Cover Image: To Capture His Heart

To Capture His Heart

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Member Reviews

You know those stories that you can just get lost in and can sit and read for hours and hours, not wanting to stop for those pesky real life things that you have to do? Well, this is one of those books. For some reason, I've always gotten a kick out of the "pretending to be in love" trope, but usually the characters don't actually like each other when they start the charade. That Eva and Nathan both secretly liked each other already was a fun twist to the story.

I enjoy a good romance, but definitely appreciate some mystery and suspense thrown in to keep things exciting. This author melds both storylines together masterfully. This is the kind of story that I don't want to end and wish there was more of it. Hopefully Charlotte will be getting her own story soon, so we don't have to leave this world behind for too long.

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Will she let her fears and past hurt hold her back when love comes knocking at her door …

My first read by the author was a steampunk story, which I loved, so reading a more classical historical romance was at first surprising but as much enjoyable.
Nathaniel and Evangeline were introduced in the previous book as the main couple’s relative or colleague. Since they have danced around one another without really taking a step further as Eva, even after years have passed, is still relying from a broken heart to keep people, more specifically men at arm-length.
Yet, when Nathan finds himself under his determined mother’s matchmaking attack, Eva is the first name that comes to him mind to halt his parent’s assault on his bachelorhood.
Thus they find themselves embarked in a false courtship both do not wish to be much counterfeit.
Eva is attracted by Nathan’s easy and kind persona, but she fears going forward might damage their friendship, why she holds back. It is not aided that as a miss working for a livelihood, she is often pinpointed as unsuitable, if not also for her too famous family’s name.

The investigation is secondary to the romance, yet it adds an edge to the story, demonstrating how in tune they both are. Their exchanges and bantering are amusing and lovely as their feelings are revealed.
Nathan is so sweet, caught between his mother’s scheme and his own heart’s desire, he soon realizes it is the perfect opportunity to see if he can win his lady’s love, why he is straightforward with her once the party is ongoing. Up to her to accept his suit.

The author delivers a charming, fun, engaging and witty tale with an edge of danger of a man set on winning his lady’s heart while she opens herself to the possibility that not all men are cads.

𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 kisses

I have been granted an advance copy by the publisher, here is my true and unbiased opinion.

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I made a deliberate choice to download an ARC with a romantic theme, and presto! I have come to another book late in a series. In this Victorian story, Nancy Campbell Allen continues the tales of Eva Caldwell. Eva is forthright, bold, a little stubborn and very independent for the era she lives in. Eva is a photographer by trade and has a connection to Detective Nathan Winston. This book, also contains a mystery among the budding romance and flirting between Eva and Nathan – someone from his past is making threats against the ones he hold dear. Nathan is also caught up in the frivolity of the moment: he asks Eva to pretend to be in a relationship with him but we really know that he is besotted by Eva. At the same time Eva’s mother is playing match-maker. They really are quite open with each other about many things and their jobs seem to inter-twine. And Eva seems to help Nathan out in any way she can with his case. I know they were pretending they were engaged and I know this was the Victorian era (cue sweet swooning) however it just seemed laboured and never went anywhere. The country party hosted by Eva’s mother was a little too dreary, and a lot of the additional characters and conversations seemed like fillers. The mystery was a little more exciting and this made up for the vanilla Victorian romance, and I put this down to missing the first book. But if you’re seeking a neat twist on a mystery, this might be for you; I didn’t realise how much of the mystery and Nathan’s case would be a part of this story, and in a way I preferred it over the romance aspect.

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An intriguing Victorian historical mystery romance!

