Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Read an #Excerpt from Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim - Available Now!

About the Book

Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club
by Roselle Lim 
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: August 16th 2022 by Berkley
A new heartfelt novel about the power of loneliness and the strength of love that overcomes it by critically acclaimed author Roselle Lim.

Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.

In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.


Chapter Two

Calls from my mother always brought belly cramps. Even now as my finger hovered to press the button to accept, churning acids sloshed against the delicate lining of my stomach. Yanmei, my roommate and classmate in Shanghai, once equated my mother's check-ins to a nonconsensual enema.
I steadied myself by leaning against the counter. The clamminess of my hands left smudges on the dark glass.
With my voice pitched higher and coated with manufactured cheeriness developed over years of practice, I answered the call. "Hi, Mom! I've been meaning to call you back."
"No, you haven't. If you had, you would have called already. Don't lie. You know how much I hate lies." My stomach clenched at the accusatory tone in her voice.
"I'm sorry."
"How is the job hunting going?"
"I have two leads." Flora and Mabel from the lobby.
"You wouldn't have such trouble if you had returned to work at the bank. They would have taken you back."
The data entry department, where blank-eyed zombies crouched in rows of lidless boxes in the dark, windowless basement, was where I'd worked for the last five years leading up to matchmaking school. The steady money was a bit more than retail and paid for my trip to Shanghai. I had no desire to return to the odious chorus of finger tapping. I was grateful for what it provided at the time, but it had never held any joy for me.
Matchmaking was my career.
Nothing else in the world made me feel as special. This was a rare gift, an honored calling. My soon-to-be lucrative salary and longevity rivaled prized professionals like doctors and lawyers. Walking into a room elicited reverence, respect, and recognition. In most households, the discovery of a matchmaker was met with rejoicing. But not in mine.
I would bring people together, create happiness where none existed before. Because of its scarcity, the gift of joy accompanied by romantic love exceeded any monetary or material equivalent.
I'd never thought about doing anything else. I had no backup plans. My mother couldn't take this away from me.
Any parent would be happy to have a child with this profession, yet Mom had been dead set against it from the beginning. She reasoned that it was an impractical vocation with no guarantees of stability. She feared that I'd waste my time and hers, only to fail. Mother always thought she knew best, but she didn't-not when it came to me and my life . . . or abilities.
"What I'm looking at is better than the data entry job. More money."
"Oh." I noted the audible click of my mother's mood change. "Be home for dinner tonight. Your father missed you last night. I'm cooking your favorite: salted duck egg congee. Don't be late."
My furniture delivery would need to be rescheduled to tomorrow. I snuffed the groan that was building in my throat. "I won't."
"Love you."
"Love you," I echoed.
An aborted sigh escaped my lips until my lungs were drained of air. I released my grip on my phone and lowered myself to the floor, gathering the scattered pieces of tattered latex: the remnants of the exploded balloon. As soon as I was done, my stomach finished its revolt and I headed for the bathroom.
They didn't know I was moving out. All of my possessions were still at my childhood home.
You couldn't choose your parents.
You had to cherish the ones you had.
They loved you and you loved them.
Without delays on the major highways, my parentΓ•s house was a thirty-five minute drive south to Scarborough. The snarls of Toronto traffic turned lanes into amusement park waiting lines regardless of the time of day. I came equipped with Abbey Road, Revolver, and Rubber Soul.
Where some people escaped into books or television, I drowned myself in music: the strings of George's guitar, the steadiness of Ringo's drum line, and the complementary vocals of Paul and John. Ringo and George were my favorites, but if I had to choose, I'd pick Ringo. His quiet personality called to me. I'd always been drawn to those whose talents dwarfed their egos.
Driving through the neighborhoods with their old shade trees, cozy parks, and dated plazas, I marveled at how much had changed, and yet how much remained as I remembered from childhood-the multigenerational families crammed inside two-bedroom homes stacked like bento boxes.
I arrived at my parents' two-story semidetached house ten minutes early for the seven o'clock deadline, but five minutes too late according to my mother's timer. The measure of time differed per person. A minute might mean sixty long, languid seconds for one, but for another, a heartbeat. The passage of time brought elation (when you were having fun) to some and misery (when you weren't) to others.
After emptying my pockets of candy, I assessed my reflection in the rearview mirror. In my house, tardiness was mistaken for laziness, and both were considered cardinal sins-ones I was condemned for.
I slammed shut the door of my ten-year-old Honda Civic and hustled inside. My mother and father were already waiting in the living room. After hanging up my jacket in the hall closet, removing my boots, and putting on house slippers, I greeted them with hugs and kisses on the cheek, sprinkled with profuse apologies.

Excerpted from Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim Copyright © 2022 by Roselle Lim. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Author

Roselle Lim was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada as a child. She lived in north Scarborough in a diverse, Asian neighbourhood.

She found her love of writing by listening to her lola (paternal grandmother's) stories about Filipino folktales. Growing up in a household where Chinese superstition mingled with Filipino Catholicism, she devoured books about mythology, which shaped the fantasies in her novels.
An artist by nature, she considers writing as "painting with words."

Find out more at http://www.rosellelim.com

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