"Fans of the ‘Parish Orphans of Devon’ series will adore this final installment, reuniting the orphans and their loves. Matthews (A Convenient Fiction) sensitively portrays a neuroatypical protagonist facing ingrained prejudices, even from friends, and how such preconceptions limits a person’s potential." -Library Journal, starred review
“Matthews once again delivers in her latest Victorian novel. Her love story is sweet and chaste, the characters well developed, and their relationship beautifully rendered.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Yet another stellar romance from Mimi Matthews, whose talent for writing heartfelt stories with fully developed characters is awesome.” -The Romance Reviews, top pick
"An ode to the Victorian era from all corners, stations and predicaments...Matthews adores the period, but doesn't shy away from its restrictions. Perhaps it is her ability to paint it so wholly--for all its good and bad--that make the series one of the most addictive offerings in the genre in years." -Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration
"There are few things more satisfying than curling up with a Mimi Matthews' novel. Deeply-felt and heart-lifting, The Winter Companion is no exception. Its sweet romance and generous spirit linger in the mind long after the last word is read." -Stephanie Barron, author of The Jane Austen Mysteries
"Mimi Matthews writes so beautifully I'll happily follow her imagination anywhere." -Kate Pearce, New York Times bestselling author
"I teared up reading, and held my breath near the end...highly recommended!" -Jane Porter, New York Times bestselling author
Clara Hartwright is a paid lady's companion who secretly studies natural science vicariously through her brother, who attends Cambridge. Neville Cross, who has a speech impediment from a head injury in his youth, avoids people at all costs, caring for horses on his friend's estate. Drawn together by an injured Dartmoor Pony during a holiday gathering, the pair see in each other what everyone else has dismissed. When a family emergency forces Clara to depart for Cambridge unexpectedly, Neville must decide whether to leave the safety of home to protect the woman he loves and bravely face the world that often unfairly correlates his slow speech with a slow mind. VERDICT Fans of the "Parish Orphans of Devon" series will adore this final installment, reuniting the orphans and their loves. Matthews (A Convenient Fiction) sensitively portrays a neuroatypical protagonist facing ingrained prejudices, even from friends, and how such preconceptions limits a person's potential.—Eve Stano, Ball State Univ. Muncie, IN
A young man must overcome insecurity to seize his chance at true love in Matthews’ latest romance novel.
The fourth installment of the Parish Orphans of Devon series finds former orphans and longtime friends Alex, Tom, Justin, and Neville reuniting to celebrate the holidays at Greyfriar’s Abbey, Justin’s Gothic home perched on the cliffs of Devon. Neville, who lives a quiet life at the abbey with Justin and his wife, is happy to have his friends and their families in attendance. But he’s also overwhelmed. Neville suffers from a brain injury caused by a childhood accident, and though he is physically and intellectually unimpaired, he struggles to turn his thoughts into words. His friends have all found love and moved on. But Neville is stuck in a prison of his own making, preferring the company of animals to people. Things change for Neville when he meets Clara Hartwright, a lady’s companion who arrives at the abbey in the company of the elderly aunt of Tom’s wife. Clara begins to help Neville take care of the horses, and a tentative friendship forms as they each share their budding hopes and dreams. However, their nascent romance is jeopardized by difficulty in Clara’s personal life. A scandal from her past and troublesome family problems resurface, demanding her presence and attention. Neville must choose between the safety of his familiar surroundings and an unknown future with a chance at love. Matthews, the author of A Convenient Fiction (2019), once again delivers in her latest Victorian novel. Her love story is sweet and chaste, the characters well developed, and their relationship beautifully rendered. Matthews also addresses the lack of educational opportunities for women of the time, supplementing her romance with a meatier storyline. Her treatment of Neville’s brain injury is sensitively handled, and it’s a welcome change to encounter a knight in shining armor who isn’t defined by perfection. In fact, the lovers stand on an even playing field, as their strengths and weaknesses balance each other. As Clara realizes, Neville “needed her, just as she’d needed him.”
Memorable characters and a well-researched history make for a charming and enjoyable love story.