I love Mimi Mathews and this didn't disappoint! Every time a sweet story and closed door is on my mind she is my go to!
I loved the heroine representing social anxiety.
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.
I always love the marriage of convenience trope and it was no exception in this book. I really enjoy the side characters in this series as well as the banter.
This book wasn’t as good as the first book, THE SIREN OF SUSSEX, but I was still a solid and enjoyable read.
Mini Mathews brings such a refreshing voice to regency romance. Her writing is witty and fun. I loved Julia and Jasper together so much! I appreciated the representation of social anxiety. This was very enjoyable over all and I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys historical romances with a modern touch.
The Belle of Belgrave Square is the story of Julia, a London heiress, whose marriage has been arranged with Captain Jasper Blunt, a military hero, now mysterious with a seedy reputation and lack of funds . Julia struggles with social anxiety, and her horses and riding bring her comfort. (Oh, how I love how Mimi Matthews depicts equestrianism and horses).
To her marriage, Julia brings a large dowry earmarked to dig Jasper out of debt, and in return, he must give Julia her freedom.
Jasper’s backstory provided quite the mystery, and I loved both him and Julia and their strong communication with one another. A regency with a refreshing modern feel, there were some great Gothic elements as well. Another winner by Mimi Matthews, and I’m ready for book three!
I received a gifted copy.
Calling all historical fictions fans! I freaking love this series and this author @mimimatthewsesq ! Book lovers will rejoice in The Belle of Belgraves square.
I was lucky to be given an ARC of this book to review, though I’m behind and just now getting to it. This is not my first time reading something by this author, nor in this series. I was able to read the first book last year, and really enjoyed my time with it. When I found out there was a sequel, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. This is a great historical romance story with a sweeping romance and chemistry I haven't been so invested in for quite a while.
I loved seeing Julia, who we met in the first book, really stand up for what she believes in. She was really starting to have confidence in herself, and our main male lead Jasper helped with that. And their chemistry! I fell in love with them as a couple from the first interaction of this book. Jasper has Mr Darcy vibes for sure, and I loved seeing them play out in their romance.
They are definitely some tougher subjects, especially when it comes to medical trauma and trauma from war. So be aware of those before you go in. But overall, all the normal things that one would expect from a historical romance were there and I really enjoyed every second of it.
Jasper and Julia initially met in the Siren of Sussex-Book 1 of this series. She is a wallflower who would rather read than socialize but she lives with parents who are hypochondriacs or at least always appear to be ill. So when Julia pretends that she is ill, her parents usually call the doctor who bleeds her. Her friends generally rescue her but they are out of town. Jasper needs an heiress as he needs money for his estate and children. Julia is an accomplished horsewoman and is confident on her horse, but not when she is on foot. Jasper rescues her and eventually marries her. There are a few surprises. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to read about heiresses in the 19th century.
After enjoying The Siren of Sussex, I was eager to pick up the next book about the Belles of London.
This book focuses on Julia, the socially anxious heiress of two invalids, and Jasper, the tall and dark “Hero of the Crimea”, who is in desperate need of a fortune for his crumbling estate. Despite Julia’s initial fear of him, she finds herself drawn to Jasper, and in a desperate bid for freedom from her parents, proposes that they marry - her fortune in exchange for more freedom than her overbearing and often cruel parents allow.
While I really enjoyed the first half of this book, I found my attention waning throughout the second half. It was *quite* a slow burn, and I knew really early on what the “big secret” was going to be. The ending wrapped up a bit too quickly considering how slow the middle felt. I’m most excited for Anne and Hartford’s story, so I will be reading the next one - which I hope has more spice.
I love the recent trend of interesting women in historical fiction! This is a solid entry into that subgenre.
A delightful historical romance with echoes of assorted fairy tales, especially Beauty and the Beast (my favorite). Julia is a desperately shy London heiress who proposes a marriage of convenience to the huge, scarred Captain Jasper Blunt. He agrees, but with ominous conditions: never ask about his past, and never enter the locked tower room at his crumbling Yorkshire estate. But as Julia and Jasper come closer, the secrets of his past threaten to swallow them both.
This was a lot of fun, with enough twists and surprises to keep me guessing. There are precocious children, vast libraries, and galloping horseback rides enough to satisfy any romance reader.
Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC to review. All opinions are my own.
