A Holiday By Gaslight by @MimiMatthewsEsq #VictorianRomance #HistFic #FridayReads

Author: Mimi Matthews

Published: November 2018 by Perfectly Proper Press

Category: Historical Fiction, Victorian, Romance, Book Review

A Courtship of Convenience

A Last Chance for Love

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

Sophie had decided to end her courtship with Edward (Ned) Sharpe after two months of trying to draw him out, to get to know him, discover his feelings through meaningful conversation. But it was proving fruitless. He was self contained to the point of impassiveness and their engagement was doomed before it really began.

Ned, the son of a draper, may have little to no knowledge of the way of the upper classes, especially when it came to wooing a lady, but surely following the advice written in his etiquette manual would help.  But obviously, judging by events, it isn’t quite living up to Ned’s hopes and expectations.

Meanwhile Sophie was in her father’s bad books for breaking off the engagement. Sir William had almost bankrupted himself and was counting on Ned’s help to fund the rest of the modernisations he had planned for Appersett House. And so after a talk with her mother, Sophie invited Ned to attend the family’s Christmas House Party celebrations, to see if they can get to know each other better and repair their relationship.

Ned’s gaze jerked to hers. A proposition? What the devil?

His breath stopped at the various implications of her words. None of them were good.

He wished it were otherwise. That she’d come here for—What? To tell him she was sorry she’d ended their courtship? That she’d made a mistake? Sentimental nonsense. He’d learned long ago that was no point indulging such thinking. No purpose in sticking his head in the sand. It was better to face reality. Even if that reality  was bleak and painful and deeply disappointing.

I used to read a lot of historical romances back in the day and Mimi Matthews has rekindled my enjoyment of this genre. I loved A Holiday by Gaslight. As always, the writing, atmosphere, characters and setting are beautifully realised.

Sophie, the daughter on whose shoulders all hopes are riding to make a good match, was without a dowry since her father used it to have the house fitted for gas, so her possibilities are limited. Sir William makes no compromises in his spending, wanting to return Appersett House one of the finest estates in Derbyshire. Sophie’s rather selfish younger sister is only concerned with her own appearance and lifestyle. It was left to Sophie and her mother to keep the finances from disappearing completely.

Although the story was set around Christmas, the season didn’t overpower the story. Sophie and Ned are very appealing characters. She has qualities that Ned appreciates and he wants his future wife to be his partner on all levels. They both recognise times are changing and not only with regard to innovations.

A Holiday By Gaslight is a delightful read and highly recommended for those who enjoy historical romances.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Hive Books | Bookshop.org

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, 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.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitter

Image by VictorianLady from Pixabay

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