by Mimi Matthews
October 11, 2022
Genre: Victorian Historical Romance
"Shiveringly Gothic."—New York Times Book Review
A PopSugar and BookBub Best Romance of 2022!
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...
Julia Wychwood is a hostage to social expectations of the London elite as well as her manipulative parents. In the darkly mysterious Captain Jasper Blunt, Julia sees a chance to escape. Blunt desperately needs financing and legitimacy, so when Julia proposes a mutually beneficial marriage, Jasper willingly obliges. Julia assumes the duties of restoring his crumbling estate and caring for Blunt’s three illegitimate children.
This is a charming historical romance with contemporary sensibilities woven throughout. Julia is a smart, independent woman ready to take control of her narrative. Jasper is intriguing, with deep compassion simmering under the surface. The book includes intrigue and a potentially explosive secret. While fairly obvious prior to the reveal, the mystery adds interest and depth to the romance.
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances, including Fair as a Star, a Library Journal Best Romance of 2020; Gentleman Jim, a Kirkus Best Book of 2020; and The Work of Art, winner of the 2020 HOLT Medallion. Mimi’s novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, and Shelf Awareness, 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. To learn more, please visit www.MimiMatthews.com
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