Eva Caldwell is a photographer who occasionally works alongside the local constabulary. She’s accompanied by her sidekick, ten year old Sammy. Nathan Winston is a detective who works with her cousin Amelie Hampton Baker’s husband, Michael Baker.
There is an attraction between Eva and Nathan but neither is willing to admit to it. But now Nathan‘s mother is holding her annual week long house summer fundraiser at their family villa, Seaside.
Nathan asks Eva to attend firstly as a photographer, and secondly as a cover for him to hide behind from his matchmaking mother.
Add to this an escaped criminal from a previous case, Bernard Toole, who’s out to get Nathan’s family as payback for Toole’s sister dying from an infection caught in prison is stalking them. Already Nathan has had a black raven’s feather delivered in a cigar box. Toole wants vengeance and his targets are Nathan’s mother and sisters. The annual house party is ideal for Toole’s dark purposes.
A game of cat and mouse ensues that is both twisted and elusive. The game of love is afoot and Eva will have choices to make.
A very readable story. The attraction between Nathan and Eva is charged and delightful. A clean romance with the tension of all that is happening thrumming underneath. Eva will be called upon to show courage and open her heart.

A Shadow Mountain ARC via NetGalley.
Many thanks to the author and publisher.

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A proper Victorian (1886) romance with a light mystery. Eva Caldwell is a well known photographer and has worked with local detectives documenting crimes scenes as a side to her other work. Detective Nathan Winston’s mother wants to hire Eva to photograph a ten day party she is hosting for people of marriageable age. She’d like to see her son married as well as her four daughters. Nathan imposes on their friendship by asking that she pretend they are courting so he may be left alone by other women at the gathering. Of course with their fondness for each other the lines is easily blurred.

The mystery involves a previous case the Detective worked. One family member escaped and vows revenge. When mishaps start happening at the party Nathan’s detective side demands he investigate and keep everyone safe. Eva of course can’t help but become involved. I enjoyed Eva and Nathan’s story. I liked learning about photography in the time period and its opportunity for a women to have work not tied to a factory or domestic service.

This is the second in a series and there is at least one more of the friend/cousin group who I assume will be featured in the next book. Eva and Nathan are part of the first book but either story can be read alone. I like Allen’s writing style and the easy but proper conversations between the MCs. I will look forward to what the author writes next. Because it is clean I recommend it for any age group who enjoys romance. Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The second in the delightful Matchmaker series, To Capture His Heart is as witty, charming and engaging as the first. The author's writing style flows beautifully with 1886 historical bits and vernacular and that special something which makes my heart smile. This is a special series indeed.

Cousin Eva chooses to forge her own path in a world where women are largely ignored and those exhibiting intelligence are perceived as a threat. She pursues her passion of photography, including unladylike crime scene photography, which is fascinatingly described. Her sometimes partner in crime is detective Nathan Winston who thinks the world of her. Nathan's mother who is known for her exquisite long parties finds she needs a photographer for her next fundraising event. Eva is hired, much to the delight and chagrin to Nathan as his mother is a matchmaker extraordinaire. Nathan expresses interest in a certain someone to his mother to prevent her from using her particular set of skills. Eva and Nathan decide to fake a romantic relationship and both wish deep down it was true. I love the contrivance of any slight thing to place them into close proximity, the stolen looks, pink cheeks and utmost mutual respect. Other hopefuls gaze at them with adoration, too, but their eyes are for each other. Someone from Nathan's past interrupts and mayhem ensues. The mystery is twisty and turny but as with the first book life isn't always as perfect as it sounds which is realistic. But the romance, though!

Other than Eva and Nathan my other favourite characters are young Sammy and Nathan's independent spirited mother. The cover is indicative of what to expect inside and the ending is as marvellous as the beginning. I couldn't wait to get to the ending yet didn't want the story to be finished.

If you are even the tiniest bit interested in historical fiction, romance and mystery, this series should be on your list. I am not typically a romance fan but this series is different...the banter is refreshing and the blushes sweet, not vulgar.

My sincere thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for introducing me to this enthralling escapist series. I look forward to the next and have already imagined a few plots in my own mind!

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"I will hold you and keep you safe and love you with everything that I have and am."

I loved this story. There were so many lovely moments, and the characters were delightfully real to me. The emotion and depth that Nancy Campbell Allen weaves into her stories and writing will pull you in and keep you riveted until the end.

Eva and Nathan were so incredibly sweet together, and I was rooting for them from page one. I absolutely adored how Nathan treated Eva, and the tension and attraction between the two was deliciously fun. Their banter was entertaining, and I was constantly looking forward to the moments where they would be on the page together.

