Special Feature and Excerpt: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Give me all the Victorian Romances please! Especially the sweet ones. I am a romantic at heart and there is just something so satisfying about romances. While they might be predictable, there is comfort in that and I always finish a romance and feel genuinely happy and satisfied. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they over come a conflict, and then live happily ever after! It really is the best kind of book to read for me!

I find myself smiling and falling in love with the hero right along side the heroine. Now when you add in a historical element—well you truly have my attention! Historical romances are so great for an old soul like me. I love the elegance of history and for me when those two things combine, I find it hard to pass up. Not to mention the Victorian era is my absolute favorite.

Today I have an excerpt for all my historical romance fans out there! If you are looking for a charming sweet romance than this is the book for you. After reading this excerpt, I am looking forward to reading more! Be sure to check out other tours on the stop to keep reading different excerpts and to see what people are saying about this one!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

London, 1885

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe―a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband―Harold Radcliffe―of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.

Excerpt

The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart Excerpt 2

Michael followed Winston into the parlor, where he noted several small pieces of statuary, some broken into multiple pieces, sitting on a mahogany hutch near the small fireplace.

“Fancies himself an archaeologist,” Winston murmured as he looked at the collection. “One must have hobbies, I suppose.”

“You do not approve?” Michael asked.

“There are certain pieces that do no harm in a private collection, but all too often, greed sets in. Rather than donating extra-ordinary finds to a museum where all can admire, we are left to imagine.”

Michael looked again at the pieces carefully showcased on the hutch. “I admit to having no eye for extraordinary finds, but I am rather taken with the craftsmanship of this mahogany piece that holds them.”

Winston lifted a brow and nodded. “Beautiful. I wonder if it is a commissioned piece.”

“It was indeed a commissioned piece,” a voice said from the doorway.

“Mr. Radcliffe?” Michael asked.

“The very same. Dare I hope you’ve come with news of my wife?” Radcliffe was classically handsome. He wore his clothing well, and his dark hair was neatly styled. Michael imagined those ice-blue eyes had won—or broken—their fair share of hearts.

“We may come bearing unfortunate news, and I must apologize in advance for it,” Michael said. “A woman was found last night in the Thames, and she now lies in the morgue. We are not certain she is your wife, but she bears a gold locket around her neck that is inscribed ‘To my dearest Marie.’”

Radcliffe lost all color in his face, and he swayed, bracing himself against a side table.

“Perhaps we should sit?” Winston offered.

Radcliffe swallowed and nodded, settling onto the sofa. The detectives took the two chairs near the hearth.

“You are familiar with the locket, then?” Michael continued.

“I . . . I . . .” Radcliffe cleared his throat. “I gave my wife just such a locket a few months ago on our wedding day.” He looked first at Winston, and then at Michael. “Could there be two such lockets in existence? Perhaps . . . perhaps somebody admired Marie’s locket and had another made? Surely there are many women named Marie.”

Michael felt a twinge of sympathy. The man’s shock seemed genuine. “Yet just yesterday you reported your wife missing,” he said gently. “I have a post-mortem photo of the woman we found; will you look at it?”

Radcliffe nodded.

Michael handed over the photo, and Radcliffe stared at the image, his mouth slack. A dramatic shudder wracked his whole body, then he closed his eyes and handed back the photo. “That is my Marie.”

“Are you comfortable accompanying us to the morgue for formal identification of the body? Or perhaps another family member could perform the task?” Michael asked. His initial feeling of trust toward Radcliffe was beginning to waver.

Radcliffe shook his head. “They are in Marseilles. Marie left them behind in France when we married and returned to London. I had hoped—” He shook his head. “I’ve held to the hope she had simply decided to return to France for a visit; she has done so twice in recent months. When I realized she’d left behind all of her belongings, everything she normally takes with her in the past, I just knew—” He stood and paced behind the sofa.

“How do you suppose she might have ended up in the river?” Winston asked, and then paused. “Would she have had reason to be walking on the promenade with friends, or perhaps an admirer?”

Radcliffe stopped pacing and glared at Winston. “You’re asking if my wife cuckolded me? Most emphatically not.” He took a breath and released a sigh, his brows pulling tightly into a frown. “I fear she may have done something . . . illegal.”

