Love at first sight…
There are girls who believe, every morning, that this could be the day that changes their destiny. Mary Buchanan was one of them. She was mistaken, though, expecting it today. Destiny would not call her until Tuesday—and meanwhile, there was breakfast.
Mary Buchanan has bigger worries than the radical journalist next door who’s spoiling her father’s digestion: unrequited love for a footman, a fractious aunt, patiently awaiting her destiny… She’s certain he’ll be handsome.
Then she meets the reformer, journalist Samuel Brown. Destiny is closer at hand than Mary has supposed—if she can just get Mr. Brown to realize it.
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About the Author
I was born in Alberta, Canada, and I’ve lived here ever since. I attended the University of Alberta, choosing a ‘practical’ degree in health sciences, and married my husband, Jeff, along the way, just after my twentieth birthday. At thirty I had three busy children and one busy husband. I decided it was time to take a break from my common sense career. Since I was chucking practicality anyways, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to write fiction. I’ve counted fictional characters among my best friends since my mother gave me Pierre Berton’s The Secret World of Og for my sixth birthday, but this was the first time I let myself invent my own characters and take them past the first few chapters. If I had known writing would be this addictive, I might have shied away. I do love it. So far, I’ve only written historical fiction, but I grew up devouring mysteries and someday might try my hand at one of those. The biggest downside I’ve found to writing is that I have less time to spend immersed in my favorite books. I'll read anything by Eva Ibbotson and Georgette Heyer, I love history (especially the history of science) and I've recently discovered Dorothy Dunnett. Don't try attempting the Lymond Chronicles without the published guide!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
To say Mary Buchanan leads a boring life could be considered somewhat of an understatement. She spends her days trying to keep her father's temperament in check and fetching powders or laudanum for her Aunt Yates' migraines and other 'ailments'. At almost 18 years old she hasn't had a season and doesn't seem to have any type of social life unless you count attending church. Although her father seems to be a busy and well respected doctor the family seems to live quite frugally, if the descriptions of Mary's clothing and her Aunt Yates routinely taking inventory and thorough inspections of the household are any indications. As Mary's father is very conventional, naturally he's against political reform, and he also seems to dislike the Chinese. When Samuel Brown, a 'radical' journalist, moves into the house next door Mary's father is extremely displeased since they already have Mrs. Chin (Miss Pearl) living on the other side of them. Mary first meets Samuel Brown when she's inadvertently locked out of her house (she isn't allowed a key) in a downpour, and finds she's instantly attracted to him. His best friend, Neil Murray is quite rude to Mary in an effort to dissuade her from pursuing Samuel. Mary's only outlet seems to be drawing and she starts drawing pictures of botanicals for Mrs. Chin. Later she anonymously leaves political cartoons at Samuel's house which leads to Mary secretly working for The Times. I really felt for Mary--she seemed to simply be tolerated by her father and aunt, but came into her own once she started drawing the political cartoons. She accepted the way her family treated her for what it was and something she couldn't change but made plans to use her drawing talent to make money so she could move out and live on her own. I'm not sure how I feel about Samuel--he was very devoted to the cause of reform but it seemed he was unable to give that much devotion to a wife. His best friend (and brother-in-law) Neil had good intentions for keeping Samuel and Mary apart, but came on a little too strong. Mary was very young and Samuel was probably her first crush--Neil didn't have to treat her as rudely as he did at Mrs. Chin's house that one morning when she rushed home in tears. It serves him right that he would turn around and fall in love with her himself. Lol. I don't know why the character of Pearl is called Mrs. Chin in this book, but I found her as mysterious as ever. This is the last book in the Power of the Matchmaker series and although I haven't had the opportunity to read all of them, I'm sad to see the series end. Jaima Fixsen is a new author to me but I enjoyed this book. There was a surprise towards the end that I definitely didn't see coming. This is a clean romance.
