I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Mimi Matthews’ latest release The Belle of Belgrave Square, courtesy of Laurel Ann Nattress.
Miss Julia Wychwood would be perfectly happy left to her own devices – riding her horse, Cossack, and reading, her two most favourite pastimes. Unfortunately for her, she was compelled to attend society events, despite her proclivity to panic in company, which in turn led to a dread of social events. She didn’t even have the comfort of her best friends as they were out of town. Her low self esteem was due in a large part to her selfish and hypochondriac parents who used her as their whims dictated. Sometimes she went as far as feigning illness herself to avoid social invitations, but the consequences of that were hard to bear and actually not very good for her health.
Her parents were well-known invalids, prone to all manner of fancies. Their elegant town house in Belgrave Square played host to an endless stream of doctors, chemists, and an ever-changing roster of servants.
Ex military and battle scarred with a reputation for cruelty, Captain Jasper Blunt was on the hunt for a rich wife. His estate in Yorkshire was in dire need of restoration and he had children to care for. However, he begins to realise not just any heiress will do. Julia Wychwood intrigues him. For her part, Julia longs to be free of her parents, as well as the prospect of marriage to a much older, lecherous Lord. Julia and Jasper meet by chance on several occasions and to her surprise Julia discovers they share a love of books.
He’d learned many things about Miss Wychwood in the past several weeks, enough to know that marrying her and whisking her away to Yorkshire was going to be anything but simple.
The Belle of Belgrave Square is a captivating historical romance, with elements of Beauty and the Beast. Julia is a sympathetic character, finding comfort in books, and confidence when riding Cossack. Initially uncomfortable in Jasper’s presence, his love of books and attitude towards her, begins to engage her feelings and she is drawn to him. Might he be the answer to her problems, and she the answer to his? It would be a marriage of convenience but she could live with that…couldn’t she?
I love the burgeoning relationship between Julia and Jasper, how it evolves and, despite the secrets Jasper is keeping, the chemistry between them is strong. Julia is so much happier in Yorkshire and her personality and strength shine through. However, everything doesn’t run smoothly and it’s good to see Julia rise to the challenges she faces. Both characters are fleshed out well as their backstories are incorporated into the narrative. I’ve enjoyed Mimi Matthews’ books very much and this is no exception.
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…
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.
Mimi’s social media…
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READ AN EXCLSUIVE INTERVIEW WITH MIMI MATTHEWS
Discover intriguing insights into The Belle of Belgrave Square and Mimi’s writing life in this exclusive interview at austenprose.com.