Sunday, February 3, 2019

Blog Tour - Excerpt: The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli

The Matchmaker's List Blog Tour graphic

The Matchmaker's List by Sonya LalliThe Matchmaker's List
by Sonya Lalli
February 5, 2019
352 pages

Goodreads     Indigo

Goodreads Summary:
One devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love where you least expect it

Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn't mean she has to like it--or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina's side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she's ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn't know won't hurt her...

As Raina's life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother's dreams.


Excerpted from The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli. Copyright © 2017 by Sonya Lalli. Reprinted with permission by Berkley an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

“Raina,” said Nani, clutching my wrist. “Meet Sachin.” She dragged me closer until the top of his forehead was square to my mouth, and I tried to ignore the dull sensation in my belly. He looked vaguely familiar. Perhaps someone I’d known as a child, or seen in the stack of pictures Nani had started leaving on the kitchen table. He was quite short, albeit symmetrical – handsome even. He smiled and brought his palms together at his chest, bowing slightly to both of us.

“Hello, Raina,” he said, like my name was a word he’d invented.


“Sachin drove far to come for your birthday lunch.”

“It’s your birthday?” His face stiffened. “I didn’t mean to intrude.”

“No intrusion, dear.” She pinched his cheek. “My Raina and I are so happy you joined. Nah, Raina?”

I nodded.

“Raina is such a good girl. Always coming home from her busy job to take care of her Nani.” She gasped and turned to me. “Sachin is a busy man, too. Raina, did you know he is doctor?”

“No, I didn’t.” I turned to him. “My best friend is a doc – ”

“I’m a cardiologist, actually.” He glanced away. “To be more precise.”

I clamped down on my lower lip. Precise, or just plain arrogant?

“Sub-specialized at Columbia.”

“Mhm. Oh, is that right?”

He nodded, fingering his wristwatch. “Diverse city. Beautiful campus. One of the top programs in the country – world, even. Some might say.”

“I think I’ve heard of Columbia.” I folded my arms across my chest. “Is that in Cleveland?”

“Actually, New York – ”

“And you’re the kind of doctor that cleans teeth, right?”

Nani jabbed me on the arm, and I tried not to laugh.

“No, no. It’s – ”

“Cardio-logist. Oh! You’re a sports doctor.”

He shifted from side to side. “Actually, cardiac electrophysiology is a – ”

Nani clucked her tongue, waving him off. “Don’t listen to her. She’s a silly one, my Raina.” She wrapped her arms around my waist as if she were a co-conspirator in the charade.

“Oh,” said Sachin.

Evidently, they didn’t teach sarcasm at Columbia.

“Dear, would you like chai before lunch?”

“Chai sounds lovely, Auntie.”

She waddled up the stairs leaving me alone with him, and I sat down on one of the couches, the plastic screeching beneath me as I settled onto the cushion. Sachin joined me a moment later, his legs spread so wide he was nearly touching me. To my dismay, he actually smelled pretty good: the way rich men tended to smell, like Dev used to smell. An understated potency that still dominated the entire room.

“Your Nani is very sweet,” he said after a moment.

“She’s the best.”

“What’s her name again?”



I looked straight ahead, deadpan, trying not to look at him out of the corner of my eye.

“Is that … Bengali?”

“No,” I sighed. “Her name is Suvali.”

“But, you just said – ”

“It was a joke.”

“A joke, right – ” he let out a stiff laugh “ – good one.”

Growing up, everyone referred to family friends as auntie or uncle, and names were non-essential, but I still felt mildly offended on Nani’s behalf. I reclined slightly on the couch, and stared straight ahead. Lord Ganesh – eyes, trunk and all – stared right back.

Upstairs, I could hear Nani bustling around in the kitchen. She would be setting out her favorite teacups on the silver tray Nana had bought her as wedding present, placing teaspoons equally spaced along the paper napkins – garish, a bold red and gold – that she’d once bought in bulk at a discount store going out of business. Fifty packages for a five-dollar bill.

“Raina, hey listen.” Sachin said after a while.


He played with his rounded fingernails, picking beneath them. “I really hate to ruin your birthday, but – ”

“You have to go?” I asked, a little too eagerly.

“No.” He flashed me a smile, two rows of square white teeth. “Don’t worry. I’ll stay for lunch. But I would hate to mislead you on my intentions.” He looked up at me quickly, and then back at the floor. “I’m not interested.”

“That’s fi – ”

“You seem like a really nice girl, Raina. Really nice. And I don’t mean to hurt you.” He sighed again

“I’m just not in that place, you know? I’m not ready for the kind of commitment that our families – that you – seem to be after.”

I bit my tongue. The only thing I was after was for him to leave.

“I know, I know.” He stood up and paced in front me, his hands partially shoved into his pockets. “I’m a doctor, I get it. The biology of it all just isn’t fair. It’s harder for women. More pressure after they – uh – reach a certain age?”

I let out a deep, writhing sigh. “It’s so hard.”

“And your Nani finding you a single doctor is –” he paused and looked me dead in the eye. “Well, it’s the dream, isn’t it?”

A dream? More like a nightmare.

“But really, Raina, you seem like a nice girl.” He knelt down in front of me and petted my knee. “Really nice. And I’m sure you will find someone – soon.”

I resisted the urge to tell him what I really thought of him, and studied him as he crouched at my feet. Sachin was the definition of the man Shay and I had spent so many years avoiding: the westernized Indian. The one who used to be captain of the chess club or math team, and although brutalized for it in high school, now threw out the stereotypes about his culture as an anecdote to make the C-cups and hair extensions laugh as he chivalrously paid for their drinks. He was the archetype who watched sports and drank beer, had the uncanny ability to mock his father’s accent, yet would still want his wife to learn how to make curry the way his mother did. He was the hybrid of east and west; the immigrant mentality distilled and harnessed, his arrogance the forgivable byproduct of ambition.

Sachin looked up at me and heaved out a patronizing sigh. “Are you going to be okay?”

He was also the type of man that any Nani would want her granddaughter to marry, and as I patted his shoulder reassuringly, I tried to convince myself that Sachin – that his type – wasn’t what I was interested in either.

I hope you enjoyed this little preview and make sure to check out the book when it comes out on Tuesday!!

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