A Match in the Making (Book Review)

  • Author: Jen Turano
  • Publisher: Bethany House
  • Available Now
  • Synopsis: Gilded Age– Gwendolyn Brinkley, the daughter of a gentleman and a working woman, prefers a summertime escape as a paid assistant to the demands of traveling with her boisterous cousin. She does not, however, anticipate that her role will entail serving as a matchmaker to one of society’s most desirable bachelor’s.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher, via JustRead publicity tours. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Phil. 2:3-4

Spiritual Themes

Turano explores the importance of humility, as well as the foolhardiness of ambition (James 3:16), against the backdrop of high society, as women pit themselves against one another to obtain the affections (or, the 5th Avenue estate) of an eligible bachelor. Although protagonist Gwendolyn does not participate in such “shenanigans,” she does acknowledge that such behaviors are not isolated to society. Even so, I feel it is fitting that Turano used these characters to demonstrate her point, since many in these positions obtained their wealth by ignoring the needs of others.

There’s also some discussion on the importance of entering marriage for the right reasons, which ties to the above theme. Both of these ideas are included, quite clearly, via a sermon (which flows very well with the narrative and does not feel at all forced). In addition to observing the juxtaposition of pride and humility, we also get to see the fruits that each reaps, with pride resulting in dissension, and humility bringing forth grace, love and even reconciliation.

What I Liked

When I think of A Match in the Making, the word “charming” comes to mind. In the interest of disclosure, I’m not sure whether this is my own association or a word I read in someone else’s review; however, I do feel that it is a very fitting description. The narrative is delightfully sweet and light, while also conveying a good message.


Although Gwendolyn wasn’t my favorite character (she felt too familiar as an “unconvential” woman), she is a capable woman and I do respect her convictions. I liked Adelaide (and wonder if she will emerge in a subsequent book as the protagonist), and I did enjoy reading about the antics of the various female and male characters on the “marriage mart.” Plus, it was fun to read about the vacation “season” of members of high society, and step with them into their various social engagements. This element of the plot/setting definitely added to my interest level.

As a note, there are a LOT of characters to keep track of, and I often mixed up distinguishing characteristics/actions. With that said, Turano does an admirable job of sliding in references to characters’ past actions, as subtle reminders about who is who.

I was also impressed with her presentation of Walter’s children. I was disgusted by them, at the beginning of the novel, and I expected to continue disliking them, throughout. However, by the end of the story, I could see their endearing qualities, especially Oscar’s.


Although I’m no period scholar, I felt that the author did a good job of crafting the dialogue to fit the setting. At the beginning of the novel, I felt like I could be reading something by Jane Austen. While other books may use dialogue that sounds a lot like today’s, I felt that Turano did a great job with the syntax of the speech.

Content Notes

Amidst general busyness, this book took me a bit longer to get through. With that said, I do not currently recall any content concerns.

I will state that the book conspicuously shies away from discussions of diversity, with a fairly homogeneous cast. This does make sense, considering that the novel is about rich people taking a vacation, but this could take place in a world where slavery never occurred (when the novel is set in the period after Reconstruction). I have mixed feelings about this; on one hand, the book is a decidedly light read and I recognize that it isn’t reasonable to expect every book to address systemic ills. On the other hand, it feels odd to me that all of the characters seem to be white, with no reference to diversity (even outside of their company). But then again, I’m glad that the author didn’t portray negative, racist attitudes prevalent at the time (which certainly could have come into play, given the cast of characters).

Recommendation Status

This is my first time reading a novel by Jen Turano, and I definitely enjoyed the experience. Matchmaking is such a fun topic, in general, and one that I don’t often have the opportunity to read about. (In fact, I briefly pondered whether this was an Emma retelling, for that reason. Really though, I think the main similarity is the matchmaking. ) I’m also happy that I didn’t have content concerns to report. Based on interest level, I would recommend this title to teens and adult women who enjoy historical fiction set in the Gilded Age.

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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