England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?
A WORLD-WEARY RAKE
After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans—and threatens his heart.
A PRIM VICAR’S DAUGHTER
Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future—a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.
A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL
A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?
The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews
After enjoying the author’s first Victorian romance so much, I snapped The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter up immediately. Mimi Matthews writes “proper” Victorian books, where the characters act era-appropriately, the conversations are entertaining, and there’s a focus on the *romance*.
The relationship in this one moves fast – it has to, as hero and heroine are caught together and forced into an engagement. Now, this is a plot device used a million times over in historical romance, but it is handled differently here and it felt different – refreshed.
There are few books I’ve read where I believe in an instant connection, “love at first sight” more or less. In fact, I can think of only three: this is one of them. The first meeting and the hurried arrangement between them was convincing to me, and it was helped by the two spending a lot of time together over the course of only a few days.
The characters – hero, his father, heroine, various relatives – come across as real, well-rounded people. Rakish aristocrats aren’t exactly what they seem, and prim vicar’s daughters have secrets, disappointments, hopes and dreams.
The Victorian setting is always special to me, and never more so than when written by an author who knows the era inside out. This is very much a *Victorian* book, and couldn’t be mistaken for a Regency romance. The fashions, the train travel etc. It’s an era of so much energy and change, which is why I love it.
I enjoyed The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter for heaps of reasons, but especially because it took well-used (almost over-used?) tropes and turned every single one of them around, making them new again.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.