Hello Sunshines! I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of this utterly beautiful and enchanting book; The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews with his the fourth and final book in the gorgeous Parish Orphans of Devon series. So prepare for waffle – I know whenever I have a Mimi Matthews book in hand I have to babble about it, I can’t help it though her writing is just exquisite – and settle back grab that cuppa and enjoy!
A winter reunion for the orphans brings romance for Neville Cross in Book 4 of Mimi Matthews’ USA Today bestselling Parish Orphans of Devon series
She Needed to be Seen…
As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.
He Wanted to be Heard…
Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.
During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?
To say I have been looking forward to this book is an understatement, the moment I read the very first book in this series I just knew that Neville needed his story and then his story was going to be an emotional one. Mimi Matthews is a master at heart-wrenching and thought-provoking stories, but, even I am stunned by just how beautiful this book is.
This is a truly magical, richly emotional and captivating love story, with two of the most complex and deserving characters that I have come across. I knew that Neville would take me on an emotional roller coaster ride and I was right, he brought all boundaries crashing down and made everyone love him for who he truly is and Clara is absolutely perfect for our strong and shy hero, I adore her caring, gentle and unwavering support and love of him. It makes the heart melt so much, I am a mess, this is perfection in every single way.
So for those who haven’t been hanging on to the every word of this beautiful series like I have, then let me re-cap; The Parish Orphan’s of Devon is a group of four friends who as you have guessed it are orphan’s, they all grew together and after an incident that changed their lives, especially that of our hero here; Neville they went their own ways. This is book four and as you may have guessed the one that myself and many, many other readers have been avidly waiting for. You can very easily read them as stand-a-lones, as each book is very much its own story centring around one of the orphan’s, personally though I would read them in order there is just something very special about this series that needs to read in order to fully see just how mesmerizing this is.
When Neville was a young parish orphan, along with his three best friends and practical brothers, a horrific accident happened which changed his life forever. It fractures their little band of brothers and leaves him with a disability, one of which he knows people see or hear before they even give him the chance. He finds talking with his friends hard enough, but at least they know him, he finds it near enough impossible to converse with others outside his little circle, much preferring the companionship of his animals.
It’s Christmas at Greyfriars Abbey, which those who have been following this series will know it is held by one of the orphans whom the whole series has been following; Justin and his lovely wife; Helena. He has brought his friends all together again after so many years apart to finally have their much deserved happily family Christmas together. With the guests, is lady’s companion; Clara Hartwright, who has no wish to be the centre of any attention, her only asperations in life is to study and to be an academic something which as we all know wasn’t conventional or even allowed during the era. Whilst there she meets silent, strong and complex Neville a huge man with a kind and caring soul who like her has a love for being in the background and a passion for animals.
Can you see why I love this man so much?
Aw, my darling Neville, he broke my heart, he mended it again, he made me sigh with joy and shed tears of happiness. He is easily one of the most thoughtful, inspiring and complexly gently creature that has ever walked out of Mimi Matthews brilliant mind. I adore her writing there is something very magical about the way she can capture every emotion in a single scene, honestly, this lady could write a phone book and make it enchanting, but I really fell in love with Neville, I think that he is easily the best hero Mimi has written – which feels a little traitorous saying an I have loved every single one of the Orphans, yet this man just caught my heart and even now refuses to relinquish it.
I love that Clara unlike so many others sees past his disability and really sees the true and gentle man beneath, it breaks my heart sees those moments when Neville really struggles with his speech and how others perceive him to be, they judge him to be simple and feeble-minded instead of getting to know him and this is another reason I like Clara so much she is kind, caring and patient she knows better than to judge on sight. This is another reason why they are so perfect for each other. Mimi Matthews really has out written herself with Clara and Neville.
Their romance isn’t a boom and it’s over, it’s slow and but the emotion and the atmosphere shimmers, I really love that they do become friends before anything else they get to know each other and that builds up into something more.
What I absolutely loved about this series, especially with the first book is that Neville is the soothing balm in the midst of three very different personalities in the form of his friends and fell orphans; Justine, Tom and Alex, I totally see him as the glue that holds their little group together even if at times through heir lives there has been difficulties and incivility towards one and other, they all have their love for Neville that brings them once again together. I really loved seeing them all in this and how at ease they all are now they have all found happiness and contentment its a beautiful piece of writing and some of Mimi’s very best.
I really must mention the vivid Victorian detail that is in itself a story, Mimi’s skill at capturing every single scene so well that it is like looking down a lens into their world, every aspect of Victorian life is beautifully portrayed, the way they live whether that be the wealthy of the more, the simple rustle of the ladies skirts, the weather, the scents, the sights the feel of fabric, how the house is decorated and even the atmosphere when certain characters are in the room together, not a single thing is missed and it draws the reader into the flawless and sensual world that Mimi has built around her characters. You just feel Mimi’s passion for the era, her absolute love of this period in time is reflected in each word she writes.
Yet again Mimi Matthews has created the most enchanting true love story, she has once again proved that she is the queen of the emotional, tender and magical historical romance.
This was an Arc copy via the author which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Mimi and massive apologies for how ridiculously late this review is. xx