A Proud Beauty

Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood…until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life—and her former love.

A Scarred Beast

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited—and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

An Unexpected Reunion

A week together in the isolated Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

My View

My, oh, my! This is absolutely remarkable!

Everyone who has read my reviews before will know how much I love my heroes to be trouble and vulnerable and wanting a strong women to help them back to happiness and this is just that, this is truly breath-taking and I loved every single moment of it, and I will apologize now if I start rambling on, but this is really something special and I have so much I want to say about it.

I have read a lot of Mimi Matthews’ blog posts and I have always hugely enjoyed them but this is the first book I have read from her. I knew before I opened it that it would be really rich in detail because Mathews has this undeniable skill for writing articles with atmospheric and Historical accuracy, but I like to start a book with a clean slate as though this is the first time I have read this author. But even though I knew what an amazingly talented lady she is, this blew me away.

“How dear you were to me,” she murmured.
A deep tremor went through Sebastian’s body. He bowed his head, eyes closing as he drank in her words like a man too long deprived of water.
“I am going to kiss you now,” she told him. There was a distinct quaver in her voice. “Just here.” She leaned forward and pressed her lips to the scar on his cheekbone.
Sebastian exhaled a shuddering breath.
“And here,” she whispered, kissing the corner of his blind eye. “And here, too, I think.” Her lips brushed the ragged edge of his ear….

Sylvia fell in love the devilishly handsome, Sebastian Conrad younger son of the Powerful Earl of Radcliffe, on the eve of Sebastian going off to war Sylvia and Sebastian share a beautiful moment together as they say good-bye. They share a longing kiss and being the mischievous Rogue he is, he hr for a token to take into war with him.

After granting his request she watches as he walks away never to be seen again, she sits down every week sometimes more than once, two, three times she writes to him and – nothing! She hears not a word from him, no reply no goodbye not even when her father commits suicide and she is ostracized from society destined for destitution she hears nothing from the man she thought she loved.

Because of what her father did. Gambling away until they had nothing left then killing himself leaving her to face the world and their scorn on her own forcing her to remove herself from society and do the only thing she can to keep her had above water and that is to take on a position as a governess.

Years later a stranger turns up at her employer’s home, she lives and states that she is the sister of one Sebastian Conrad, Earl of Radcliffe and that her brother had come back from the war a very changed man. He is severely wounded, physically and psychologically, she is worried About her big brother, since his returning home taking on the title after their father and elder brother died and having to deal with his own state she worries that he may do something stupid and the only thing keeping him m not doing that is a certain keepsake that she gave him all those years before.

Does she dare go to him and do ad his sister asks, and try to bring him back to the land of the living before it’s too late? And more importantly can she do it?

Sylvia is a charming woman who has gone through a lot, with her heart-break over Sebastian, her father’s gambling and suicide and being cast out of society then having to take up a position as a governess. She has sealed her heart off from further hurt, and buried her memories to the back of her mind in an attempt to forget and move on with her life, but behind that stern and un-emotive facade she is a resilient, free thinking and kind woman, who loves deeply.

“Have other gentlemen made such a request?”
“Yes.”
“And have you…?”
“No,” she had said. “You are the first.” And then she had carefully removed one of the pale blue silk ribbons from her gown and given it to him to bind up the freshly cut tresses. “What will you do with it?” she had asked him afterward.
“Keep it close to my heart,” he had replied gravely. “And whenever I despair of coming home again, I shall take it out and look at it. And I shall think of you.”

Sebastian is living in a constant hell, he is blind in one eye, unable to drink properly because of the sever scarring down his face, he is plagued with head aches and nightmares and he lost the will to go on a long time ago. He is constantly monitored by his sister and her husband – who quite frankly he would happily throttle and throw his lifeless corpse in a ditch but he resists for his sister.

Sebastian shouldn’t be the earl, his father was and his eldest brother was groomed for the job but Sebastian being the younger son his destiny was the army. He was never happier than following the from, having day-to-day life set out with discipline and routine. He was free to do what he was good at, and he was a good cavalry officer and what he enjoyed. He hated the killing at seeing all those wasted life strewn over the battle field but he loved the life of a soldier – until an enemy Saber blinded and ruined him for ever.

The one thing that kept his going first through the horrors of the battle field and then through his daily hell was his talisman he carried around in his pocket the thing that brought him so much joy through so much pain and with that he thought of her and how much he did love her and how she broke his heart when he never heard from her again.

Since the moment he walked away from her on that night in the garden he hadn’t heard from her, no letters no nothing and now all these years later he finds out that his sister had brought her to his house to do what, exactly? …Torture him some more, perhaps?

I adore Sebastian, he is the epitome of vulnerability he truly believes he is a beast and can’t be ever seen again, he has locked himself off from the world and now is only seen by his valet and his sister. He would rather be left alone, to wallow in self-pity which he has become very good at since coming back from the war. That is until he sets eyes on Sylvia again!

Sebastian is in his own way hugely charming, once you get past that the growling and his constant look of wanting to throttle someone. He is a loving but lonely man who has been through Hel and back and just wants a quite life, away from staring eyes.

And then he froze.
The door to his room stood open. Julia was striding toward him, Milsom standing by the door with a helpless look on his face.
And in the hall, her wide, blue eyes meeting his from across the distance, was Sylvia Stafford.
Sebastian felt, all at once, as if all the breath had been knocked out of his body.
He would know her face anywhere…..

They both soon realise that the other isn’t what they expected, they have both gone through so much and they are both changed from the people they used to be. But the longing and built up tension between them is palpable and the old gut wrenching sexual chemistry is still there hidden behind two veils that have been pulled down to protect each of their hearts.

Can either of them trust the other? After all both of them have gone through the years thinking the other had intentionally turned their backs, which is as far from the truth as can be. But can they believe the other? And more importantly what did happen to those letters that Sylvia had been writing?

This s right up there with the best books I have read this year, the plot is gorgeously written. The simplicity of the story is what gives it real back bone, there isn’t twists turns at every corner so you lose track of the initial story. The Lost Letter is a beautiful, romantic and emotionally shattering, as the writing is so well-defined that you feel every emotion and I just love it to bits.

For me this is one of those books that you keep on the bookshelf for ever, you will read and re-read it and you will never tire of Sylvia and Sebastian’s love story.

Flawless!

I really cannot recommend this enough, every person has to read this, The Lost Letter is Released on 19th September and can be found at Amazon.

This was an ARC copy from the Author in exchange for an honest review.

5 thoughts on “Review – The Lost Letter; A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

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