Publication Date: November 10, 2020
About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. Her next romance, The Siren of Sussex, will be out in 2022 from Berkley/Penguin Random House.
To learn more, please visit MimiMatthews.com
The bastard son of scullery maid Jenny Seaton and highwayman Gentleman Jim, Nicholas Seaton’s one joy in life is his friendship and burgeoning romance with the outspoken Squire’s daughter, Maggie Honeywell. But when Maggie’s smug neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, frames Nicholas for robbery, the young serving man must flee for his life. He makes Maggie a promise–that he will return for her no matter what, no matter how long it takes.
As the years go by, Maggie Honeywell finds life closing in on her. Her deceased father leaves the estate bound up in a silly trust designed to force her to choose Frederick Burton-Smythe as her husband. But throughout her London debut and throughout the long period of mourning and sickness that came afterward, she has never forgotten her first love, Nicholas Seaton.
When John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare, arrives in England from the continent and takes London by storm, Maggie is aghast to see the face of her childhood friend on the shoulders of this cold aristocrat. And however much the Viscount might deny that identity, he cannot deny his intractable attraction to Miss Honeywell or his utter contempt and loathing for Burton-Smythe. But even if St. Clare could be brought to remember everything they have shared, would Maggie give up the claim on her father’s estate and the responsibility for the people she holds dear? And would St. Clare renounce the quest for vengeance that has been the reason for his survival, the impetus behind his metamorphosis, and the desire he has nourished, for so long, like a serpent in his heart?
This new novel by Mimi Matthews is a top-notch adventure bound up with a swoon-worthy romance. As a newly-minted aristocrat playing a part to perfection, St. Clare is everything that fans of The Scarlet Pimpernel could hope for. Maggie’s physical weakness from her long illness gives a vulnerability to her character that contrasts well with her iron determination. With echoes of Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, the story deals deftly with the themes of vengeance and love, and what happens when the two are intertwined. Maggie and Nicholas must both contend with their own pride as the visions for what they want to accomplish prove incompatible with the love they both share. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.