Matthews (Fair as a Star) charms with this Regency tale of love, mistaken identity, and revenge. Maggie Honeywell, heiress of Somerset’s Beasley Park, has pledged her love to Nicholas Seaton, the bastard son of a scullery maid and the infamous highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Nicholas’s nemesis, Frederick Burton-Smythe, accuses Nicholas of theft, Maggie helps him flee for his life and promises to wait for him to make his fortune and return to her. Ten years pass. Now Maggie is financially dependent on Frederick as the executor of her father’s will and years of illness and mourning have left her physically weak. But her spirit remains unbridled, so when she learns that the Viscount St. Clare has challenged Frederick to a duel, she makes a late-night visit to St. Clare’s estate to ask him to call it off. Upon meeting the dashing Viscount, Maggie becomes convinced that this aristocratic gentleman is her childhood friend in disguise—a fact he strenuously denies. There’s no denying the chemistry between them, however. But with Maggie’s inheritance and St. Clare’s earldom at stake, the pair must decide how much they’re willing to risk to be together. The plot is exhilarating, complete with mystery, adventure, and plenty of shocking reveals. This page-turner shouldn’t be missed. (Self-published)
--A KIRKUS BEST INDIE BOOK of 2020--
"In her latest yarn, Matthews serves up a savory blend of suspense, erotic infatuation, and marriage intrigue. Her characters are sharply drawn and captivating with lots of Hogarthian quirks; her scenes of balls, drawing-room manners, and vaporous anxieties over deportment are full of piquant details; and the dialogue is tartly elegant...A vigorous, sparkling, and entertaining love story with plenty of Austen-ite wit." -Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
"Matthews ups the ante with a wildly suspenseful romance, filled with scheming and betrayals, and featuring a courageous heroine in fragile health paired with a hero bent on retribution who isn't too good to be true." -Library Journal, STARRED review
"Matthews (Fair as a Star) charms with this Regency tale of love, mistaken identity, and revenge...The plot is exhilarating, complete with mystery, adventure, and plenty of shocking reveals. This page-turner shouldn't be missed." -Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
"Readers who love lots of intrigue and historicals that sound properly historical will savor this one." -NPR
"Matthews demonstrates that even a frothy Regency romp can carry rewarding emotional heft. Gentleman Jim is an utter delight." -Historical Novel Society
Nicholas Seaton is rumored to be the illegitimate son of the infamous bandit, Gentleman Jim. When Nicholas is wrongfully charged with theft, only his childhood friend Margaret Honeywell, daughter of a wealthy squire, believes he is framed. Margaret helps Nicholas escape and vows to wait for his return. Ten years later, Margaret is slated to marry bullying neighbor Frederick Burton-Smythe, who controls all her finances and land. In a bid for freedom, Margaret visits a friend in London and meets the handsome John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare and heir to an earl, recently arrived from Europe. Margaret swears St. Clare is Nicholas, which he adamantly denies lest he be proven illegitimate and lose the earldom to a distant, malicious cousin. St. Clare intends to gain back his inheritance and seek Margaret's hand, believing there's a way to win both. VERDICT Best-selling author of the "Victorian Romantics" series, Matthews ups the ante with a wildly suspenseful romance, filled with scheming and betrayals, and featuring a courageous heroine in fragile health paired with a hero bent on retribution who isn't too good to be true.—Eve Stano, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN
A put-upon heiress pining for a lost love triangulates between a villainous guardian seeking her hand and a mysterious nobleman in this Regency romance.
Maggie Honeywell used to be a headstrong hellion who scandalized British high society by riding and shooting as well as any man and batting away countless proposals. Alas, by 1817, the 26-year-old has lost her health to flu complications and is about to lose her fortune unless she marries the loathsome Frederick Burton-Smythe. He was given control of her fabulous Beasley Park estate in a will and gets to keep it unless she marries someone he approves—namely, himself. Worse, Frederick has foolishly challenged the Viscount St. Clare, the best shot in London, to a duel over a card game, and if he dies, her assets will be forfeited. Maggie appeals for mercy to St. Clare, who sports over 6 feet of lean muscle and “lazy, masculine grace,” but when she gets a good look at his face, she faints dead away. He’s the spitting image of Nicholas Seaton, the bastard stable boy she fell in love with 10 years ago before Frederick framed him for theft and he ran off to find his father, the notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. St. Clare ardently woos Maggie but denies that he is this Seaton fellow, all while fending off sly distant relations with a claim to his inheritance and pointed questions about his parentage. St. Clare feels flustered; Maggie feels gaslighted; and the jealous Frederick intensifies his controlling behavior and tries to assault her in a carriage, stopping only when a masked highwayman emerges from the darkness. In her latest yarn, Matthews serves up a savory blend of suspense, erotic infatuation, and marriage intrigue. Her characters are sharply drawn and captivating with lots of Hogarthian quirks; her scenes of balls, drawing-room manners, and vaporous anxieties over deportment are full of piquant details; and the dialogue is tartly elegant. (Frederick: “If you’d exert yourself to be sweet to me on occasion––” Maggie: “I shall exert myself to slap your face if you don’t let go of me.”) Maggie and St. Clare’s amorous scenes are passionate but don’t unnecessarily drag out the mechanics; the two make for captivating romantic leads whose personalities are as magnetic as their looks.
A vigorous, sparkling, and entertaining love story with plenty of Austen-ite wit.