Power of the Matchmaker
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.
Power of the Matchmaker is a fast, clean read, and one that has me quite interested to see how the 12 novels that follow this prequel turn out.
Mae Li's story, though short, pulls at the reader's heartstrings. I couldn't help but picture Disney's Mulan while I read portions of the book, although Mae Li's "soldiering" is to survive and make a new life for herself.
Although her life doesn't turn out as she expected, she is able to find purpose and help others find their true loves.