Okay, okay, I know I’ve said that I don’t enjoy romances but there is one major caveat to that statement. I have this horrible soft spot for certain period romances, and this Victorian beauty and the beast was just the ticket after a particularly hard day. Short and sweet with just enough steam to keep the pages turning, this is the perfect quick read with a tidy happy ending.
Title: The Lost Letter
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Themes: Romance, Blackmail, Start-crossed lovers
My Rating: 4/ 5
England, 1860. An impoverished Victorian beauty is unexpectedly reunited with the now beastly earl who once broke her heart. Will they finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?
A PROUD BEAUTY
When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, society beauty Sylvia Stafford finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood…until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life–and her former love.
A SCARRED BEAST
Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited–and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.
A SECOND CHANCE
A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?
This book hit me in all the mushy spots. First off, Sylvia is a book lover and a bit of a grafter despite the raw deal that she’s been handed, so I couldn’t help but love her. Then there’s Julia, who’s probably the most annoying little creature since Jane Austen’s Lydia, who is somehow still endearing and manages to steal the show. And then there’s Radcliff who manages to say all the wrong things at all the wrong times, jumps to conclusions, and who shouldn’t be left to stew in his dangerous imagination who manages to overcome his own delusions and stubbornness to become a terrific romantic hero.
And lets face it, I’m a sucker for period costumes. The descriptions of the clothing and costumes in this book are so spot on it hurts. reading something like this so close to halloween for me is practically suicidal. I’ll be dreaming of nothing but gathered skirts, petticoats, and ribboned bonnets for days to come. But more than anything I love how the clothing symbolized the changes, moods, and station of every character in the book. I loved knowing what to expect from the descriptions, which is one of the most interesting foreshadowing techniques I have seen in a good long while.
Finally, part of me really loves how creepy Radcliff was. Seriously though, lurking in the upstairs windows watching the ladies ride by? Getting jealous over a smile? Hello stalker! The sticking to the shadows was also a fun touch, and so was trolling the house at midnight. Broody, entitles, and ridiculously rich makes for a fun combination and it certainly kept me turning the pages even if Radcliff wasn’t intended to be the comic relief.
Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! Grab your wine, chocolate, and scented candles because this baby deserves a little ambiance. I will be keeping this one on my beach reading list, and have no doubts that I will be revisiting it again in the not too distant future.