• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 2, 2017)
A riveting glimpse of life and love during and after World War II—a heart-warming, touching, and thoroughly absorbing true story of a world gone by.
In the spring of 1939, with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They found a tiny office on London’s Bond Street and set about the delicate business of matchmaking. Drawing on the bureau’s extensive archives, Penrose Halson—who many years later found herself the proprietor of the bureau—tells their story, and those of their clients.
From shop girls to debutantes; widowers to war veterans, clients came in search of security, social acceptance, or simply love. And thanks to the meticulous organization and astute intuition of the Bureau’s matchmakers, most found what they were looking for.
Penrose Halson draws from newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, and interviews with the proprietors themselves to bring the romance and heartbreak of matchmaking during wartime to vivid, often hilarious, life in this unforgettable story of a most unusual business.
“A book full of charm and hilarity.”—Country Life
Photo by Bill Halson
About Penrose HalsonWhen Penrose was 25 and still unmarried, her mother sent her to the Katharine Allen Marriage & Advice Bureau. Twenty years later, after a career in teaching, writing and editing, she and her management consultant husband Bill bought the Bureau. They also acquired The Marriage Bureau, which had been set up in 1939 by two 24-year-olds. As Bill had predicted, matchmaking suited Penrose down to the ground, and they remain happily in touch with many former clients who visit them in London.
The Marriage Bureau gives us an insight into the world of matchmaking and dating during the WWII era.
Being a huge fan of history made it easy for me to really enjoy every page of this book. Not only did I get to learn about the matchmaking business, but we also get a bit of the social surroundings from that era and how the war affected it.
The book author herself was a client in the 60s and then again in 1981. When she was able to purchase the client lists and archives, she knew this was the perfect way to showcase just what matchmaking was like in those times.
It was quite fun reading about the different couples that came through the agency. The story is told through the eyes of the two women who started it all, Audrey and Heather.
If you're looking for a fun, easy read this summer, this could just be the book you're looking for :)