Julia Wychwood is a hostage to social expectations of the London elite as well as her manipulative parents. In the darkly mysterious Captain Jasper Blunt, Julia sees a chance to escape. Blunt desperately needs financing and legitimacy, so when Julia proposes a mutually beneficial marriage, Jasper willingly obliges. Julia assumes the duties of restoring his crumbling estate and caring for Blunt’s three illegitimate children.
This is a charming historical romance with contemporary sensibilities woven throughout. Julia is a smart, independent woman ready to take control of her narrative. Jasper is intriguing, with deep compassion simmering under the surface. The book includes intrigue and a potentially explosive secret. While fairly obvious prior to the reveal, the mystery adds interest and depth to the romance.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had the heart of a lot of historical romances, but with some interesting drama that I don't see as often. It was fast paced and the hero was swoon-worthy. He is exactly as you imagine a hero to be, with grand gestures, yet broody controlled reactions.
There was confusion and secrets that led to some drama, but not in an annoying way. And Matthews laid enough clues throughout the book that the reader was aware when the heroine was not. It was not frustrating as some of those books can be.
The characters were fun and the plot exciting. I am definitely going to have to delve into everything else she has written.
This is a frothy little book; I try to read a romance or two in February and I liked the horse on the cover. :)
This is one of those Beauty and the Beast type books where the hero is scarred and has a scary reputation but he's really nice if you'd just get to know him and our bookish heroine and he like talking about novels together, so they are a match!
I liked Julia just fine, but I had a hard time believing her as a character. Far from being the belle of Belgrave Square, she is close to being a spinster at the age of 23 and with two failed Seasons behind her. She has social anxiety and rarely ventures out, preferring the company of her novels, unless she is forced to go. By the way, it's too bad that the age difference between hero and heroine remains so great- he is nine years older than her. I always find it difficult to believe that our hero could be fascinated by the views of a girl almost a decade younger than he is who has almost no experience of the world, just opinions about the books she reads. Julia, having never stood up for herself in her life, has no problem with asking this formidable man for what she wants and is quite open and prosaic in her expectations for their relationship. She is never afraid of him, despite his reputation.
Also, for a girl with anxiety, Julia seems to all too easily overlook issues with her beau. He has a reputation for cruelty, having flogged his men without mercy in the Crimean War? He says he's a different person now, so that's all right. He has three illegitimate children that he supports in his Yorkshire home after he abandoned their mother during the war? Well, he says he's a different person now and she believes and trusts him.
The first half of the book takes place in London as our romantic pair negotiate their relationship. The second half of the book takes place in Yorkshire at our hero's crumbling estate. I sort of preferred London. For all the forboding of a gothic hall, the estate turns out to be perfectly comfortable. Julia has no servants but she is naturally beautiful so she still looks fresh as a daisy. The three children honestly could have been skipped entirely except that one of them gives Julia an excuse to do something that moves the plot along.
This is not a steamy romance. Eventually there is sex but it's well into the book and is fade to black. And sadly, there's not really that much about horses in this book either despite the cover luring me in. I'd say this book is a fine way to spend an afternoon if you need something light (and it filled the bill for me there) but I wouldn't seek out this author again.
Loved it from start to finish! Quite different characters and story from the first in the series but same fluid and enjoyable writing style and another well researched window into Victorian life.
Oh how I have been waiting to read this book. First of all, I read the first book of the series and was immediately smitten. With the characters, with the writing, everything. Second, I have heard a log of readers talk about how amazing it is, and while I expected that to be the case, I guess I needed to find out for myself. Third, Matthews can write a swoony hero y'all. And boy did she ever.
Jasper Blunt. If for no other reason, read this book for him. He is everything I wanted him to be a more. For a guy who has a reputation of being harsh, cruel and more, he sure did surprise me. The chemistry between him and Julia is perfectly executed. Their discussion of all things bookish was such a joy to read. It was just a historic man saying that it's ok for girls to read books, he actually talked about all the books with Julia because he had read them. I mean what more can a bookish girl want?
How about love, compassion, the way he saves her in one scene (I mean total swoon moment there). Oh goodness I could go on and on. Their relationship may have been about convenience on the outside, but you could see both of their hearts - they were smitten from the beginning. And so was I.
I enjoyed that we got to see them in the "courting" stage (even though they weren't truly courting each other), and adjusting to life as a married couple. Not only did it make it a more well rounded story, it just made it that much more enjoyable. I honestly didn't want it to end. The tension. The romance. The kisses. More tension. More chemistry. I want more!!
