Saturday, March 2, 2019

Book Review: The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson

Book: The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson
Genre: NF WWII
Rating:★ ★ 

We read this one for book club. It was interesting because it was like our libraries hadn't even heard of it. That's not normal! But I requested them to purchase a copy and now they have one! LOL! Anyway.

The author of this one took over a marriage bureau aka. dating service based in London back a few years ago and became so fascinated with the history of this business that she decided to write a book about it documenting how it got started and highlighting some stories surrounding it.

It started a few years before WWII when our girl Mary was struggling to find her place in life. Several marriage proposals of her own didn't pan out and she bounced from job to job never really settling. Her uncle who lived in India planted an idea in her head that she decided to run with, and to get her friend Heather on board.

So that's how The Marriage Bureau get set up, in a small office in London, with the intent to help people who wanted to get married, but didn't really have time to go through the whole process of finding each other. It was a booming business from the very start!

They had clients fill out information about themselves, and about who they wanted to date. They interviewed them and had a secretary type up all the things. And then basically they could memorize everyone in their system and when someone came in looking for a certain type, they could match people up! The clients paid a small fee to register their information, and then a bigger fee if they got married.

We follow them through the break out of the war, and all the sad stories that happened with that. We follow them through changes and moves and new people added to the business. We learn about many different people and their stories and how they found each other through this bureau. We follow them until they have their 10th anniversary and have a party to celebrate, inviting all the people that they matched up. So much fun!

The thing I loved about this book was the fact that it confirms that everyone has a story. These were all "normal" people, living ordinary lives, but they they all had a story, something interesting enough about them that made this book feasible to write. And something interesting enough about them that we were always left wanting more. That was the biggest complaint people had a book club was that they wanted MORE... a follow up... for these stories. Sometimes we were left hanging a bit!

But for the most part it was great fun reading this book. It was written in a more newspaper-y format, not really a novel narrative, and I think I might have liked it more had it been less... newspaper-y. But still, I enjoyed it very much. Very fun to see how this dating service type business flourished even back in the day... and how this business actually still exists today, despite the invention of computer matching sites.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't read it because neither library had it. I didn't know the format was cool, and I didn't even think of doing a purchase suggestion. Way to go Suey!



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