To Capture His Heart
by Nancy Campbell Allen
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Pub Date 12 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 25 Oct 2022
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 211 members
I love the way Allen writes a story! You get a little action and adventure, some good history and a sweet amazing romance! Their story starts in The Matchmakers Lonely Heart. You can read this independent of that, but why would you! That one was so good too:} Nathaniel is awesome! I loved his little smile and his honesty! Eva is an independent female who has been hurt before and is not going to fall for any man:} These two have such a lovely story. I always like Allen's mystery and action she writes into her books. She really does it so well. Just loved everything about this story.
Proper romance with no religion.
I loved everything about this! The plot seemed unique and original with the photography business. There was mystery and intrigue, a house party, fake dating and swoon!
I really loved Allen’s first book in the series, The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart, and I was so happy to see there would be another book in the series! This can be read as a stand alone, if you were to read it out of order you wouldn’t be lost as it recaps things from the first book.
I loved Eva and how she was a strong independent women. She didn’t back down from the other ladies present and she is a loyal friend but willing to be vulnerable. Nathan is as dashing as any hero can be and he loves his family. Which is even sweeter! He went to such lengths to keep them safe but there’s always something or someone to undo carefully laid plans.
Pretty much the moment I saw the arc available on Net Galley, I downloaded it ASAP. This book doesn’t release until October 2022. And now that I want the next book in the series which means I’ll have to wait even longer 😅
I love Allen’s work and she continues to show she’s an auto buy author for me. These are my own thoughts and opinions.
Content: death, mild depictions of blood and injuries, brief fighting
TY Netgalley and Shadow Mountain for the ARC!
I haven’t read the first book in this series, which is all good! It follows the regency/historical romance series format where you jump to new protagonists in each installment. Now I’ll definitely check out the first one :)
Overall, very cute - found family, friends to lovers, fake dating… all under the umbrella of a murdery mystery (?) house party. (fyi - this series is not spicy)
This book checks the boxes - the only reason I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars was because I felt like once there is finally a moment of, “hey, I love you,” it was not totally clear. One MC was still in doubt, which was out of character even considering her past. So just a bit sticky.
BUT IT WAS CUTE. we love cute
To Capture His Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen is a great historical fiction/romance that I truly enjoyed.
I enjoyed Ms. Allen’s previous book, The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart, so I was excited to read this one. I enjoyed it just as much.
This takes place in England 1886. I just love that timeframe, and the author does a wonderful job transporting us back to the Victorian era. The descriptions of the culture, society, and background were spot on.
This book has a lot of wonderful elements: mystery, suspense, romance, history…it all wraps up nicely into a charming and relaxing narrative.
I love the Author’s take on the relationship based on “business” and agreement that then turns to romance. Eva and Nathan work well together professionally and also romantically. Their chemistry is obvious to us readers, it just takes a bit for the characters themselves to figure it all out as well. They both bring something different to the table and it complements one another well.
I loved the pacing, storyline, and I enjoyed the satisfying ending.
Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 10/12/22.
I didn’t want this book to end. I love the house party trope, especially when there is intrigue and family dynamics along with the romance. This combination makes for a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.
The books in the Proper Romance series are the perfect blend of romance and mystery. To Capture His Heart has great characters. I fell in love with Detective Nathan and adored Sammy, the former street urchin turned Eva’s photography assistant. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this engaging series.
Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved "The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart," so I was especially excited to read Nancy Campbell Allen's new addition. This was just as spectacular! The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this thrilling read! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
I really enjoyed this story and, as always, Nancy Campbell Allen did not disappoint! Her writing style is fun, fast paced, and enjoyable, all of which this book is! I love her characters, they are relatable.
Eva is a strong, independent women. She is a photographer, running her own business, something still frowned upon by society, but she does not care. She loves her work, especially since is means, as times, she can be in the presence of Detective Nathan Winston. With little hope or designs to even catch his eye beyond her professional abilities, simply being able to work with him is enough.
Nathan has been in love with Eva since the day he met her and her independent personality. But that is just it, she is independent, there is no way she would be interested in him. However, when forced by his mother to attend another house party where available young ladies will be in attendance, he fibs and tells his mother his intentions lie with Eva. Forced to invite her to the house party, to be a guest and a photographer, he admits his folly and she agrees to go along with the idea of being a smitten couple. However, mystery abounds when signs from a criminal from Nathan's past show up at the house party.
I really enjoyed this book once it picked up a bit! It was witty, compelling, and romantic all in one and I liked it!
