THE MATCHMAKER by Catherine Walsh

From the publisher:

Katie Collins has barely ever left her tiny Irish village of Ennisbawn. Why would she? With its tightknit community, friendly local pub, surrounded by glistening lakes and perfectly mysterious forests, it’s a place of peaceful beauty.

Or it was peaceful. Until Callum Dempsey turned up. Part of a hot-shot (and, Katie has to admit, hot is annoyingly apt for him…) development team with zero eye for beauty or charm, he’s not only building a hideous hotel just outside the village, he’s also just announced a plan to knock down Ennisbawn’s only remaining pub. To make way for a view from the golf course.

It’s the final blow to the village and the last straw for Katie, who refuses to let her home-from-home disappear. The pub is her life – her job, but also her last connection to her parents, who had met at Ennisbawn’s once-famous matchmaking festival that was held in the grounds.

But, after being laughed off the building site in her best flannel pyjamas for demanding the builders leave, Katie decides enough is enough and hatches a plan. She’s going to revive the matchmaking festival, save the pub, and single-handedly bring the town back to life again.

She might even help her two best friends find love as well. Since, heck, what’s another project when you’re taking on the world’s hottest, evilest man?

But what Ireland’s newest matchmaker doesn’t know is that even when someone’s really not your type on paper, love might be a little bit more than just a formula…

A gorgeously escapist and utterly hilarious small town romcom perfect for fans of Emily Henry, Sophie Kinsella and Christina Lauren.

I’ve read a couple of Walsh’s books, and she is now firmly in the “must read” category. I loved the setting of this new book, a small village in Ireland. Katie is a bartender in the only pub in town, but that is about to change.

Someone has bought up all the land surrounding this village, and they are trying to buy the rest of it. The plan is a huge hotel and resort, and the story opens with construction underway, which means lots of loud trucks rumbling past Katie’s house way too early in the morning to suit her. Her late night job means she is not getting much sleep, and she finally cracks. She goes marching down to the construction site in her pajamas (!) to tell off the boss. Callum is the site supervisor, but he reports to Jack. She tells them both off and much to her surprise, the next day no trucks wake her up.

Turns out it was Callum who redirected the trucks to another entrance. The big boss, Jack is more interested in creating pretty brochures and making propaganda videos. Callum keeps showing up where Katie is, and eventually she softens towards him. Then she gets some really bad news from her boss at the pub; there is some weird kind of covenant on the property, and that means the pub is now being sold to the developer. Katie is incensed and decides to take matters into her own hands.

This small town used to be known for their matchmaking festival each year, but it has dwindled to pretty much nonexistent. The only thing remaining is the wishing well behind the pub. Katie starts corralling her friends and neighbors into helping create a big festival, in hopes of drumming up support to keep the pub from being torn down.

Callum and Katie form a friendship, but he wants more. She feels like she is too busy to get more involved, but the more he helps her, the warmer her feelings grow towards him. Eventually, Callum and Katie realize that this is a relationship worth keeping.

This is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn kind of romance with a bit of steam and a lot of laughs. I really enjoyed this romcom, and if you like these kinds of small town romances, please pick up a copy! It’s a good read, entertaining, and the characters really drew me in. This was a one night read for me, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

4/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

PS: Listen to a sample here:

THE MATCHMAKER by Catherine Walsh. Bookouture (April 18, 2023). ISBN:‎ 978-1803149165. 346p.





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