Author: Mimi Matthews
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley Romance (October 11, 2022)
Length: (432) pages
Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook
Tour Dates: October 3-23, 2022
A BookBub Best Romance of 2022
A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a
marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
Julia does not like going to balls, she feels awkward and panicky, wishing to escape to go riding off on her beloved horse or ensconcing herself in her room where she can read books and not have to deal with the London season to find a suitable husband. Captain Blunt is a formidable man, with a disfiguring scar on his cheek that gives him a menacing look. He has his eyes set on Julia but she is at first terrified of him. But when he seems to be the answer to her problems, she makes a bold move, only to discover things are not as they seem.
I was pulled into this novel quickly and it was entertaining throughout. Julia was easy to like. Her family situation was sad, but she finds the courage to move forward even though this is very frightening for her. Captain Blunt is mysterious and I was intrigued by him. I liked the way they come together and fit into each other's lives. Matthews comes up with original plot twists that keep me turning the pages. Of course, the romance is always well done, in good taste, and swoon-worthy, even with atypical characters.
This was another winner by Mimi Matthews and I look forward to the next book in the series. Note that even though this is the second book in the series, it's definitely a stand-alone novel, making only references to some of the characters in the first book. If you like good historical romance novels, delve into a Mimi Matthews novel. You won't be disappointed.
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.
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