Today’s team review is from Eleanor, she blogs here http://www.eleanorsauthor.com/
Eleanor has been reading The Viscount And The Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews
The premise of the novel was a nice take on the oft-used virgin-reforms-a-jaded-rake trope. I loved that Lord Tristan was considered a rake beyond redemption and persona non grata by most of the ton; most “rakes” you read about are still darlings of polite society and get away with their crimes. The fact that Tristan was considered beyond redemption by all, including his own father, added a quite unique twist to the novel that I really enjoyed.
The story is delightfully prim and proper in the style of a Jane Austen regency. Mimi is clearly a polished and practised writer and the novel flows very well and it was a joy to read from a technical perspective. Her historical research and deep understanding of the period is seamless with the story with no historical fact info dumps. Even I, a bit of a stickler for correct historical facts and behaviour, couldn’t find much to quibble over. Even the speech was evocative of the period so a big thumbs up from me here.
The thing that stopped this novel from being really great for me was the speed with which Tristan and Valentine fell in love. They had good depth as characters and appropriate motivations for their actions during the novel but I simply didn’t buy that they were in love after only a couple of days in each others’ company. I believe Tristan fell deeply in lust very quickly and Valentine certainly admired his manly form in her innocent way but I didn’t feel there was yet an overwhelmingly grand passion (difficult in a ‘proper’ Regency, I know) or connection between the two to account for them being in love so soon. I felt the groundwork had been wonderfully laid for them to go on and fall in love on further acquaintance but the novel ended too soon for it actually to be a believable reality for me. I’d have very happily continued reading about them for several more chapters to bed this in. It was just a bit unsatisfying as I felt there could’ve been so much more there but was curtailed by a likely word count requirement. Still a thoroughly enjoyable read though.
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?
Mimi Matthews is the author of The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Pen & Sword Books, November 2017) and A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty (Pen & Sword Books, July 2018). Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. When not writing historical non-fiction, Mimi authors exquisitely proper Victorian romance novels with dark, brooding heroes and intelligent, pragmatic heroines. Her debut Victorian romance The Lost Letter was released in September 2017.