I read a short story by Mimi Matthews back in December last year and loved it but it was months before I read one of her full novels. In fact, I just read my first full length book by Matthews a couple of weeks ago and I fell even more in love with her writing!
So much so, that I knew without a doubt that I needed to read all of her books and the sooner the better. So I binged this book in the space of 24 hours. I started with the Audible edition, but quickly changed to the written form since I read much faster that way and I needed to know what happened next.
If you haven’y discovered Mimi Matthews yet—you simply need to. She writes historical romances but more of the drawing room type rather than bodice rippers. That’s not to say that her romances don’t pack some heat, she writes novels with rich chemistry between the characters and I was excited to see how the romance in this book came together but most of all I wanted a happy ending!
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? (Summary from Goodreads)
Was this a perfect romance….no. Was it absolutely 5 stars? YES! There were things that I found a little cliche and predictable but in the end the chemistry and romance between Helena and Justin was so wonderful and satisfying. I couldn’t get enough of them from the instant they met. I was thrilled watching their attraction form and develop throughout the book. I also enjoyed the other side story about Helena’s uncle that helped pace the romance.
Both stories were equally satisfying and evolved harmoniously. I love how Matthews takes slightly damaged or broken heroes and makes them undeniably attractive. Justin was gruff and clearly unrefined but by the end he held himself like a king and I loved seeing how he changed and grew throughout the book. Seeing how he evolved really made this book believable and genuine.
Helena’s story was interesting and I loved how she interacted with Justin and it was clear that her attraction and esteem for him grew. I felt so deliriously happy for them the more the story went on. I couldn’t be happier with how this one ended.
Matthews is a hidden gem in historical romance. I personally love the marriage of convenience troupe as well as the earlier stages of a romance. It’s such a sweet period of unsureness and I love seeing the trepidation in these characters and how they eventually come to love one another inspire of their best efforts. This was absolutely a 5 star book for me and fans of historical fiction/romances should make sure to have Matthews on their radar because she’s a phenomenal story teller!