This is a sweet romance with a little crime thrown in. I was attracted to the book by the hero & heroine's backgrounds - she is a photographer and he is a police detective with society connections. But I didn't think it fulfilled it's potential. The characters were rather bland and seemed very generic without much depth. They chose such unconventional professions, I would have expected more complex personalities. Even the crime solving was without much suspense. It just felt as if all possible spice or edges to both characters and plot, which would have been natural given the situation, were flattened out. I guess it was all much too sweet for me so maybe it's just a matter of taste..
Nancy Campbell Allen makes me laugh. Eva has depth and she struggles with things but she doesn’t let it stop her from living her life. Nathan is a dream, he cares about her and is honest with his feelings.
I loved this book even more than the first one!
To Capture His Heart features photographer Eva Caldwell and Detective Nathan Winston, both of whom readers will remember from the first book.
Following the happy nuptials of their friends, we meet Eva and Nathan again. Both of them are trying to ignore their affection for one another - and they’re both failing miserably.
When Nathan mistakenly tells his mother he’s interested in courting her when she resurrects her matchmaking schemes a fun take on the fake lover trope unfolds.
This was a quick paced read for me and equal parts intriguing and entertaining. I only wish the mystery elements and action had been longer!
This book was provided by Netgally and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an honest review. All of the thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is a quintessential Victorian murder mystery romance book any fan of Veronica Speedwell and Sherlock Holmes will absolutely love.
There is a perfect balance of mistery plot line and the romance that follow it.
I loved this book so much I have a few questions :Where is the world has this books author been hiding from me? Are there more?
Eva and Nathaniel have cured my book slump in their persut for love and crime solving and I I'm hooked on it.
When is the next one coming out and can I get it now?
5 stars alllll around (would give it more)
Nancy Campbell Allen's "To Capture His Heart" follows "The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart". Evangeline Caldwell, another Hampton cousin, mixes work with a "pretend" romance with Inspector Nathaniel Winston. A colleague of the first book's protagonist, Nathan unravels an interesting murder-mystery with the help of photographer Eva.
The action unfolds at a house party hosted by Nathan's mother, an "entertainer extraordinaire". By throwing together a couple of "mean girls", charming sisters and intriguing gentlemen, Christine Winston has the makings of a successful and memorable (read infamous) house party.
Characters, likable or not, are all well-drawn. The villain was thankfully not obvious to me. Banter is lively and witty, and the then-tedious process of early photography is described. This short novel is clean and there are few grammatical errors. As always, Nancy Campbell Allen's prose is lovely. Charlotte Duvall, the remaining Hampton cousin, hopefully gets her own story.
Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC of this enjoyable novel.
I read "Secrets of the India Orchid" a few years ago and, from then on, i was hooked on Nancy Campbell Allen's books. Oftentimes period romances feel like the same story over and over again, but Nancy Campbell Allen's always feel fresh, especially with her knack for creating interesting settings and quirky characters. I couldn't wait to read "To Capture his Heart" and it was everything I'd hoped for!
Nate and Eva have worked together for a year as a detective and photographer. They are interested in each other, but neither has spoken of it due to personal reservations and fear that it would ruin their friendship. Nate's mother announces that she is going to host a house party, and in an attempt to prevent other women from spending the entirety of the party trying to catch his eye, Eva agrees they will feign feelings for each other. A criminal from Nate's past comes back to haunt him, an angry young woman tries to pull Eva and Nate apart, and the pair realize they wish their pretend relationship was more real than either realized- definitely an eventful house party! The relationship between Nate and Eva felt so realistic and sweet. It was full of communication and maturity- something I feel often lacks in "clean romances" sometimes. The criminal who was back to get revenge did not feel like an afterthought, but rather an integral part of the story, which is often another complaint I have in romance driven books.
I loved "To Capture His Heart," and I cannot wait to read the next installment in this series! Highly recommend to anyone who loves clean romances or period pieces.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The story is rather fast paced yet doesn't seem to feel rushed in any way. The tension and suspense the looms in the shape of Mr. Toole's haunting presence acts as the perfect catalyst to spur the reader into a sense of urgency upon reading. We're also provided with the cruelty and drama of the social setting which adds another layer of tension to the situation that equally drives the pace forward.
Our heroine is intelligent, caring, and daring, Evangeline (or Eva) who works as a portrait photographer in a time where women were relegated to just a handful of “appropriate” jobs outside of being a wife, mother, and running a home. She's fast on her feet and smart as a whip and uses her problem solving abilities often. She's content in her life without a marriage yet not devoid of want for a romantic love. And like Nathan she looks out for those around her and takes all under her wing if they should desire it.
