Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalRomance GENTLEMAN JIM by @MimiMatthewsESq

Today’s team review is from Sandra, she blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews

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I have read and enjoyed quite a few novels by Mimi Matthews, but Gentleman Jim is my favourite so far. Set between Somerset and London in 1817, this is a tale full of love, adventure and revenge.

Maggie Honeywell and Nicholas Seaton were childhood sweethearts who grew up together on her father’s estate in Somerset; she the squire’s daughter, and he the illegitimate son of the kitchen maid, though his father was rumoured to be the notorious highwayman, Gentleman Jim.

Her father had always wanted to join his estate with the neighbouring one by having Maggie marry Frederick Burton-Smythe. She loathed him, but this was no deterrent to her father’s plans. Jealous of their close relationship, Fred falsely accuses Nicholas of stealing Maggie’s jewellery, and intends handing him over to the magistrate, thereby eliminating his rival. Maggie has other ideas – she helps Nicholas escape and vows to wait for him. He sets off to find his father and promises to return.

We learn all this in the prologue. Ten years have gone by, and Maggie’s father is now dead. She is completely at Fred’s mercy – in six months she must either marry him or lose everything. In this day and age it is hard for us to fathom that a devoted father would put his daughter in this position, but women were simply seen as possessions with little or no say in what happened to them.

Maggie goes to stay with a friend in London to try to come up with a plan. She learns that a Viscount St Clare has challenged Fred to a duel. If anything should happen to Fred, her estate will go to a distant relative, and she will be no better off, so she visits St Clare to try and dissuade him from fighting the duel. She comes away convinced that St Clare is Nicholas Seaton, though he denies it vehemently, as this would mess up his plans to prove he is the grandson and legitimate heir of the Earl of Allendale.

The emphasis in Gentleman Jim is different from Mimi Matthews’ previous books. It is partly set in London during the season, with more exposure to the eyes of the ton, and all this entails – balls, duels, etiquette and carriage rides in the park. There is a large element of suspense, mystery and adventure which shows Maggie to be a fearless, feisty heroine capable of holding her own when the going gets tough.

The characters are all well written and relatable, even the nasty ones who are willing to go to any lengths to satisfy their greed. Mimi Matthews brings Regency England to life, seamlessly inserting the period detail into the story with a light touch. My only reservation would be that I don’t think the cover art does the book justice.

At the start of Gentleman Jim, the likelihood of Maggie and Nicholas ending up together seems pretty remote, but this is a romance novel so the ending is almost a foregone conclusion. It is how Mimi Matthews brings the story to a satisfying and believable finale that makes this such an enjoyable read.

Book description

She couldn’t forget…

Wealthy squire’s daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it’s bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father’s estate, Nicholas is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nicholas escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nicholas never returns. A decade later, he’s long been presumed dead.

He wouldn’t forgive…

After years spent on the continent, John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare has finally come home to England. Tall, blond, and dangerous, he’s on a mission to restore his family’s honor. If he can mete out a bit of revenge along the way, so much the better. But he hasn’t reckoned for Maggie Honeywell. She’s bold and beautiful—and entirely convinced he’s someone else.

As danger closes in, St. Clare is torn between love and vengeance. Will he sacrifice one to gain the other? Or with a little luck—and a lot of daring—will he find a way to have them both?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Romance FAIR AS A STAR by @MimiMatthewsEsq

Today’s team review is from Sandra, she blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Fair As A Star by Mimi Matthews

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Set in Somerset in 1864, Fair as a Star is the first in the Victorian Romantics series by Mimi Matthews. Newly returned from a mysterious trip to Paris with her aunt, Beryl Burnham tries to pick up her life where she left off. She is engaged to Sir Henry Rivenhall, in a marriage of convenience, but has always been good friends with his brother, Mark, who is curate in the local church.

No one knows why she left for France so suddenly, and local gossip was rife, but she has to come clean to Mark when he accidentally finds her weeping in a secluded spot by the river. She is suffering from depression (or melancholy as it was known then) and does not want anyone to know, partly because of the extreme treatments advocated by her previous doctor.

Mark is very understanding, and does not belittle what she is going through. As a curate, he is a good listener and this is just what she needs. He does not suggest cures for her melancholy, does not even see her as damaged. The message here is to accept others for who they are as individuals, and not try to make them all fit into the same mould.

This is a romance novel, and the ending is obvious from the start, but it is how Mimi Matthews achieves this end that makes it so readable. Sir Henry is very full of his own importance and thinks he knows best, but does not love Beryl. She realises her affections lie elsewhere and behaves in a very bold fashion.

I read this in one sitting, and thought it dealt very sensitively with the difficult subject of depression. It was not really understood back then, and a lot of strange, harmful beliefs and so-called ‘cures’ were commonplace. Medicine was a very male-dominated profession, and women faced both the patronising attitude of old-school male doctors, and the ludicrous treatments they prescribed.

The period detail is convincing, and the characters come across as well rounded individuals; my favourite was Beryl’s horse-mad sister, Winnifred, whose story will no doubt feature in a later book. I will certainly be looking out for the next book in the Victorian Romantics series.