I especially enjoyed Eva and the look we got into the past as we learned about her photography and how everything worked with all of her equipment. Also, Sammy was hysterical, and he added such a fun energy to the book.

I did feel that the ending was a little rushed and that the villain could have been built up throughout the story a little more. Everything seemed a little too neat. I wanted to see more of the villain and his influences/ get to know him better.

Overall, this was a fun historical romance with a mystery/suspense subplot. I loved the writing, the setting, and the characters, and I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to the publisher for the complimentary eARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I just love this author and the light touch she has, yet her stories just pull me right in. These characters are so endearing! Eva's sophisticated yet practical nature complements Nathan's sharp intellect and protective instincts. The house party makes a fun setting. I love Nathan's sisters. They all need their own stories too. There is intrigue and suspense. Eva's 12-year-old assistant is the perfect complement to this group of friends. I absolutely love the colors on the book cover too. I can't wait for this series to continue!

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A fun mystery from Nancy Campbell Allen! To Capture His Heart will delight readers with romance, intrigue, and appearances by many well-loved characters. I will admit that the romance moved a bit too quickly at times, but I adored both Eva and Nathan. I’m definitely excited for Charlotte’s story. 4/5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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A great blend of romance and suspense. I found myself rooting for the mystery to be solved just as much as them finding their HEA. Which for me, a diehard romance fan, is a pretty big deal.
She once again nailed the Agatha Christie vibe, giving away little to no clues about the mystery and of course, the romance was delightful. Highly recommend this one!

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Nancy Campbell Allen is a favorite author of mine and book 1 in this series is absolutely wonderful. Sadly, this wnd book had some pacing issues for me that really made it hard to feel invested in Eva and Nathan's story. I will say that the last 15% is phenomenal. I'll still come back for book 3, but I really hope it redeems the series.

Thank you to the author and publisher for my advanced copy of this book. All opinions here are my own.

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'If she did not exercise the utmost care, Mrs. Winston's house party would change everything.'

Eva thinks she's attending a house party where the only thing she was to worry about is falling for the detective...when more sinister things happen it's hard to know who can be trusted and how to keep everyone safe...

'The place is full of detectives and an army of security outside." Alice nodded slowly. "And the carnival man is disguised as one of them. Or us."

Wow! If you're looking for a spectacular fall read with romance and a little bit of spooky mystery this is the book for you!! Book 1 of this series was a 5 star read for me and I wish I could give this book 10 stars-it's that good! This author did a great job of making this book a stand alone, but as I mentioned before, book 1 was the perfect intro into this series!

About the book: Seaside, England, 1886

Eva Caldwell is an accomplished and well-known photographer who often works with the local constabulary to assist in documenting crime scenes, which means she also often works alongside the handsome and charming detective, Nathan Winston. She appreciates his intellect and how he treats her like an equal, but Eva's heart is still healing from a past relationship, so, for now, she decides to keep her feelings for Nathan a secret.

One evening, Nathan arrives on her doorstep asking for a personal favor. Would Eva be available to photograph his mother's legendary, week-long dinner party and matchmaking event? The catch is that Eva would also have to pretend they are courting in order for Nathan to avoid the many single women seeking his attention.

Though wary of the charade, Eva agrees. Spending a week with the two things she loves most--her detective and her camera--sounds simple enough. And if she wants to imagine that Nathan's pretend courtship of her is real, well, what's the harm in that?

But when a criminal from Nathan's past threatens revenge on the detective, Nathan must be extra vigilant to keep his mother and the rest of the partygoers safe. He confides in Eva, and as the two work together to solve the mystery and apprehend the criminal, they find that they might capture more than they expected--each other's heart.

This is a great fake romance trope with a side of friends to more! Nathan is witty and swoony and Eva is independent and stubborn. You know when those personalities mix, fun things happen :) I LOVED the spooky mystery and suspense woven into this and couldn't put this one down until the mystery was solved. I loved all of the characters and reading this book was like playing a game of C.L.U.E.

