Mimi Matthews

#Review : A Holiday by Gaslight (A Victorian Christmas Novella) by Mimi Mathews (@MimiMatthewsEsq)

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A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.  

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her former beau isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time, there’ll be no false formality. This time, they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

My View

My goodness, yet again I am blown away with the excellence that is Ms Mimi Matthews. I am a huge fan of her work – In fact, I have said that very sentence so many times, I’m sure that Mimi and everyone reading my reviews must be sick of hearing it, but I don’t care I am still going to shout it from the rooftops just how much I admire this fine lady’s work.

A Holiday By Gaslight is a wonderfully seasonal novella that will definitly leave the reader feeling all warm and Christmassy, set during the Victorian era – which I do have to say, that Ms Matthews is the best there is when comes to this era – and it is full of seasonal joy and atmosphere, the historic detail is as always flawlessly described, it is literally like waking up in this era and joining Sophie and Ned at the Christmas house party.

With the her family facing financial ruin, mainly due to her selfish and inconsiderate father and her brattish sister, Sophie Appersett knows that with no dowry she will most likely have to marry below her station and quickly to bring in the much needed funds her family need especially if they are to carry on living in the land of luxury that they are accustomed to. Walk on stage Edward Sharpe, the handsome, brooding and monosyllabic working class, mill owner and merchant. A man who her class cannot abide because of his humble roots yet will go out of their way to grasp hold of his hard earned cash.

After two month courting, Sophie breaks it off with Ned. She thinks him gruff and silent, in their brief courtship she cannot bare he thought of marrying such a silent man, a man she doesn’t know and who refuses to talk to her. Ned is far from what Sophie thinks him to be, he is silent because he is following what a rather stupid book on society rules says, instead of being himself. They meet again during her parent’s annual Christmas house party, which is when she begins to see what we all see, that he is a wonderfully thoughtful and fascinating man and Ned too sees that she isn’t like the rest of society she doesn’t see him as just a walking bank balance, she is kind and generous and very loving and open.

I have to say that I do love the scene where Ned tell Sophie that he will get a kiss from her, it is such a fun scene and really shows Ned’s witty and fun loving side and shows that he is much more that the incredibly shy with women, brooding yet amazingly intelligent and hard-working man he is, especially when he says he will kiss anywhere either under the mistletoe or under the stairs, I love that!

This is magical, it beautifully entwines a gorgeous Victorian Christmas, social prejudices of the era and the most marvellously different cast of character’s that you would ever want I a historical romance. Each character brings their own personalities to the story, that gives it that realism that I love, Sophie’s sister Emily was a little irritating brat and Mr Murry, well he is a real rakish charmer. I love that the driving force of this is Ned and Sophie not just over coming their own misunderstanding towards one and other, but also attempting to bring their two completely different worlds together to have a harmonious and unforgeable Christmas.

Yet again, Ms Matthews has created another wonderfully charming and vividly rich romance, that will have the readers swooning with absolute delight.

Perfect!

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

A Holiday by Gaslight is to be released on 13 November and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

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Review : A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty by Mimi Matthews

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What did a Victorian lady wear for a walk in the park? How did she style her hair for an evening at the theatre? And what products might she have used to soothe a sunburn or treat an unsightly blemish? Mimi Matthews answers these questions and more as she takes readers on a decade-by-decade journey through Victorian fashion and beauty history.

Women’s clothing changed dramatically during the course of the Victorian era. Necklines rose, waistlines dropped, and Gothic severity gave way to flounces, frills, and an abundance of trimmings. Sleeves ballooned up and skirts billowed out. The crinoline morphed into the bustle and steam-moulded corsets cinched women’s waists ever tighter.

As fashion was evolving, so too were trends in ladies’ hair care and cosmetics. An era which began by prizing natural, barefaced beauty ended with women purchasing lip and cheek rouge, false hairpieces and pomades, and fashionable perfumes made with expensive spice oils and animal essences.

Using research from nineteenth century beauty books, fashion magazines, and lady’s journals, Mimi Matthews brings the intricacies of a Victorian lady’s toilette into modern day focus. In the process, she gives readers a glimpse of the social issues that influenced women’s clothing and the societal outrage that was an all too frequent response to those bold females who used fashion and beauty as a means of asserting their individuality and independence.

My View

Well this is wonderful, I am a huge fan of Mimi Matthews work, whether that be her beautifully poignant romances, or her well researched factual pieces, like this. I will admit that as soon as I heard about A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, I was fascinated by it and I was jumping about for pure joy when I got the opportunity to review it.