And then Matthews hits you with not one, but two plot twists! Ok, so the one I figured out pretty early on in the storyline, and the other I figured out after some time, but it didn't make it any less enjoyable when I found out with the rest of the characters. It explained so much about the characters it affected (sorry no spoilers!), and boy did it make me love them even more.
I'm not sure how Matthews could do better then this. This is my new favorite of hers. Jasper is for sure my favorite hero of hers, and is probably top ten of all my heroes. Do yourself a favor and go get this book right now and start reading. Trust me when I say you will not regret it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Book 2 focuses on Julia and Captain Blunt. Julia comes from an interesting household with parents that are quite over the top about illness and ailments. While Captain Blunt is a ruthless war hero with a rumored herd of bastards. How can the kind and shy Julia find happiness with a man of such reputation.....is it worth the chance if the alternative is even worse??
Their marriage of convenience is not simple but oh so worth it. Julia and Jasper learn their true identities together, not just who they are together but who they are as individuals. We also see some of the amazing friends from book 1 which add even more depth to the story.
I am usually a girl who reads steamy historical romance and this one is not that BUT I didn't even care. Matthews world building, characters, and story are so well written and well developed the steam wasn't important. I mean I'll never say no to steam but honestly this story is perfect the way it is. The plot is also one that is quite unique, which is always a very welcome surprise!
Do you ever really know the person you are married to? Julia is riddled with shyness and social anxiety. She'll even endure a bloodletting from her parents' quack of a physician just to stay home from a ball. Her hypochondriac parents want her to marry a horrid old man only because he lives nearby and she can spend the rest of her days taking care of them. Jasper, a scarred war hero, surrounded by rumors of his violence to his men during the war and his supposed house full of bastard children is having a hard time finding an heiress bride. When Jasper saves her from her despicable parents, Julia realizes she needs to take charge of her own life. She proposes to him. He can have her dowry if she can read and ride her horse as she pleases. Secrets, a decrepit house on the moors, blood letting, a disfigured war hero with secrets. It's all here. Whatever you do, stay out of the tower! A gothic romance you will enjoy.
I thoroughly enjoyed Julia and Jasper's story. It has shades of Beauty and the Beast, Blackbeard, and The Blue Castle , but is still very much the story of its two main characters and their deliciously slow burn romance.
I loved that Jasper was able to truly see Julia, in a way that up until that point only her close friends did (the other "belles" of the series, of course). The reader will probably see the clues about Jasper's past (and present, for that matter) a bit before Julia does (truly, how did he think he would keep it from her for any amount of time?) but it's still rather thrilling to figure it out. Even more thrilling is watching Julia come into her own, finally standing up for herself and those that she loves.
The author's note at the end was alternately quite interesting and truly terrifying--don't skip it! As always, reading well-researched historical fiction always makes me quite grateful to live in the time period we do, in spite of all the other craziness that is going on right now.
I haven't read the first book ( The Siren of Sussex ) yet, but this one worked fine as a standalone. The other series characters--the "belles"--play small roles here, with most of the emphasis on Julia and Jasper.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
It's been a while since I devoured a book in a couple of days. The Belle of Belgrave Square captured my interest from the first page. Mimi Matthews created two unforgettable characters that I felt a kinship with. Julia is a bookworm who suffers from social anxiety. (She and I could have been best friends.) Jasper is a misunderstood war hero. He has a fearsome reputation, but he is not what he appears to be.
Jasper needs an heiress to restore his crumbling estate and a mother for his illegitimate children, and Julia needs an escape from her hypochondriac parents. I am not sure her parents understand the meaning of love. Their interests center upon themselves and their comforts meet at the expense of their daughter. The pair strike a bargain and a marriage of convenience is formed.
The story has a degree of complexity. Mimi Matthews drops hints about Jasper's secrets. He is very private about his past and is not willing to share many aspects. Julia has a vivid imagination and tries to fill in the blanks. All of the elements lead to a satisfying love story with a hint of mystery.
The marital relations between the two contain a lot of innuendoes. There are "fade to black" love scenes that keep the story on the clean"er" side.
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Beauty and the Beast-esque - yes, please. This is a fun novel but you really need to not think too deeply about it / the writing. It's enjoyable for what it is. Recommend as a nice, weekend read.