Content: There is mention of murders and dead bodies being found. Very minimal description.

Highly recommend this one for the romantic suspense/mystery fans out there!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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If you like historical romantic suspense/mystery, Nancy Campbell Allen is phenomenal. Just in time for Halloween, though enjoyable any time.

This book had major miss Scarlett and the Duke vibes and I was here for it. I love that they had a background and weren’t starting from scratch in their relationship.
It included the fake relationship trope and was done so well. I love how it got them out of their comfort zone with each other.
I really enjoyed figuring out the mystery with them. I’ve discovered in the last year that I really love mysteries, and I liked how the mystery was present, but didn’t take over the plot of their developing relationship.
I loved the communication between Eva and Nathan. Two main characters that actually address issues! And it was completely in line with their personalities.

Overall well done. Exactly what I’d expect from The Proper Romance series and Nancy Campbell Allen.

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What a fantastic addition to this series! A delicious historical thriller full of romance, a Victorian house party, and a scheming enemy bent on revenge -- no matter the costs!

When I read the first book in this series, "The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart," my favorite characters were Amelie's cousins. I was thrilled to get the story of one of those delightful cousins, Eva Caldwell. I would start with the first book in the series as that offers valuable background into Eva and Nathan's relationship and personalities.

Eva is a fantastic protagonist with depth and courage. I admired her dedication to her career as a photographer. But also her deep sense of compassion, love, and patience with those around her no matter their social standing. Her relationship with young Sammy White is particularly lovely as he assists her in her business and feels like a son rather than hired help. I admired the way she sees the good in people of every station from her maid to the women of the house. She has experienced heartache and deep regret in her life. I appreciated moments when we saw beyond her strong, patient exterior and saw her vulnerability and softness. Additionally, her sophisticated tongue and quick wit also made her a favorite of mine. As well as her beautiful romance with Nathan Winston.

A hard working, dedicated man in his own right, Nathan is a swoony and nearly flawless co-protagonist. I enjoyed getting to know him better and getting to know his family. He has a job he loves and is kind and respectful of everyone he interacts with including his mother and sisters. Can I make a request for a sister series focusing on each of Nathan's four sisters? They are delightful and engaging; I would love to know them better! Nathan protects his family with love and intensity that should be admired. I also loved watching him admit his true feelings for Eva and the way that love and intensity includes her as well.

Nathan is a lovely compliment to Eva as he protects her and respects her. They share many admirable qualities like patience, respect for others, kindness, and quick perception to the world around them. But he also grounds Eva in ways she craves. While she is wary of romance, he jumps in and shows he cares for her in his actions and words. His love has developed gradually but is now strong and immovable. He shows that love in a myriad of ways. I love their tender kisses. The declarations of love and support. The way he always finds her in a room regardless of where she is. The way he reads her features and calms her fears. Their tender moment at her bedside. And the epilogue (thank you for that!) I loved their beautiful romance that had the right blend of tension and sighs. Theirs a beautiful relationship!

The romance is part of an engaging, fast paced thriller plot. Nathan has a dangerous enemy from a past police case who is threatening the lives of all those Nathan loves. This murder mystery is dripping with tension and excitement. Slowly we piece together who is behind a series of unnerving events like broken camera equipment, mysterious gifts, and disappearing people. I was drawn into this mystery and couldn't read fast enough. Who was behind everything and how did they connect to Nathan's enemy? I don't read a lot of murder mysteries or thrillers, but this one had the right balance of fear and hope. As well as a good balance of graphic violence and resolution. The ending is surprising and satisfying while allowing hope to continue to shine through for my favorite characters.

Overall, an exciting murder mystery that combines romance with revenge at a delightful house party setting. I hope there will be more books about these characters!

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This is a Victorian version of the pretend relationship that turns into a real love match. Throw in a mystery and you have an enjoyable read. I like that the heroine has a profession and she’s respected for doing it.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book that I received from Netgalley; however, the opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for my review.

