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Marriages are Made in Bond Street by Penrose…
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Marriages are Made in Bond Street

by Penrose Halson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Prior to WWII Mary Oliver was spurred on by her Uncle George to open a marriage bureau. She convinced her friend, Heather Jenner to go in with her. They set up offices just off London's Bond Street, figuring to get some good traffic for their matchmaking business.

Being pre-computer age, their records were kept on cards and in a large ledger book. Applicants filled out forms about themselves and what they were looking for in a mate. The appearance of the desired mate, likes, dislikes, finances, social standing and any thing that would be important. Some of them are quite funny and some very touching, but all show how human people are.

The author, who became the owner of the business in 1986, used records, press stories, letters and other research to put together this great read of life in England around WWII. The hardships of the war, the affects on lives and what people were looking for in companionship to make their world a little better for them. There is humour, sadness, a little heartbreak: an enjoyable read over all.

The copy I read is a proof and I noticed that there are to be photos in the final release. It would have been nice to see the images, to add to the flavour of the book, but the author did a great job in bringing the stories to life with her words and style of writing. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | May 11, 2017 |
This book, titled either "The Marriage Bureau" or "Marriages are made in Bond Street", is the true story of two twenty-something girls (one single, one divorced) who found a "marriage bureau" in London a few years after World War II, and about the matches they make. Business takes off quickly and there are a lot of quirky, funny stories. It's pretty funny, and very fluffy, without a whole lot of plot: just like "so they got these two people together and they got on splendidly and quickly married, and then this guy had some insanely specific requests but luckily they were able to match him with a wife" over and over and over.

You don't really get a sense of the character of either of the two protagonists, and one of them marries an American, moves away and drops out of sight midway through the book. The current author actually bought the Marriage Bureau herself in 1986.

If you liked the "Call the Midwife" books/TV series, you will probably like this book -- in fact I've heard it's going to be made into a TV series too. It was a bit too fluffy for my taste, but I can definitely see a market for it. ( )
  meggyweg | Mar 2, 2017 |
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