A BookBub Best Romance of 2022
A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
• “[C]ombines deception, risk, and a resourceful heroine to create an intoxicating, suspenseful romance. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)
• “If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast, this regency romance will rapidly become a new favorite of yours. Wallflower meets an infamous war hero in this fascinating and intriguing love story.”— BuzzFeed
• “Mimi Matthews never disappoints, with richly drawn characters and couples whose individual shortcomings become strengths, when paired together. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, we get to root for two underdogs who get to rewrite their own stories.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here
• “The Belle of Belgrave Square is such tremendous, good fun: a heroine with a big horse, an even bigger novel-reading habit, and a hidden anxiety; a hero with a crumbling estate, a trio of wary children, and a literary secret—what's not to love? Mimi Matthews paints Victorian England with vivid humor, and her Belles of London is set to go on for at least a few more much-anticipated installments. Julian Fellowes fans will rejoice!”— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
Julia and Jasper strike an agreement when the agree to marry. They will each get something out of it. Julia gets to ride her prized horse whenever she wishes, and read as many books as she possibly can without worrying about dealing with all of the anxiety a lady of the ton has had to deal with. Jasper except this marriage of convenience as he has reason his three children alone and needs whatever finances can come from a good marriage.
Julia had no way to truly realize what she had gotten herself into until she set foot on Jasper’s property at Goldfinch Hall. Having led a life with two demanding parents who tried to control her every move, she does feel that she has chosen a lesser of two evils. Her dowry should help Jasper and his children and she gets to live a life of her own choosing.
Jasper comes with a reputation that involved the time that he was in the war. Is he the dangerous man that everyone says he is and will marrying him present any danger to Julia? Neither one of them expected this marriage to produce long-lasting feelings that would change rather quickly. The journey to love is comes to complete contrast to whom the dangerous man Jasper was said to be. I love that this book dealt with social anxiety when it came to Julia and how she gained such strength from her relationship with Jasper.
Mimi Matthews has written a delightfully sweet historical fiction, set in the Victorian era with characters that were very easy to root for. The Belle of Belgrave Square was just as enjoyable as the first book in the series, The Siren of Sussex. The series is set to continue in January 2024 with The Lily of Ludgate Hill.
Many thanks to Berkley Romance and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Please enjoy my YouTube video review -
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USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, 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.
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