This is the perfect reference book for those interested in Victorian fashion and beauty, set out in different sections throughout the book it covers every aspect of what a Victorian lady would have worn and her beauty regime from 1840 to 1890. Ms Matthews covered everything you would ever want to know about, from under-garments, day/evening wear and shoes to cleansing soaps, hair removal and hair styling.

Every aspect of a ladies, day when they change, and why is written in clear and precise detail from which piece of clothing they would wear for what occasion, who would be able to wear what. Ms Matthews has even covered the fabric and colours that would have been used. And I do have to say that, I love how very gothic the Victorian era was in their clothing.

My favourite part is the Victorian Beauty chapter, I always knew that their cosmetics were at times perilous for the health. Some of what they used to do, to keep that perfect porcelain complexion is mind blowing plus quite bizarre and worry-some that Victorian ladies were so obsessed that they were happy to put quick lime on their faces and even use electricity to combat some normal issues.

This is such a great read, brilliantly researched and fabulously engrossing. I love how much detail Ms Matthews has added to each part, her passion for the era is obvious and another thing I love is how she has sprinkled the whole book with passages and extracts from genuine articles and periodicals from the time.

I cannot recommend this enough, for anyone who loves their fashion history and Victorian’s then this is a must read.

This was a ARC/Complimentary copy from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.

Review – The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon #1) by Mimi Matthews

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She Wanted Sanctuary…

Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.

He Needed Redemption…

Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.

Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?

My View

Oh, my word! I don’t have enough words to say how unbelievably incredible this book is. I literally started this book and devoured it in one go, that first page hooked me right up until the last very last word. I am a huge fan of Ms Matthews, her writing is always flawless and articulate, but this simply is in a league of its own.

The Matrimonial Advertisement is book one in this new series; Parish Orphans of Devon, what a marvellous way to be introduced to this series. Judging by this, this series is going to be a cracking good one and I am now waiting with baited breath for the next instalment. I really am very impatient. 😊

Lady Helena Reynolds is running away from London, running away from something worse than death. She answers a Matrimonial Advertisement in the paper, gets on a train and travels to Devon to marry a man she has never met. She is desperate, this really is the only way she can protect herself. The man himself and her soon to be home isn’t exactly what she expected, he isn’t exactly the knight on a white horse with a fairy tale castle on a hill, he is just as vulnerable and tormented as her.

Helena is a scared, desperate young woman who is facing something that no woman should have to face. She has been treated absolutely abysmally by her powerful uncle and his cronies and now she is running not just her life, but her sanity. My heart bleeds for Helena, especially when all she wants out of her marriage is for Justin to be kind to her, she is a good person who has been through so much. Ms Matthews has created an incredible young woman, her fear and desperation is palpable in every scene she is in. Yet deep down there is a strong woman who just wants to be free of her fear, she wants to be happy. Justin is the perfect man for her, he is protective to a fault, kind and honourable, he opens her eyes to exactly the kind of woman she wishes to be.

Self-made man and Ex-military Captain; Justin Thornhill is reluctantly in search of a wife, not something he is looking forward to. But as his man-of-business took it upon himself to put an advertisement in the paper for a bride, he knows that if he is ever going to gain the trust and civility of the villager’s instead of constant disdain towards him, he needs a wife to help him. He expects an older stern woman who will be able to manage a house and servants, what he doesn’t expect is a young beautiful woman, who is terrified and secretive.

Oh, my goodness! What a man Justin is, he is a brilliantly good man. Always putting others first, he never thinks of himself and when he does it is only to think of what a horrible man he is – which is a complete lie. He think’s himself to be too much of a monster for anyone to love, especially the likes of fragile Helena. But, he is an incredible, brilliantly handsome, tormented kind man who is highly protective to those he loves, ruthless in business and principled.

Both go into this ‘Marriage of Convenience’ with one purpose in mind, that this arrangement will benefit them both, him for the wife that he clearly needs and her for the protection she desperately needs. As each of their personal secrets are revealed, they soon learn that this arrangement is something more than either of them had expected. I love how they start bonding and getting to know each other over the likes of Charles Dickens, it brings a great realism to their relationship.

This isn’t just a tender and loving romance as there are some very sensitive and difficult subjects that are a vital part of the whole story. Such as asylums and the Indian revolutions, these are tough and heartbreaking subjects and the scenes are full of angst and emotion. When Justin and Helena finally reveal their past’s, which involve those subjects those scenes are raw and heart-wrenching. Ms Matthews has done an astounding job at covering these hard and difficult subject’s, and she has conveyed the subject with realism and respectful clarity.

