Hello my lovelies, I am so, so excited to be sharing my review of this beautiful book with you all, I am a absolute huge fan of Mimi Matthews, but this is something very special indeed, so grab a cuppa take a seat, try and ignore my babbling and enjoy.
Matthews is a bright, shining star in historical romance…” -Austenprose
An Uncommon Beauty…
Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.
An Unlikely Hero…
Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.
Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?
Well, I am lost for words (I’m sure some will think that a blessing) but really, I am struggling to express just how magical this book is. Everyone knows how much I adore Mimi Matthews work, I have so much respect for her as a writer and I always get a thrill whenever I open another of her books. Each time I read one of her stories I am always blown away, I read her work and as I do, I keep thinking; how can she possibly top what is the peak of perfection and then what happens? Boom; I am once again blown away by her words, if there was ever a title that was perfect for a book, because this is a work of art in its own right. I honestly think that this is the very best I have read by Ms Matthews – which feels a but traitorous towards her other work.
After the death of her grandfather, Phyllida (Philly) must leave her home to live with family which are practical strangers to her, her only companions are her own pack of dogs, which she refuses to leave behind. Unfortunately, she soon realises that now her life isn’t her own she is lonely and unhappy, she thinks that her uncle Edgar has took her to London to find a suitable match. How wrong she is! Because of her uniqueness her uncle has one man in mind for her; the mysterious and notorious, Duke of Moreland, a man who collects all rare and unique things whether that be art work, dogs or people. Her uncle is a despicable human being, he thinks it’s OK to ‘sell’ Philly to the Duke, even though she has been sheltered, she has always done as she is told, she has always been obliging to others; you could say that she is a little naïve to the world, even she knows that marrying the Duke is the very last thing that she should do.
Enter her hero, in not so shining armour, who comes limping in to rescue her; Captain Arthur Heywood, has recently returned wounded from the war, up until now he has always stayed away from society, away from the scathing remarks and backstabbing ton, but Arthur has business in town, with her uncle that he cannot escape from, which is wen he meets the shy, and monopolized; Philly. He is instantly taken with her, as a friend she was kind to him when others treated him like a leper, in her innocent and very subtle way she showed him that there is goodness in this life and not just the darkness that engulfs him at times. On hearing that his little friend is to be more or less forced into marrying the Duke, a man Arthur has heard some terrible things about, he doesn’t the gentlemanly thing and offers marriage.
Alas, their nasty marriage and fleeing London to his estate, doesn’t go down well with others and as you can expect they soon they find that they have danger hanging over their heads, Arthur is determined to protect his new wife at whatever the cost.
I loved Philly and Arthur the moment we meet them, she is a quiet, caring and loyal young woman who just wants to be able to live happily with her dogs, she isn’t made for the ton she is far more at home in the country being able to run free, I can so relate to Philly she has a gentle soul, but I sensed that she had a strength hidden away and that really shines through in those moments when she is quietly encouraging Arthur, when subtly helps him and the way she stand firm beside him.
What struck me most about Philly and Arthur’s romance was that even though their was ‘marriage of convenience’ they started out as genuine friends, they saw something of themselves into the other and that drew them together, it’s a relationship that isn’t all heart-pounding lust, their blossoming romance is formed on a mutual friendship, they learn about each other and as they start to delve into their own feelings and how their marriage could be, so do we readers, we all go on this journey together and I think that is so skilfully and beautifully done, it really brings the reader into the story and into the character’s lives, I really love how this is written.
Honestly thought this book is amazing; what appears to be a very simplistic regency romance about a young woman who needs rescuing and the wounded war hero appears offering the protection of his name; turns out to be far more then the stereotypical marriage of convenience. With a brilliantly vile baddie, manipulative family, tortured war nightmares and an unexpected twist that makes you go; “What? I didn’t see that coming”, The Work of Art is a marvel of regency romance writing.
I have to say that this is a masterpiece of character writing, each one are brilliantly created, whether that be the sweet and loving Philly and Arthur, the arrogantly horrible; Moreland and Edgar and the cackling banshees that are Elizabeth and Lady Elliott – who really can give the evil Duke a run for his money at being a sadist. But really it is the connection and blossoming romance between Arthur and Philly that keep you hooked and turning the pages, they are an adorable, shy, realistic couple.
Overall a charming, beautifully written, character driven romance, with a dash of intrigue, I cannot recommend this more, it is utterly perfect. I love it, absolutely utterly love it!
This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Mimi and apologies the late review. x
The Work of Art is to be released on 23 July and can be pre-ordered at Amazon and I do say go and order it.