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I have been anxiously awaiting this book since I read the first book in the series, The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart. That was my first book by this author and wondered if I’d be as enthralled with the second book as I was with the first. Well – I was. The finely honed mystery and beautiful romance are so finely twined together that you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. The writing is outstanding; the villain is a murky and twisted individual; the characters are exceptional and you’d love to meet them in real life; there is excitement galore; and did I mention the writing is exceptional?

We met both Eva Caldwell and Detective Inspector Nathaniel Winston in the previous book and since I liked both characters, I was happy to find them together in this book. It seems the two of them have worked together several times since the previous book and they have become good friends. Well – friends – yes – but – it seems each of them harbors stronger feelings, but neither wants to let them be known because they don’t want to mess up the friendship. Oh! My!

Nathaniel has just finished a grueling case when his mother lets him know, in no uncertain terms, that he is expected to attend a 10-day house party she is giving to raise money for charities. He offers excuse after excuse, but she’s having none of it. He knows this party is a way of encouraging him to finally make a match, so he tells her he is already interested in someone else. His mother, being the brilliant tactician she is, promptly calls his bluff and says she’ll invite his lady straightaway. Though he tried not to name a name, she insisted. So, now, he has to convince Eva to attend the house party and pretend they have affection for each other. How will he stand it if she agrees – and how will he make it through 10 days of matchmaking if she doesn’t agree?

Eva Caldwell loves her life. She has people she loves and who love her and she is a very successful photographer who manages to support herself very nicely. She even helps out her friend Nathaniel on occasion by acting as a crime scene photographer when the police unit isn’t available. Ah – Nathaniel – her heart warms when she thinks of him, but she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by asking for more from it. Yet, when he asks her to attend his mother’s house party as a guest and photographer, she readily accepts.

At the same time his mother’s machinations are occurring, Nathaniel is receiving threats – pretty blatant threats – against his family. He knows immediately who they are from – the lone person to escape punishment from one of his previous cases. The man’s entire family went to prison, but the mastermind escaped. Maybe Nathaniel and his family getting out of town is a good thing.

There is snakes-in-the grass at every turn during the house party and it is a delight to watch Nathaniel and Ava wade through them. With murders, attempted murders, explosions, and deceit happening at a fast pace, Nathaniel and Ava hardly have any time together – yet they manage to find their HEA.

It is a fun, exciting read and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Happy Reading!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This book was a fun read with intrigue, suspense, and love all mixed in to a delightful Victorian setting. It was a joy to read, and I can't wait to buy it so I can read it again and again.

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Pretty much perfection. Definitely my favorite Nancy Campbell Allen to date. The rate of the romance unfolding, the character development, the rate of the mystery unfurling, the red-herrings, the amazing sisters - all delivered with perfect balance. And so many good kisses! Swoon!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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This second book in the Matchmaker series would be fine as a standalone. The books feature three independent female cousins and their romantic/mystery escapades.

Eve is an independent woman, a professional photographer, who keeps her heart under lock and key after a bad fiance jilts her. But she is hard pressed to deny her attraction to detective Nathaniel Winston.

They met in the first series book, and are thrown together again when Nathaniel's partner marries Eve's cousin. Then Nathaniel tries to outsmart his mother's matchmaking efforts by telling her he is pursuing Eve (which isn't yet true) and finds himself in a bind when his mother invites Eve to her days long charity fundraiser as a photographer. He is forced to tell Eve the whole story and they dance around their mutual attraction.

But Nathaniel is worried because of the appearance of an old nemesis who is clearly stalking his mother's party and targeting guests. Is he putting his loved ones in danger? It doesn't help that Eve is fearless and throws herself into the investigation.

Great characters and particularly strong female cast. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This was a fun romance whodunit - I enjoyed getting to know Nathan & Eva better after meeting them in the first book, and I was not disappointed in their story. They had excellent chemistry, witty banter, and some steamy kisses.

The whodunit part of the story was very intriguing, and I admit I did not know who the perpetrator was in the end. It was a good mystery that ended well.

As mentioned above this is the 2nd in a series, but it stands very well on its own. I recommend this book who likes their romance on the less spicy side, with a dash of mystery.

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