Anyone who has read my reviews, will know how much I love this lady’s work. I am a massive fan of Mimi Matthews she is my go to author for anything Victorian, her brilliantly composed and stylish writing engages and entrances. ‘The Matrimonial Advertisement’ is a lot darker that what we have come to expect from Ms Matthews, but for me this is Gothic Victorian story-telling at its best. This is how this genre is supposed to be written!

The plot is solid and fresh it takes you on a journey that will have you reaching for the tissues, I can guarantee that you will be weeping like a baby. The characters are astounding, they develop throughout the story in a natural and wonderful way, not just as people but as their romance blossoms so beautifully. Ms Matthews has out done herself with this, by far one of the best books I have read -ever! I cannot wait to see what comes next in the series, I am hoping that Justin’s best friends and fellow orphans; adorable Neville and Cunning Tom get a story.

This is a hauntingly beautiful, gripping and heart-wrenching story.

It is simply spellbinding!

This was a ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Matrimonial Advertisement is to be released on 4th September and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Best Books of The Year, 2017

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It’s that time of year again where I look back through the year and pick out my favourite books that I have featured on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals, it has been especially hard this time to pick my favourite’s as this year has been full of the most amazing books you can imagine. I have found new author’s that are now go to authors for their genre, new style books and series’ it has been an amazing year of reading. I have ditched my usual formula of best Hero/Heroine/Plot but I have still got a book of the Year – right at the bottom of the post. There are others books that I have loved this year, but if I kept adding books it would end up being my top 50 – I have already added more then I intended, as I only intended on doing my top ten, but there were some books that I couldn’t possibly leave off.  So, in no particular order here are my favourite Books of 2017 followed by my Book of the Year!

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14 Best Books of the Year; 2017

Echo in the Wind by Regan Walker

Echo in the Wind is a beautifully written story, its thrilling and exciting but yet the love story is so tender. Jeán Donèt really steals every scene he is featured in. He is a hero who can make any woman swoon with just a smouldering look, he is an enigmatic and suave individual who has a breath-taking Gaelic confidence and charisma. A heroine, who is not a wilting wallflower she is a vibrant and strong-willed, independent woman who has her own beliefs and views on the world and she isn’t afraid of voicing them. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with, but they compliment each other too. There isn’t anything about this that I don’t like!

The Viking Warriors Bride by Harper St George

This is so sexually charged, the chemistry between Vidar and Gwendolyn is red hot, any hotter and your eyes would smoke with just reading it, they are made of the same stuff. I love when they start getting to know each other, there is a real spark between them and the respect he shows her is sweet and uplifting. As always the writing is strong and articulated as we have come to expect from St. George. When I read an historical I like the historic detailing within the story and St George doesn’t disappoint, she has got it all spot on, everything is crystalized and explained to a high degree from the smells of our characters to the actual Viking marriage ceremony – which I found absolutely enchanting, the trading of the swords is a beautiful ritual.

Angel Comes to the Devils Keep by Regina Jeffers

This is highly enjoyable read, the romance between Angelica and Hunt simmers and sizzles nicely, Ms Jeffers has done a lovely job at building up their relationship from when Hunt gets injured right to the end, you never know in which direction their story is going to take as there is so much that stands in their way. Yet, that connection that they share, that Hunt has especially, is tender and loving and at times you are just as agonised as he is. I really like how Jeffers has mixes a romance novel with a murder, kidnapping an espionage thriller, I found it exciting, romantic and one that I highly recommend.

The Unexpected Countess by Laurie Benson

This is great read, there is the perfect amount of romance and adventure with a huge, fabulous twist that is so unexpected. The Unexpected Countess is a huge success, a thrilling jaunt with an original plot. It is just so good! Benson has really out done herself with Hart and Sarah she has done such a great job with them, especially Hart who is a seriously great man to get to know I like Benson’s work her fun and charming personality just oozes off the page. But what I particularly like about her writing is that you get a real feeling of a writer who loves what she does, she puts her heart and soul into her work, her warmth is so palpable, her work is comforting as well as thrilling which I find so rare.

The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews

Now I loved this book, I do 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, 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.