“What do you suspect?” Michael pressed.

Radcliffe’s pause stretched interminably. “I suspect she may have injured herself.” A heavy silence filled the air. “Had she mentioned anything, or acted in a way that supports your theory?” Winston asked.

Radcliffe  gripped  the  back  of  the  sofa,  and  his  head  drooped. “I cannot bear to tarnish her good name.” He cleared his throat. “She was an angel.”

“Perhaps we have put the cart before the horse,” Michael said, his instinct warning him to doubt Radcliffe’s performance. “We’ve still to visit the morgue. Then we will know for certain whether the deceased is your wife or perhaps someone else who coincidentally wears a locket similar to Mrs. Radcliffe’s.”

Radcliffe looked up. “If that photograph is accurate, I’ve no doubt the dead woman is my wife. Let us visit the morgue quickly. I’ve no wish to prolong the suspense.”

Michael and Winston both stood, and Winston nodded at Radcliffe. “If the victim is not your wife, we shall double our efforts to locate her.”

“‘Victim’?” Radcliffe repeated, color returning to his face. “You suspect someone of killing her?”

Winston’s brows inched up in surprise. “Certainly not. I only meant that she was the recipient of intentional or unintentional harm—a victim of circumstance.”

“Of course, of course.” Radcliffe rubbed a shaky hand across his forehead. “It is only . . . I am just so very . . .”

Michael nodded. “We understand, sir. The shock of deva-tating news is never pleasant. Detective Winston and I are going to St. Vincent’s straightaway. Would you prefer to join us in our carriage or take your own?”

Radcliffe shook his head as though having difficulty processing the question. “I’ll have my carriage readied. If the unfortunate woman at St. Vincent’s is indeed my Marie, I shall have a multitude of details to see to, arrangements to make. Such things will take time.”

Chapter 3, Pages 17-20

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Allen pairs a matchmaker and a detective in this charming Victorian romance. Allen expertly combines mystery and romance into a fast-paced tale complete with plenty of surprises and a central relationship founded on mutual admiration and respect. Readers are sure to appreciate the strong, well-shaded heroine and twisty plot.” —Publishers Weekly

“Allen’s chaste tale of Victorian romantic suspense will also appeal to historical mystery readers, and it would be great for mother-and-daughter reads. This has great appeal for teens who like historical fiction laced with mystery and romance.” —Booklist

“I was immediately drawn into the characters’ lives and enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the development of the romance.” —Mystery and Suspense Magazine

AUTHOR BIO

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of fifteen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction.  In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children.

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

TOUR SCHEDULE

Sept 06          Timeless Novels (Review)

Sept 07          The Book Diva Reads (Excerpt)

Sept 07          Wishful Endings (Review)

Sept 08          Robin Loves Reading (Review)

Sept 08          A Darn Good Read  (Review)

Sept 08          Storeybook Reviews (Spotlight)

Sept 08          Austenesque Reviews (Review)

Sept 09          Bookfoolery (Review)

Sept 09          The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)

Sept 10          The Bluestocking (Review)

Sept 10          Bookworm Lisa (Review)

Sept 10          The Silver Petticoat Review (Review)

Sept 11          Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

Sept 11          My Bookish Bliss (Review)

Sept 11          Nurse Bookie (Review)

Sept 12          The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Sept 12          My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)

Sept 13          Heidi Reads (Excerpt)

Sept 13          Reading with Emily (Review)

Sept 13          Our Book Confessions (Review)

Sept 14          Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)

Sept 14          Laura’s Reviews (Review)

Sept 14          Beauty in the Binding (Spotlight)

Sept 15          All-of-a-Kind Mom (Review)

Sept 15          Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

Sept 15          Life of Literature (Review)

Sept 16          From Pemberley to Milton (Review)

Sept 16          Probably at the Library (Spotlight)

Sept 17          Greenish Bookshelf (Review)

Sept 17          Relz Reviewz (Review)

Sept 18          Novel Kicks  (Review)

Sept 19          Historical Fiction with Spirit (Excerpt)

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLEBOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP| GOODREADS

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