When I first started reading this book, I was less than impressed, but it quickly improved beyond my initial expectations. I loved the contrast of Neil's real worth to Samuel's flashy self-absorption. Yet Samuel, like all the characters, was merely imperfect; I loved that there were no true villains, no one nearly as bad, cold, hard-hearted or manipulative as they might seem or might have been. While at the same time, no one was unrealistically angelic. The people were real. And though misunderstandings and neglect were rampant, I loved that the characters were able to repair - to have relationships and respect their differences. I loved Mary's growth over time (many years wonderfully), providing a realism infrequently taken advantage of in modern books. And of course, Mrs. Chin was a spectacular treasure of a character! If only to have one's own Mrs. Chin... This is the first book I've read by Fixsen, having just recently been introduced via A Holiday in Bath. I enjoyed that novella, but was unprepared for the literary and human worth I found in The Reformer. I relished reading this book due to it's truth, it's historical gravitas, and it's recognition of human imperfection and humor. I particularly admired the uncliched balance of women's potential absorption and abilities in the meat of the times with their roles in society and personal desires. I admired the avoidance of anachronisms and the dignified handling and acknowledgment of physical, carnal desires and drives. Truthful yet clean. Very good writing. I hadn't previously found her other books' topics particularly inspiring, but now I look forward with anticipation to reading them! I particularly was struck by the Author's Note and reference to L.M. Montgomery. Literally, I have always felt and said that I could aspire to no better goal, if I were to write, than to create a world like Montgomery's worlds - inhabited by ordinary people with their laughter and sorrow, mistakes and feats. Yet I've never heard or read of anyone else feeling quite that way. So my heart was gladdened to find a kindred spirit, who loved and appreciated Montgomery's writing as I did. Fixsen indeed achieved a taste of Montgomery's style and skill in her writing. Wonderfully melding it with her own style and unique story - and with delightful shades, at least to me, of my other, later favorites - Georgette Heyer and Elizabeth Gaskell. And of course, I was ecstatically happy to see a recognition of Valancy, who is my heart, and Rilla, who is my Emma. The only addition I would make to the list is Pat, who is me.
Each book in this series can stand alone, although I recommend reading the very first book to get a feel for who the matchmaker is and how she came to be. Mary is an oppressed young woman, living with her doctor father and his sister. She is very stifled and a chance meeting with a handsome neighbor opens her eyes to life and causes her to start to spread her wings--in a rebellious way. Samuel is a reformer and that's very attractive to Mary. His best friend, Neil, and another neighbor, Mrs. Chin (whom I assume is Pearl--I wish her pearl comb would have been mentioned), along with servant, Annie, help shape and mold Mary into the woman she is meant to be. With Mary's new freedom, she longs for love and has a couple of options--although it takes her awhile to realize what they are. Her true passion, aside from her growing love of politics, is her drawing, which she uses not only to support herself independently from her old-fashioned and controlling father, but to put her mark on the Reformation. I like Samuel and his head-in-the-clouds ways and his encounters with the doctor are funny, in a ridiculous way. Neil is argumentative, yet supportive, and I couldn't decide if I liked him or not. Mrs. Chin is sweet and wise and a very good inspiration for Mary. I loved watching Mary blossom and gain strength. I loved watching character relationships develop, especially as the plot reached the pinnacle of the government crisis. I really enjoyed this last book in this series, but wasn't expecting such a politically historic tale. I'm sad to see it all come to an end and I'm really happy to find another new-to-me author through this series. Content: mild-moderate romance (kissing, innuendo); mild language (several cuss words); mild violence, due to the Reformation. *I received a copy through eBooks for Review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*
I had a harder time getting into this book and never really connected with the characters. Mary’s life is very sheltered and her father and aunt do not treat her well. I felt for her, and liked seeing her grow and find her self-confidence, but never felt invested in her story. I didn’t feel like I ever got to know Samuel, beyond his passion for the reform movement. Niall annoyed me in the beginning, but grew on me as the book went on. I did like the way things ended. The romantic relationships are clean, but there is some innuendo and the heroine turns to a book to learn about sex and some of the physical responses are described. In my opinion, it wasn’t necessary. I’ve read nine other books in the series, and all have been very clean, so I was surprised to see those things included. The Power of the Matchmaker series is now complete. It has been fun to read these books and see the different techniques Miss Pearl uses to help couples find love. In this book, Miss Pearl is never actually called by that name. She goes by Mrs. Chin, and is Mary’s neighbor. I really enjoyed her part in the story. I received a complimentary copy of the book. This review contains my honest opinion.
The Reformer may have had a rough start, but became increasingly intriguing. I was captivated by the unique historical story in the background. It is very refreshing to have an unique part of time replayed in fiction. Jaima did an amazing job with her characters. Their depth made them believable and their growth was plausible and real. The romance between Mary and her true love was delightful to watch unfold. Truly a deeply moving novel about becoming yourself amidst trials and finding true love over convenient love.