Besieged and Betrothed by Jenni Fletcher

What a terrific read, I will apologise for the amount of gushing I will most likely be doing about this book, but I have so much to say about it. Jenni Fletcher has real out done herself with this, it is such a compelling and highly charged romance that grips you from that very first page where our bulking, tank of a hero spots the fiery haired, tomboy on the battlements. I was literally hooked, and I was eager to finish and yet when I did turn the last page it was a sobering moment as that was it, done. I could’ve read this again as soon as I had finished. It’s fun, witty and at times heart-breaking, and fabulously engrossing. I just love it.

The Lions Embrace by Marie Laval

The Lions Embrace follows on from Angel Heart in the last book we met Marie-Ange and Hugo Saintclair who are the parents of our hero in this one; Lucas Saintclair and oh, my word what a man! He is simply delectable! Lava’s talent at entwining history of area and the cultures and languages, with a thrilling game of cat and mouse plus the tantalizing love story is faultless. She sprinkles The Lions Embrace with her customary Gaelic charm and she enhances your reading with detailing the sights, aromas and culture of each area we visit during the book and it enhances the reading experience. You become transported to this hot, dusty and dangerous place and it is utterly exhilarating.

 The Knights Scarred Maiden by Nicole Locke

I love this, this is absolutely superb! It sticks with you and gets under your skin, but in a very good way you become absorbed in their dark and dangerous world. I have read Historical Romances​ that has stuck with me long after finishing the book, but this is right up there with some of the best books I have read. It’s beautiful, heart wrenching and you get tingles while reading it. I do genuinely love this book, the plot is fast, complex and thrilling. Rhain and Helissent take you on this sensual, nerve wrecking journey as they find their feet and try to survive and move on with their lives.

The Last Gamble by Anabelle Bryant

This is the third instalment of “The Bastards of London Series” and I do think this is the best one yet. I have been really looking forward to reading this one, after meeting the dark and shadowy Luke Reece in the previous book’s he intrigued me. I wanted to know his story, his past and what in the hell his happening with his lost son and Bryant doesn’t disappoint. This series caught my attention from day one and it’s gone from strength to strength, Bryant has yet again created an entertaining, thrilling and sensuously attractive story. The thing that does set this one apart from the others has to be Luke, we have had snippets of this shadowy man’s turmoil in the previous two books “The Den of Iniquity” and “Into The Hall of Vice” and to finally get to see his story unfold and see his Happy Ever After is very satisfying

No Rest for the Wicked by Cora Lee

No Rest For The Wicked is apart of the “Heart of a Hero” series and it is a series I am looking forward to reading more of. The chemistry between out estranged couple is heated, the tension just ripples as well as the distrust for each other. This is fast, fun and exciting a fabulous read. I do really like this, it is smart, sexy and so well written but the more than that it makes you think. It is really lovely watching as these two get to know each other all over again and as their defences lower and they get closer and closer. They are both very reluctant to reveal their hearts, so it’s quite sweet when they finally do.

lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress by Lara Temple

This is book one in this new series; The Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies Series by the highly talented Lara Temple, and one that I have been looking forward to reading. But nothing prepared me for the huge emotion that surges through you as you read it. I know that Temple has said that this series is her baby, this is a personal story for her and you can really understand as you are reading it just how much of herself she has put into this. I have always liked her work but this really resonates with me, this touched a cord with me more than any other book I have read before, you can feel Temple’s heart and soul running through this, it is very emotional and it packs a real punch and it stays with you long after the last page.

The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon & Willow Winsham

On first meeting their highway men our ladies fall for their irresistable and roguish charm in a heartbeat, not unsurprising really! They are saved and taken to an inn where they meet the cheeky, charming Innkeeper Ed Hogan and the shy, gentlemanly Doctor James Dillingham. There is something irresistable and provoking about these two handsome Scotsmen, not to mention something very familiar, could it be that Alice and Beth may have met these two rogues before? I love this, the chemistry between both our couples is rich and sensual and very sexy, like all Historical Romance fan’s I do particularly like a good rogue and The Crown spire doesn’t disappoint, in fact we are spoilt as there are two highway men to get to know and adore. It’s going into the super market and getting a two for one deal. Curzon and Winsham have created two strong and charming heroes, that you are bound to fall for.

