Title: Power of the Matchmaker
Author: Karey White, et al.
Publisher: Mirror Press
Release Date: November 2015
Length: 60 pages
Genre: Novella, Anthology
A prequel novella to the POWER OF THE MATCHMAKER Series
Mystical . . . Beautiful . . . Romantic . . .
Read the matchmaker’s story to find out where it all starts . . .
Mae Li has been in love with Chen Zhu for years, and he with her. But when the matchmaker arrives at the Zhu family home, she recommends another village girl for Chen.
Heartbroken, Mae Li watches as Chen does his duty by marrying another. Mae flees her village with the clothes on her back and her only possession—a pearl embedded comb, given to her as a goodbye gift from Chen Zhu.
Upon Mae’s arrival in Shanghai, she quickly learns that she’ll starve within days unless she sells her prized comb or joins a courtesan house. She goes to the Huangpu River and promises the River God that she’ll always be selfless if he will save her from becoming a prostitute . . . Her wish is granted when Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae. But Mae must completely change her future and her name if she is to become the next matchmaker.
***** Review *****
Mae Li loves Chen devotedly. It is not unrequited love; he loves her in turn deeply. However, the village matchmaker does not envision them together, and Chen would never disgrace his family by dishonoring the matchmaker’s choice. With heavy heart, Mae Lin steals away to Shanghai with one precious item – the pearl comb Chen gave her as a goodbye gift. In a new place, Mae Li quickly learns there is little work she will be hired to do, despite her many talents.
Mae Li quickly finds herself in the bowels of hell in Shanghai, and must find a way out.
As a last resort, she promises the River God to be selfless if he’ll spare her from the dredges of prostitution. When Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae, she cannot look a gift horse in the mouth. Over the course of a year, Mae Li learns the trade of matchmaker and must decide her own future if she is to become the next matchmaker.
This is a short novella.
Mae Li/Pearl – an innocent village girl in love with Chen; later in life she takes the name Pearl
Chen – the love of Mae Li’s life, who chooses to marry another out of duty and honor
Ms. Tan – the Shanghai matchmaker, who is kind and wise beyond her years
“I’m the matchmaker.”
“All I ask is that you be my apprentice for twelve months in which I will teach you the powers of matchmaking. I will teach you to read and write. I will educate you in the art of bringing true love together, and at the end of the twelve months, you may choose your own path.”
The Highs and Lows
- – Mae Li. I found Mae Li to be a very silly girl. To give her massive credit, upon arrival in Shanghai she tries multiple ways of retaining employment, but she lacks any kind of common sense. This is why she ends up where she does before Ms. Tan finds her and takes her in.
Like a flock of ravens descending, the weight of the future settled against her chest, weighing her down. The matchmaker held the power of happiness and love. And that had the potential to break Mae’s heart.
- + Ms. Tan. What an incredible woman. At the end of the story, readers discover just how much a very young Ms. Tan had to give up. She is incredibly kind and wise.
- + Pearl’s Ending. There is no greater testament to a person’s character than a love that lasts a lifetime.
- + The Writing. There are vivid descriptions of Mae Li’s suffering in Shanghai, as well as depth of emotion from Mae Li, Ms. Tan and Chen.
- + Chinese culture. I knew from watching Mulan as a child that Chinese culture is very paternal and uses matchmakers. However, I learned something new:
Affection wasn’t common in most Chinese families.
I liked most Pearl’s Ending. I cannot talk about it without spoilers, but it was such sweet and strong sentiment that it was very heartfelt and reassuring.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Borrow. There will be 12 books coming out next year featuring Mae Li/Pearl, so I definitely recommend borrowing this one since it is so short.