire before continuing on to her own Scottish estate Byrde Manor. In Yorkshire, an intoxicated Neville Hawk accosts Olivia, who happens to be up and about rather early for a member of the Ton. When he realizes that he propositioned a lady, Neville apologizes, but takes her to task on her journal that describes how she sees the males she has met.

Neville begins to court Olivia and wrangles out of her mother the task of escorting her to Scotland. She thinks he is a drunk. In Scotland, she realizes she is in love with Neville, but fears his dark side is too much like that of her deceased father. Will Neville, who suffers from insomnia caused by guilt from his actions during the war in France persuade his beloved, and himself that he deserves her?

THE MATCHMAKER is an exciting character study based in early nineteenth century England. The story line centers on battle fatigue syndrome affecting a member of the Ton and their relationships, with only love able to fully provide comfort to the sufferer. Olivia is an intriguing lead protagonist, but the tale belongs to Neville and the demons pounding his head from the inside. Best-selling author Rexanne Becnel has written a deep dark tale that will please fans of historical romance who want a genuine flaw in their hunks.

Harriet Klausner