Monday, February 17, 2020

SERIES REVIEW and BLOG TOUR - Parish Orphans of Devon


Today, I am very pleased to be a part of the Blog Tour for The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews. However, I had previously read and reviewed A Convenient Fiction. This series is so compelling that I just had to read the first two books in the Parish Orphans of Devon series, A Matrimonial Engagement and A Modest Independence. There was no way that I could review the Blog Tour title without including reviews for the other books in the series.



Title:   The Matrimonial Advertisement
Publisher:  Perfectly Proper Press
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   388
Date of Publication:   September 4, 2018
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

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?


MY THOUGHTS:

A story of forgiveness and letting the past go. Helena Reynolds has sought refuge and agreed to marry ex-army captain Justin Thornhill. It is not a marriage of love by any means, it it simply an agreement. Things, however, are far from simple in this first book in the series by Mimi Matthews.

Readers are briefly introduced to Justin and eventually learn about three of his friends, although it is quite some time before we actually meet the fourth. The four men knew each other as boys when they were orphans. Their lives were the worst of the worst, but in one way or another, they all survived.

Justin has done his best to buy his past. Not only has he made his fortune, but he made it back to England after years of suffering unimaginable torture in India. Now he is among the ton, and one way to make his mark is by marrying. Love is not in the cards for Justin. It is a foreign abstract to him, but he is an honorable man. This proves to be true for more than one reason, but especially when Justin realizes that Helena is on the run and why.

What a delightful start to a new series! No doubt any lover of historical romance reading this book would be drawn to the next book in the series as I was.

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Title:   A Modest Independence
Publisher:  Perfectly Proper Press
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   400 Pages
Date of Publication:   April 23, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

He Needed Peace…


Solicitor Tom Finchley has spent his life using his devious intellect to solve the problems of others. As for his own problems, they’re nothing that a bit of calculated vengeance can’t remedy. But that’s all over now. He’s finally ready to put the past behind him and settle down to a quiet, uncomplicated life. If only he could find an equally uncomplicated woman.

She Wanted Adventure…

Former lady’s companion Jenny Holloway has just been given a modest independence. Now, all she wants is a bit of adventure. A chance to see the world and experience life far outside the restrictive limits of Victorian England. If she can discover the fate of the missing Earl of Castleton while she’s at it, so much the better.

From the gaslit streets of London to the lush tea gardens of colonial India, Jenny and Tom embark on an epic quest—and an equally epic romance. But even at the farthest edges of the British Empire, the past has a way of catching up with you…

MY THOUGHTS:


The second of the Parish Orphans gets his story. He was introduced in the first book of the series, and he is about to find love and happiness. When Tom Finchley, a solicitor, agrees to help Jenny Holloway, he goes far and beyond what she expected. For starters, Tom has always made it his aim to overcome his past and to be there for others, always putting himself last.


However, Jenny has been given enough funds to find adventure in life. She has served as a lady's companion to a dear friend. When her friend, Helena, from A Matrimonial Advertisement, married, she bestowed a gift to Jenny. This gift allowed Jenny independence and so her dream was to visit India. As Tom is guarding her funds, she not only goes to him to get them, but to seek his advice for her future travels.


Not only does Tom assign her companions so that she will not travel alone, he ends up being one of them! This is so unlike Tom. Seems completely irresponsible. But, this is what he does and the pair begin a very long journey together.


This sparks a romance between the pair, and there is also a mystery that unfolds and even presents a bit of danger. I loved that fact that despite immediate and growing feelings that Jenny had towards Tom, she never let her dream of independence go. I loved this story that delivered shared confidences, apologies, forgiveness and hope for a future.


Even though this is indeed part of the series and does mention the boys when they were orphans, the story is self-contained enough to do well as a standalone. But, if anyone knows me even a little, it is no secret that reading series is something that I truly enjoy. So, jump in with this book or start with the first, you will not be disappointed. 


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Title:   A Convenient Fiction
Publisher:  Perfectly Proper Press
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:   October 22, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

She Needed a Husband...

It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a perfect candidate. But Alex Archer is no hero. In fact, he just might be the opposite.

He Wanted a Fortune...

Alex has no tolerance for sentiment. He’s returned to England for one reason only: to find a wealthy wife. A country-bred heiress in Surrey seems the perfect target. But somewhere between the village railway station and the manor house his mercenary plan begins to unravel. And it’s all the fault of Laura Hayes—a lady as unsuitable as she is enchanting.

From the beaches of Margate to the lavender fields of Provence, a grudging friendship slowly blossoms into something more. But when scandal threatens, can a man who has spent his entire life playing the villain, finally become a hero? Or will the lure of easy riches once again outweigh the demands of his heart?

MY THOUGHTS:

***This review was previously published on this blog on November 19, 2019.***

This delightful story by Mimi Matthews brings us the third story in the Parish Orphans of Devon series. Readers of this story have had Justin and Tom's story, now Alex Archer gets to find his future.

Alex's approach removes romance from the equation. He needs a rich wife and has found a way to settle a debt. George Wright is the man who has acquired the huge debt. He agreed to settle it with Alex by pretty much offering his childhood friend, Henrietta Talbot, in marriage to Alex. However, when Alex arrives on the scene, the very first woman he sees is Laura Hayes. She affects him in a disturbing way.

