I love a good mail order bride story, and let me tell you, this is a very good one and quite likely the best I’ve read this year. I downloaded the e-galley from NetGalley just so it would be ready when I had finished the books I already had in progress. Deciding to just see how The Matrimonial Advertisement starts, since this might be my first mail order bride read set in England, I was quickly lost in the story and only set it down once I was halfway through and had exceeded my usual “I stayed up until 2am with this book” threshold, only to pick it up and read to the end the moment I arrived home from work the next day.
I appreciated the gothic and classic romance elements, with our heroine entering into marriage to escape a dastardly plot only as a last result, our scarred and brooding hero feeling his past made him unworthy, his crumbling home called Greyfriars Abbey. Add to that a rainy coastal setting, loyal retainers and friends, impending scandal, dastardly villains, and even more gothic allusions like a minor character being named Danvers.
With a plot that moved at a good pace and historical details that I very much appreciated, from Justin’s military experience in India to practicalities of Helena’s clothing and the then very real threat she is faced with that is both horrifying and holds a bit of a macabre fascination, this is quite well written and just a darn good story.
My command of superlatives is failing me so I will simply say that I adored this novel and I’m thrilled that it is just the first in a series. If you enjoy historical fiction, mail order bride, marriage of convenience stories or 1850’s Victorian romance and intrigue, and don’t mind a read that just verges on being a tad saucy at times, then grab/pre-order yourself a copy of this one. Highly recommended.
The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews (Parish Orphans of Devon, #1) | Perfectly Proper Press, September 4, 2018 | ebook, 317 pages
This review refers to a e-galley read through NetGalley, courtesy of Smith Publicity. All opinions expressed are my own.
From the Publisher:
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?