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Book Review of The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
I love reading all the time, but I especially love reading during the fall and winter. Curling up in my Minky (If you don’t know Minky, you need to!) next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book feels like a little slice of heaven on earth. As fall has made its appearance here where I live, I had the pleasure of reading The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews. Let me tell you—it did not disappoint!
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…
My Book Review:
It has been a while since I have read a romance that is not a proper romance. Don’t get me wrong—I love the proper romances (and I’ve read a lot of them)—but occasionally, a little heat can be a good change of pace. Although this book isn’t too far off of a proper romance, it has just enough extra romance to turn things up a bit.
Julia lives in London with her ill and sickly parents. Julia finds them overbearing and impossible to please. Her way of escaping from them and her anxieties is to curl up in her bed with a good novel, even if she needs to feign an illness. Julia is in her third season and still has not found a husband. Enter Jasper Blunt. He’s a big guy with a long scar down the length of his face. Jasper served in Crimea and came home a hero. The reason he needs a wife is her dowry. He has a dilapidated house and three illegitimate to take care of. The rumors abound around the notorious Captain Blunt, and most of them aren’t good.
When Julia and Jasper meet, he is smitten. Julia’s large dowry makes it easy to choose her. Julia, however, isn’t so sure. She doesn’t want to be involved in any kind of scandal or be married to a brute! Jasper keeps coming to her aid, though, and she begins to see him in a different light.
The Belle of Belgrave Square is written well. I liked the writing style and got sucked in from the beginning. Ms. Matthews has an easy writing style that allows you to feel like you are a part of the story. Another thing Ms. Matthews does well is her character development. I felt like Julia and Jasper were both developed well, had unique voices, and were authentic and real.
Just so you know, Julia and I are now bffs. She loves to read just as much as I do! I feel like we’d have a lot of fun talking books. It’s fun to relate to a character so well. She’s a little spoiled and naïve at the beginning of the book, but over the course of the story she grows into a much more mature and confident woman. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her growth. Jasper, on the other hand, is not easy to relate to, especially at the beginning of the book. He’s grumpy, gruff, kind of mean, and seems to care only about a dowry. He, too, changes and grows over the course of the story. He’s a much better character at the end of the book.
Although this book is mostly a romance, it also has a mystery. A big one. What happened in Jasper’s past that he refuses to talk about, and what does he do all day locked in his study? Hmmm…I won’t spoil anything for you but suffice it to say it’s quite the secret!!
I enjoyed reading this book! It’s a great sit by the fire and curl up in your Minky read. It has romance, mystery, a mistress, illegitimate children, chivalry, an awesome library, and lots of book discussions.
Content Rating: PG-13+ (There are a few profane words in this book–not many. There’s not any violence, either. There is, however, some “intimacy.” They discuss it, there are some innuendos, and there is a scene. The scene is brief with few details. You know it’s happening but it doesn’t go into detail. )
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.