Nathan is the the stereotypical elder son and head of his family, and bachelor who loves his job, Nathan doesn't love the idea of a marriage. Well at least now the idea of marriage unless it's to Eva it seems. He is a detective and friend to the photographer, their mutual respect laying the foundation for his affection to blossom. Nathan is a good son to his mother, going as far as to appreciate and understand her genius in it's entirety and crediting the success of the family to her, and a good brother to his sisters. Nathan looks out for everyone, especially those who are in a position where they cannot do so themselves or have had a difficult time in the past.
I absolutely adore that the story truly reads like an old romance novel. It adds such a romantic aura to the experience as well as creating an entirely enveloping atmosphere. Allen transports you to 1886; her time researching the time period showing beautifully as she paints the setting of Seaside, England. Just as charming as the author's writing style is the dialogue. It's engaging and each character has a clear personality that shines through. Even the minor characters such as Nathan's mother's dialogue encapsulates who she is and fleshes her out to make her feel just as real as everyone else. It truly shines through in regards to the main cast especially.
This is the first book I've read by Nancy Campbell Allen and at thirty four percent I know in my heart that she is an author with whom I share a kindred spirit. Her writing is compelling and heart felt and beautiful. Not only that but her writing feels familiar and easy to read. I feel as if I've picked up a letter from a friend sharing her story. I will most definitely be looking forward to reading the rest of Allen's works and recommending “To Capture His Heart” to anyone who will listen.
This is a very quick read. The characters are very likable and their romance is easy to root for, plus fake dating is a top-tier trope. Fans of regency romance and mystery will enjoy it.
Wonderful characters and story.
A captivating book showing another side to this era. Evangeline, Eva, is a single woman working as a photographer at time when women simply didn’t do that kind of work. In the past she had been called out to photograph a crime scene and while there had met Nathaniel, a police officer. Soon they were spending more time together as Nate’s partner and Eva’s friend married. So, when Nate is cornered by his socialite mother to attend a house party with the obvious goal of finding him a wife while also introducing his sisters to society, it was almost natural to claim an interest in a woman to protect himself from the unwanted plans. When pushed by his mother for more information about the woman, including a name, he names Eva. Quickly Eva is invited to the house party not only as a participant but to photograph the proceedings and Nate must explain to her why she was invited and why he needs her presence as a deterrent if not protection. Unfortunately, Nate not only has to be on his guard for one particular young woman trying to trap him into marriage but he must also watch his family since he has made an enemy among the criminal population and he is out for revenge. This book is fast paced and engaging with characters that will touch your heart. A great read. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.
After reading the first book in this series (multiple times) I was so excited to read this and let me tell you it did not disappoint t. It was an absolutely delightful read. I loved the mystery, adventure and most especially the romance. It was fun with catch up with Michael and Amelie again too. I can’t wait for Charlotte’s story. Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.
I love Nancy Campbell Allen and her books! To Capture His Heart was just as great as I expected. Nancy’s very good at writing romantic suspense. I couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened and until Eva and Nathan had their happily ever after.
Eva and Nathan were so cute together. I love when things happen that I did not expect and one surprise was the great communication between Eva and Nathan. It was refreshing. They didn’t exactly keep things from each other and if either of them thought to keep a secret, those didn’t last long because they’re both are overly observant.
Read it for the:
- friends to lovers
- fake relationship trope
- mystery subplot (and twist!)
- intriguing cast of characters
- house party setting
Final rating: 4/5
Content overview: clean. No swearing, no explicit scenes
Trigger warnings - murders
Heat level - sweet romance with kissing scenes
Evangeline Caldwell is a talented photographer with graceful collected demeanor. Because of her career and connection to Scotland Yard via her cousin, She has worked with Detective Nathan Winston often on crime screens, and an easy friendship and respect developed between the two. Also growing was an attraction that both were hesitant to address. An unexpected opportunity in the form of a house party allows for Nathan and Eva to explore a relationship beyond friendship. They only need to avoid the dangerous criminal bent on revenge against Nathan.
This was a lovely romance with a dash of mystery. The main plot focused on the relationship between Nathan and Eva. Eva had to overcome past hurts and decide what she wanted in life to allow herself to see Nathan in a light other than friendship. This played off well with Nathan’s character, who knew exactly what he wanted. The progression of the romance felt natural. Both had great chemistry with each other.
The back drop of a house party was entertaining as you are introduced to new characters like Nathan’s sisters and mother. They brought a humor and light hearted touch to the story.
This is the second book in the series but can be read as a stand alone without missing any details. However, I liked seeing characters returning from the first book to see how they were getting along.
The mystery was great, and the plot twist and reveal of the villain was a shock to me. I enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen to next.
Overall, I enjoyed the read and would recommend to anyone looking for a romance with a side of mystery.
Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book ahead of publication date. Although an ARC was provided to me, This review is my own, and will be shared on other platforms.