Laura came from a privileged situation. Her father had a lucrative perfume business in several locations. Due to bad investments, his death, and with her brother being an invalid, Laura, her brother and their aunt live on a minimal existence.

Laura is friends with Henrietta, and is asked to be a chaperone of sorts during Alex's visit. Inasmuch as Alex needs a rich wife, Laura needs a husband. Her very future is threatened, and only by marrying will she have any chance at saving any remnant's of her father's business.

Alex begins to court Henrietta, all while to bury his growing feelings for Laura. Laura, meanwhile, strives to support Henrietta and Alex, even though her heart is breaking, and not knowing where her future will lie.

I adored this story! Not only did I love the way that Alex and Laura met, recognized their feelings, and worked through their trials together, it was great to meet the couples from the other books in the series. Finally, the conclusion was very heartwarming.

Mimi Matthews is a new name to me, and I love how she wrote this sweet story. She grabbed my attention and I am eager to read more. I loved Alex and his friends. I look forward to reading the first two books in the series, as well as the Neville's story, The Winter Companion, scheduled for release in February.

Many thanks to Perfectly Proper Press and to HF Virtual Book Tours for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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**FEATURED BLOG TOUR POST**


Title:   The Winter Companion
Publisher:  Perfectly Proper Press
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   316
Date of Publication:   February 11, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

A winter reunion for the orphans brings romance for Neville Cross in Book 4 of Mimi Matthews' USA Today bestselling Parish Orphans of Devon series.

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? 

BUY LINKS:


Praise for the Parish Orphans of Devon series


“For this impressive Victorian romance, Matthews crafts a tale that sparkles with chemistry and impresses with strong character development… an excellent series launch that will appeal to fans of Loretta Chase and Stephanie Laurens.” -Publishers Weekly (The Matrimonial Advertisement)

“Matthews has a knack for creating slow-building chemistry and an intriguing plot with a social history twist.” -Library Journal (The Matrimonial Advertisement)

“As always, Matthews’ attention to historical accuracy is impeccable.” -Kirkus Reviews (A Modest Independence)

“Mimi Matthews is an exceptional story-teller.” -Passages to the Past (The Matrimonial Advertisement)

“Matthews is a bright, shining star in historical romance…” -Austenprose (A Modest Independence)


MY THOUGHTS:

Having fallen in love with this series a few months ago with the third, and only reading the first two books just recently, I nearly devoured The Winter Companion, the fourth and final book in the Parish Orphans of Devon series.

In previous books in the series, but especially the third title, more about Neville Cross was learned. I wanted his story so bad! Well, here we have it and it does not disappoint. As a boy when he fall off a cliff into the sea, he was rescued by one of his friends, but not without cost. He suffered a brain injury that controlled the part of his speech. Intelligence or lack thereof was never a question, but his ability to communicate was very difficult.


As each of the boys grew up they all found their own way - and fortunes. Neville is more than content to work with the animals on friend Alex's grounds. When he meets Clara Hartwright, a lady's companion attending a house party, Neville's life begins to turn. As unlikely and truly difficult as his life was (clearly recounted through the pages), Clara herself has suffered as well. Perhaps they are kindred spirits.


What Clara sees when she looks at Neville is a huge, yet gentle man. It does not take her long to see what his difficulty is and this does nothing to deter her. Instead, the two become friends, and despite growing problems from another source, they just might have a future together.


As expected when I completed the third book in the series months ago, this story was indeed worth waiting for. I am glad to have read all four books in the series. What a great way to meet a new author in a genre that I so love. In the author's note there is a slight hint that we might see offshoots of this series. If so, I am going to be first in line. 


Many thanks to Perfectly Proper Press and to HF Virtual Book Tours for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and BeautyThe Matrimonial Advertisement) writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats. 

For more information, please visit Mimi Matthews’ website and blog

You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterBookBubPinterestGoogle+, and Goodreads.


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, February 11 

Review at Bookish Rantings 

Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, February 12 

Review at Rose is Reading 

Review at Amy's Booket List 

Review & Interview at The Green Mockingbird 

Wednesday, February 13 

Review at Heidi Reads 

Review at A Chick Who Reads 

Review at Lost in a Book Reviewer 

Thursday, February 14 

Review at Bookish Bellee 

Review at Historical Graffiti 

Review at Library of Clean Reads 

Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, February 15 

Feature at YA, It's Lit 

Review at Gwendalyn's Books 

Interview at Donna's Book Blog 

Saturday, February 16 

Review at Passages to the Past 

Sunday, February 17 

Review at Robin Loves Reading 

Monday, February 18 

Review at The Lit Bitch


8 comments:

  1. I'm not familiar with this series. Thanks for sharing and great reviews.

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  2. These are new to me but sound like an addictive series. Excellent reviewing, Robin!

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  3. I love discovering new authors! Thanks for sharing ♥

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  4. This is amazing! Thank you for reviewing all the books in the series & for hosting Mimi's tour. I am thrilled that you loved them all! Mimi is my go-to for Historical Romance :)

    Amy
    HF Virtual Book Tours

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  5. I read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. I need to finish it soon!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed this series.

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  7. Amazing review Robin, I really love Historical Romance books as well and all these books looks and sounds like my kind of book that I would so love and enjoy reading. I am really glad you fully enjoyed reading each book. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

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