Friday, October 21, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

My Review

The Belle of Belgrave Square is set in 1862 England. Julia Wychwood is considered to be nearing spinsterhood at 23 and unmarried.  Captain Jasper Blunt is seeking a wife with a fortune to help restore his ramshackle estate and take care of his three children.  He is magnetic but brooding, with a dangerous reputation. Julia and Jasper meet and sparks fly. Her father, a controlling invalid, intervenes. Julia decides to take matters into her own hands and make her own decisions.  Then the adventure truly begins, with a mysterious estate, a locked room in a tower, and mysteries and secrets abounding!

I wanted to read this novel because I have loved all the Mimi Matthews books I've read. I love her amazing attention to period detail, down to the language of the storytelling. (It often requires looking up some arcane older words - but I love that!)

I am glad that I finished this novel today -- because it was taking up all my waking hours! I could not put it down. I stayed up late reading, I read every time I had a break in the day ... it is such a wonderfully engrossing story.

There is a lot of Beauty and the Beast in this novel. Julia is a renowed beauty and Jasper is brooding, with a scar across his mouth from a battle in the Crimean War. Their relationship is initially a marriage of convenience, but their love story unfolds slowly after that, as Jasper courts Julia and secrets are revealed in surprising ways.  In the Author's Notes, Mimi Matthews also references inspiration from The Law and the Lady (Wilkie Collins) and The Blue Castle (Lucy Maud Montgomery, so I now want to read those novels too.

I loved the mysterious setting of this novel;  Goldfinch Hall is almost another character in the book. I also loved the mystery storyline that is intertwined with the romance.

And the romance! Jasper is the most swoonworthy romantic lead I've enountered in ages. I absolutely loved the love story in this book.

This is a novel for true book lovers -- there is so much about a love of reading (considered dangerous for young ladies in this time period), the writing process, and a fabulous old library.

I have already started recommending The Belle of Belgrave Square to my friends. It's sure to be high on my top 10 list this year, and it is a must read for fans of historical fiction -- especially for anyone who loves Victorian settings.  Five stars - highest rating from me.

Book Synopsis

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… 


Author Bio

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.


a Rafflecopter giveaway