A Warriner to Rescue Her by Virginia Heath

Move over Heathcliffe there is a new gruff, monosyllabic, tormented hero in town in the form of Captain Jamie Warriner. Oh my word! I was warned I would love him and he has more than lived up to the hype, he really is something special. He is a proud man who after serving his country with courage facing down more horrors than any man should face he is back and he is in pain, not just physically but he is trying adjust to civilian life but like a lot of soldiers today poor Jamie is struggling. I was drawn to him the moment I met him in the previous book “A Warriner to Protect her” there is just something about this gruff but hugely sensitive man, that draws you in. Yes, he may be as stubborn as an OX – as well as built like one – but he has a good and kind heart, who needs a little love.
Proof of Virtue by Leila Snow

Ms Snow is was a new to me author and I can say this is simply stunning, there is pure and honest anguish which oozes of the page, It’s raw and immensely real to the era and really shows what life in the Victorian era was like for regular, working-class people. It’s so realistic, it’s like you are in the work house and mill alongside Emma, and you are experiencing her turmoil and suffering. It is gloriously detailed and graphic, some may think that for a historical romance it is too graphic of their suffering, but for me that is what makes an historical. This is how they should be, it has real meat on the bone. I can absolutely say for certain that Ms Snow is going to go very far in this genre, her way with language and fact is mesmerizing. If you’re like me and you like grittier, brutally honest and very real historical where the romance is hard fought for genuinely deserved, than this is the book for you.

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So Chicks, Rogues and Scandals all time Book of the Year, 2017 is…

The Captains Disgraced Lady by Catherine Tinley

Tinley has captured the mixed emotions of Waterloo war is mesmerizing. You feel the sadness and despondency of the men and the civilians. Those chapters that cover the battle are superb, the detailing of what was going on and how everyone was coping and the actual battle scenes where Harry is in hand to hand combat is brutal and engrossing. This is atmospheric and so beautifully written and from reading this, I do think Tinley has a gift for capturing those little nuances in human thought and feeling and placing on the page. I had been looking forward to this story and it was so much more than I expected, you’ve probably guessed by my gushing how much I love this book and that I cannot recommend this enough, this is a must read! If you like your charming yet fragile heroes, feisty independent heroines all brought together with a stonking good plot and tied off with some beautiful romantic scenes and moments then this is the book for you.

So there you have my favourite books of 2017, have you read any of them and if so what you think? I’d love to know what your favourite’s have been from the past year.

Review – The Viscount and The Vicars Daughter; A Victorian Romance by Mimi Mattnews

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England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

A WORLD-WEARY RAKE
After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans—and threatens his heart.

A PRIM VICAR’S DAUGHTER
Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future—a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL
A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?


Let me start by saying what an unbelievably great book, it is rich and emotional and for me definitely what I have now come to expect from Ms Matthews. The Viscount and the Vicars daughter is very different from other historical romances it does go along the lines of marriage of convenience but the difference if that Tristan genuinely does love Valentine very much, and he wants to do what is right by her – after what happened, even with so much going against them not just society and his father and his lack of funds after his after cuts him off but also his black reputation. To see his transformation from the cynical and harsh rake to the loving and protective man right before your eyes is refreshing and appealing and hugely enjoyable.

The story opens as Tristan Sinclair; Viscount St Ashton is making his way to the Fairbanks house party, which is a notoriously scandalous event that only the blackest of reputations from society attend. He isn’t attending because he want’s to, he’s there because he has been summoned by his father; the Earl of Lynden who figures this is the best chance to have ‘the chat’ with his wayward son and heir. Tristan cannot think of any thing worse than having to listen to his father lectures about him settling down and stopping his rakish behaviour, or maybe his sire will do what he is always threatening and cut him off? Anyway, while trying to waste time before he must face his father’s wrath he stumbles across a woman in the woods, a chance meeting that will change his life forever.

“….But kissing you…” His expression warmed. “Valentine, I wanted to kiss you in the folly— when I was wet, irritable, and cold sober.” He paused. “I want to kiss you now.”

After the death of her father, vicars daughter Valentine March has had no choice but to go into service she is the companion of the most selfish and manipulative women ever, really tis woman and her daughter are horrendous they are so selfish and vain that they have their staff especially the woman dress in the same uniform of spectacles and black sack of a dress just so that they don’t over shadow precious felicity – really that would be the end of the world – she is upset after spoilt Felicity Brightwell has more or less destroyed the only thing she had of her late mother, the nasty little madam in a fit of temper had burnt Valentines’ mothers bible. It is while in the woods at her lowest that she meets the most handsome man that she has ever met – a meeting that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

From that one chance meeting in the woods both their lives turn up-side-down forever, as on the first night of the house party Tristan is told in no uncertain terms that is has to either do his duty and move to their ancestral estate in Northumberland or he be cut off starting with immediate effect and Valentine goes back to her job as companion/slave to Lady Brightwell, but both have of them have been affected by their chance meeting. Valentine as much as she distrusts the rakish and sinful Tristan she cannot get the sinner out of her mind, for a few moment’s he wasn’t the scoundrel that everyone thought his to be but he was kind and caring and so different to what she expected the Lord of St. Ashton to be. Tristen has met his fair share of women and every one of them have fallen to their knees at his charm, and yet the prim and virtuous Valentine March is so different she isn’t at all what usually takes his attention yet all he can do is think about her. For the first time in his life he is concerned for someone else bar himself, his protective instincts are on high alert whenever she is around, especially being at this scandalous and debaucherously sinful party.

