To say that I have been eager to read this final installment of the Parish Orphans of Devon series is a gross understatement. I absolutely loved all of Mimi Matthews books and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one!
Of all the orphans, Neville was probably to most mysterious character for me and the one we never seemed to get to know, beyond the basic back story told by the other characters.
I was excited to see how Neville’s love story as well as his character unfolded in this book. There was so much discussion in the other books about how Neville’s accident as a child had left him ‘damaged’ and I was curious to see how that translated into a romance for him in this book.
She Needed to be Seen…
As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.
He Wanted to be Heard…
Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.
During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do? (summary from Goodreads)
Neville’s accident left him with speech difficulties and as a result he felt shut off and isolated from life in many ways save for the friends he had since childhood. All of his friend have now moved on with their lives and married etc while Neville works with his animals in the stables. Though it is by choice, it is clear that he is longing for something more. Companionship, love…..a life. Enter Clara.
Clara immediately puts Neville at ease with her gentle compassion and thus begins their romance. I thought their romance was tender and sweet but I was also hoping for a little more in the way of stolen kisses or moments. With the other characters in the series, there was plenty of chemistry and sexual tension but with this one the focus was more on friendship rather than passion or pure attraction. Their romance was more in the vein of friendship and mutual respect/admiration. I enjoyed the friendship element and thought it fit with Neville’s desires as well as Clara’s but I admittedly, had hoped for a little more romantic chemistry between the two that I have come to find in her books.
But as always, Matthews writes a charming and consuming love story that consistently brought a smile to my face. Whenever I finish one of her books my husband always asks why I am smiling and I always say it’s because I am just so pleased and happy for the characters. Matthews has a way about writing the perfect love story to fit the characters personalities. Justin was more of a stormy brooding sort and that novel was definitely more turbulent, Tom was more studious and conflicted so his romance had a lot more inner conflict between the characters, Alex was a bit of a roguish bad boy with no one who happened to meet a sweet girl who grounded him and gave him a home—where as with Neville, his romance is more tentative and sweet as befitting his character. Her characters are all memorable in their own ways and all equally charming and dashing.
For me personally, I liked Alex the most but then again I love the bad boys! If you are looking for historical romances that are sweet but also full of chemistry and romantic tension, this is the author for you. I have loved every single one of her books and I am looking forward to what the future holds for her. No one does Victorian romances like Mimi Matthews!
Book Info and Rating
Blog Tour Schedule
Sunday, February 16
Review at Passages to the Past
Monday, February 17
Review at Robin Loves Reading
Tuesday, February 18
Review at The Lit Bitch