Tuesday, October 11, 2022

ARC Review: The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

The Belle of Belgrave Square

Mimi Matthews
Series: Belles of London (Book 2)
Publication: Berkley (October 11, 2022)

Description: 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 Thoughts: This was an entertaining historical romance. Julia Wychwood is an heiress who suffers from severe social anxiety and who is under the thumb of her electively invalid parents. They are determined that she would never leave them through a marriage that would take her out of London. Unbeknownst to her they have turned away any potential suitors who would remove her from London and their influence.

Captain Jasper Blunt has come to London looking for an heiress so that he can restore his newly inherited estate and care for his three bastard children. He is a hero of the Crimean War but his scarred countenance and lack of funds don't make him the most eligible of suitors.

However, Julia and Jasper bond over their love of novels. He is also very helpful when the crush of society gets to be too much for her. When her parents' chosen suitor becomes overly familiar, Jasper is there to send him on his way. He also rescues her from her home when her parents call in a doctor who bleeds her twice in a very short time period leaving her too weak to leave on her own.

He takes her to his home in rural Yorkshire where she is much happier even though the children aren't immediately cordial. However, her father isn't so quick to let her go. He does what he can to hold up her access to the money she inherited from an aunt which is needed to make estate improvements.

Also Jasper is keeping a number of secrets which make it hard for them to become closer. Those secrets threaten their relationship more than her father's actions. She will have to overcome some of her fear of her parents if she wants her new life to become permanent.

I enjoyed both characters. The time period was interesting as well. Women's rights and the laws of the time have a lot to do with the plot of this story. I loved the information about the growth of novels and novel reading and the beliefs about novels that were prevalent. 

Fans of historical romances with accurate history will enjoy this story.

Favorite Quote:
"The law is a strange beast," Mr. Finchley said. "We must respect it and abide by it. Our society couldn't function if we didn't. But laws aren't synonymous with justice."

"You believe there's a distinction?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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