“You’re slipping away from me. I can see it. I can feel it happening, but I don’t know how in the devil I’m supposed to stop it.”
“I’m not slipping away from anyone. I’m right here.”

Tristan can’t seem to help himself, but he wants to help her, when he returns some items to her that she left in the woods after they had met, they share a moment which turns into something more only for them to be discovered by the whole house. Valentine is dismissed from her post as companion and Tristan knows that there is only one way for this scandal to disappear – him and Valentine must marry!

Let us just say that valentine is shocked by this turn of events, after her own nearly scandalous episode in her past she has become weary and cynical of all men – especially those silver-tongued charmer’s such as the Viscount, but this one moment of pure joy has been her downfall and if she doesn’t accept his proposal she may become destitute. Tristan even though he had no intention of marrying yet again can not explain his addiction to this woman, she sets him on fire whenever she is close. He finds that in that moment when they are both backed into a corner he can’t think of anything better than marrying her, he wants her, and Tristan will do anything in his power to have her.

Everyone, which is including Tristan’s father; the Earl is adamant that Valentine will be ruined because Tristan is the worst rake ever, he is known to never keep his promises and that he is too wild to ever settle down – especially with the likes of a lowly vicar’s daughter with a secretive past. The moment that they become engaged you are willing them on, you are wanting them to finally find the happiness that they both deserve. I felt so very sorry for Tristan because of his wild youth he has been stuck with this label that he can’t seem to ditch. I really do like Tristan, he is a powerful force, not just the fact that he is a Viscount that has nothing to do with it, he is charismatic, dynamic with a very well hidden and very rarely seen good heart and any woman that he sets those genuine smiles on are exceedingly privileged because they are rare and beautiful.

“I’ve put my faith in you, sir. And I have precious little faith left to spare. Don’t you dare let me down, Tristan. Don’t you dare break my heart.” Tristan stared down at her, stunned.
“Do I have your heart, Valentine?” Her mouth trembled.
“I’m very much afraid that you do.

The relationship between Valentine and Tristan is honest and pure, he never lies or misuses her, he is kind, unlike his reputation he acts like the true gentleman around her something which has very rarely happened to Valentine. She has never been treated as though she is special or like a proper lady before in her life, in all honesty when her mother died her father the vicar was very harsh with his grieving daughter and so she hasn’t experienced true kindness so obviously she is suspicious of Tristan’s motives. I love how from the moment of meeting Valentine, Tristen knows that this woman is exceptionally special and that she is just what is fractured and blackened heart needs – he knows she is the one immediately, he doesn’t fight how he feels for her the biggest obstacle in their way is her independent and cynical nature.

The Brightwell’s are the most horrid and spiteful women you have ever met, as much as Lady Brightwell irritated the hell out of me with her constant simpering and ‘poor me’ routine the crown for the most self-centred, manipulative and spiteful woman must go to her daughter; Felicity – who being the jewel in the aristocracy’s crown but, she is as unpleasant as you can get. I view her as more of an acid tongued viper, just waiting to strike and I think that Matthews has got their character’s and personalities just spot on, they are both awful self-centred women, yet they have such a prominent role in the book and without them Valentine and Tristan wouldn’t be the adorable couple that we come to know.

I do really like this one, as we have come to expect from Ms Matthews we are transported the fascinating Victorian era, and I do really like this era it is full of promise of what is to come and also darkness of what is happening and amongst the grim reality we have wonderful stories like this one. The Viscount and the Vicars Daughter is hugely romantic, fabulously written and researched, it teases the senses and makes you wonder and surprisingly all the romance comes from Tristan. He surprises you as you get to know him throughout the book, the change in him from his black rakish reputation to the man he becomes is beautifully composed.

This is very much recommended, if you like the marriage of convenience with a light twist and transformed rakes and cynical, shy heroines this is the book for you – even if you don’t like all that, this is still a must read.

This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Viscount and the Vicars daughter is out 23rd January 2018 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Review – The Lost Letter; A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

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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.