Book description

A Secret Burden…

After a mysterious sojourn in Paris, Beryl Burnham has returned home to the village of Shepton Worthy ready to resume the life she left behind. Betrothed to the wealthy Sir Henry Rivenhall, she has no reason to be unhappy—or so people keep reminding her. But Beryl’s life isn’t as perfect as everyone believes.

A Longstanding Love…

As village curate, Mark Rivenhall is known for his compassionate understanding. When his older brother’s intended needs a shoulder to lean on, Mark’s more than willing to provide one. There’s no danger of losing his heart. He already lost that to Beryl a long time ago.

During an idyllic Victorian summer, friends and family gather in anticipation of Beryl and Sir Henry’s wedding. But in her darkest moment, it’s Mark who comes to Beryl’s aid. Can he help her without revealing his feelings—or betraying his brother?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalRomance MISS TAVISTOCK’S MISTAKE by @LinoreRBurkard

Today’s team review is from Sandra, she blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Miss Tavistock’s Mistake by Linore Rose Burkard

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In Miss Tavistock’s Mistake, Margaret, orphaned at the age of nine, is living in Yorkshire as the ward of the Duke of Trent. Finding life at Toadingham a bit dull, and eager to meet the elusive Captain Rempeare again, Margaret hatches a plan to go to London for the rest of the season. In the meantime, Gabriel Rempeare turns up unannounced and, having believed some not very flattering things she read about him in the papers, Margaret pretends to be someone else.

Instead of just owning up, Margaret now proceeds to carry the deception to ridiculous lengths. On arriving in London, Gabriel is tasked with introducing her to society. What follows is a tale of misunderstanding and miscommunication, and it becomes increasingly obvious that she has completely misjudged Captain Rempeare; then, as now, it is a mistake to believe a lot of what you read in the press.

A lot of research has gone into the period detail in this novel which I found fascinating – stories of naval battles and life at sea, the wonderful variety of food that was eaten and the colourful slang words and expressions that were common in Regency England.

The main characters are very likeable, the villains suitably nasty and there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments as we join Margaret on her first visit to London. We can understand why she is reluctant to come clean about her identity – she has dug herself a pretty deep hole – but by the final scene she has nowhere left to turn. It is fortunate that Gabriel is a very patient man, and we have to bear in mind that Margaret is still only nineteen.

I really enjoyed Miss Tavistock’s Mistake and would definitely recommend it. My only criticism would be the cover; it’s a bit busy, and doesn’t do the book justice. This is the first book by Linore Rose Burkard that I have read, but it certainly won’t be the last. It’s always great to find a new author with a substantial back catalogue.

Book description

Young Miss Tavistock is promised in marriage to Captain Rempeare by the wish of her dearly departed papa. But the captain’s been at sea for a decade. When she finally meets him, tempestuous sparks fly, and she impulsively adopts a daring false identity. Going by “Lady X,” she vows never to marry such an infuriating man.

Captain Gabriel Rempeare is prepared to fulfill his duty and marry Miss Tavistock—if only he can clap eyes on her. One circumstance or another keeps them apart, though he cannot seem to avoid the beautiful, maddening, Lady X. When fate throws them together in London, Miss Tavistock discovers the real nature of the captain, and regrets her subterfuge. But can such a noble man forgive deceit? Or has her mistake already cost her everything?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #NewRelease #HistoricalRomance LILIAN AND THE IRRESISTIBLE DUKE by @VirginiaHeath_

Lilian and the Irresistible Duke (Secrets of a Victorian Household)Lilian and the Irresistible Duke by Virginia Heath

4 stars

Lilian and the Irresistible Duke is book four in the Secrets of a Victorian Household series of historical romances. Each book in the series has been written by a different author, but the characters from each one are closely connected.

Lilian’s three grown-up children have persuaded her to take a well-deserved holiday away from The Fairclough Foundation, a safe haven for destitute women in London. Lilian is looking forward to her visit to Rome; it brings back memories of a secret but delightful kiss from Duke Pietro Venturi.

Pietro Venturi is surprised to bump into Lilian in his home. Knowing that she is a widow he suspects that his sister is trying to matchmake, but when Lilian insists that she is only looking for friendship he relaxes and instead delights in their joint love of art.

This romance involves characters who are older than many others in this genre, but there was still plenty of enticing ardour. I liked Lilian’s passion for art as seen from her unique perspective, and although I’m not generally an art lover, this book had me wanting to see some of the paintings that were mentioned.

This is a stand-alone book which can also be enjoyed as part of the series, or for those who might fall in love with Rome.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A reunion in Rome… sparks an affair to remember!

Responsible widow Lilian Fairclough is persuaded to travel to Rome for a hard-earned break and to let down her hair! She’s surprised to be reunited with passionate, cynical Italian duke Pietro Venturi. He reawakens her sensual side and intrigues her with glimpses of pain beneath his rakish surface. Enticed into a secret and temporary affair, what will happen once she returns home?

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