A Mimi Matthews Appreciation Post/ posted in: Reading The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
on July 23, 2019
Published by Perfectly Proper Press
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?
I first heard of Mimi Matthews through a blog tour for The Matrimonial Advertisement. I was immediately impressed by her writing. These books read more like historical fiction novels than a lot of other historical romances. I love historical romances but some of them are definitely a little less than concerned about strict historical accuracy. These books seem to be well researched and firmly set in their time and place.
She quickly became a must-buy author.
I recently read a group of her books back to back.
The Work of Art is the story of a woman who wants to live a quiet life in the country rescuing injured animals. Her relatives bring her to London and set about getting her noticed by a duke who likes to collect unusual things. Phyllida looks unusual enough that they think he’ll be interested. The problem is that his last wife died mysteriously and he doesn’t like Phyllida – he just wants her so no one else can have her.
Arthur is a disabled veteran who befriends Phyllida and wants to help her. The Duke is known to be violent towards people who get in his way. How is Arthur supposed to be able to protect her?
These people were fun to read about. Arthur and Phyllida actually liked each other and grew closer through the course of the book. I’m not a big fan of hate to love type stories. I don’t really like the fighting. I also liked the helping animals aspect of the book.
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 once 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.
A SECOND CHANCE
A week together in the remote 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?
This is a story of misunderstanding. I’m not usually a big fan of this trope either but this book was well done.
An attachment was formed between the main characters several years before. Immediately afterwards he headed back to his post in the Army. Letters then went astray leading each of them to believe that the other cut off communication. Now Sebastian’s sister realizes that he still cares for Sylvia and sets out to find her to see if she can help him with his recovery. She’s desperate and isn’t bothered by lying in the service of her cause.
I always find it hard to review romance because they always sound formulaic. The trick is to find books where the writers take these well worn ideas and write the story well enough that you care about the characters even though you know how it is going to end up. That’s where Mimi Matthews excels. The books are warm and comforting to read. You just want to sink down inside of them.
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 taciturn suitor 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.
This was a fun book about a man who was following the advice of a dating manual. Too bad the advice was absolutely horrible. His would-be-bride breaks off the relationship because he is just too boring. Her family isn’t going to stand for that though. They need her to marry well to get them out of financial trouble and this boring fellow is just what they need. They make her invite him to a holiday house party so she can get to know him better. Together they need to get past the social and financial barriers between them to find their real selves.
This is a novella and it is so cute. I never end up reading holiday books at the appropriate time of year. Pick this one up whenever you want.