Friends who actually do legit like each other from the previous book, Eva and Nathan, agree to fake an interest in each other to save him from matchmaking at his mother's house party. Meanwhile, a previous case from Nathan's past presents dangers. This fell slightly short for me, maybe it's the difference between listening to the audio version of the previous book and reading this one, but I feel it lost momentum in some parts. A few too many moments of the house party and not enough of the mystery plot. The characters are likeable and the writing is solid, it just dragged a bit for me. I also prefer when I have at least a chance of pinpointing the villain in a mystery, and because of how it unfolded, I didn't see how I could have predicted the villain. I still look forward to the next book, Charlotte and I assume Ellis(?). Just under four stars for me, entertaining enough for a quick read, but I'm not sure I'll remember it in a couple of months. I received an ARC from the publisher and netgalley for review.
I was going to tag this a historical mystery, but after finishing the story, I thought it was more a HR with light suspense.
DI Nathan Winston was such an endearing hero; a kind and good man who truly loved Miss Eva Caldwell. He did everything properly because he didn’t want to scare her off, not knowing that she was learning of her love for him. His actions and words spoke volumes. I enjoyed his character and wish more authors would learn from this.
I really wish I read The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart, the first story in this series, because this is where Nathan first met Eva.
If you can handle kisses-only, a sweet H and a little bit of a mystery, consider reading this romance. Next, I look forward to Charlotte’s story.
Thank you to NetGalley, Nancy Campbell Allen and Shadow Mountain for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.
This was a fun read! I enjoyed the first book and I was excited to see that there was going to be another addition to the series. To Capture His Heart is the second book in Nancy Campbell Allen’s Matchmaker series.
This was such a sweet book to read! The characters are easy to read and connect with. I adored both Eva and Nathan. They both felt like complex characters, but I loved getting to know them. Eva was so strong but she was also weary of others. I loved seeing her strengths and reading about her falling for Nathan. Nathan was sweet, I adored his relationship with his family. He was trying so hard to protect those he cared for. It was cute to read about him falling for Eva and trying to protect her.
I enjoyed the blend of mystery with romance. I was on the edge of my seat trying to finish the book! Eve and Nathan were getting to know each other at the party all the while trying to stay safe. Nathan and Eva would have to come together as they face a criminal from Nathan’s past.
I liked this one even more than the first book. I loved the characters, the story, and the romance. The side characters were fun and I hope that Nathan’s sisters get their own books! I would definitely recommend this book, it can be read standalone but it is so much more fun to read in order. To Capture His Heart is a clean historical mystery romance.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.
TO CAPTURE HIS HEART by NANCY CAMPBELL ALLEN is a delightful historical thriller that is full of romance and suspense and with an exciting plot.
Starting with beautiful photograper Evangeline Caldwell and her young assistant Sammy White, handsome detective Nathan Winston, his four practically identical sisters and his mother Christine, and going on to the less savoury Blanche Parker and Mathilda Dilworth, there is an interesting array of characters.
Mrs Christine Winston arranges a ten day house party with allkinds of entertainment at her Seaside holiday home, inviting an interesting group of young people, as well as her two best friends The only way Nathan can face the ten days surounded by young ladies who are only too keen to change his bacherlor status is if he pretends that he and Eva are romantically involved. This charade, together with the news that the criminal, Bernard Toole, is in the area and is after his family, keeps him on his toes……
I highly recommend To Capture His Heart as a most enjoyable read.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
I really liked this one, even more than the first!
Eva and Nathan have known each other for some time, from their mutual friends and in a professional capacity. They feel an attraction but haven't done anything about it so far.
This all changes when Nathan asks Evan to come photograph his mother's house party and pretend to be courting him. The new dynamic is just what they both need to move their relationship to more.
I also liked the mystery they try to solve, the criminal mind and the others with nefarious intents, and the way these situations escalate while bring Eva and Nathan together.
Catching up with old characters was also a treat.
I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
This was a solid second book in the Matchmakers series! I enjoyed the few glimpes I got of the characters from the first book. And it was wonderful to dive into Eva and Nathan's story. I loved the chemistry and banter their two characters had with each other. I was also happy to see that the author didnt use any misunderstandings between the two to further the story--they were always a team and always had each other's backs. Eva is such a strong loyal character. And they had some sweet kisses. The only thing that I struggled with at times was the pace of the story--it had some slow spots.
“"Continue saying such things to me and shall drop to one knee this very moment and profess my adoration." He meant it as a jest. Of course, he did.”
A house party, a thoughtful meddling mother, a chance to win over Eva’s heart and a criminal seeking revenge, what could possibly go wrong for Detective Nathan Winston?
To Capture His Heart was a fun sequel to The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart. This book focus on Detective Nathan Winston, who we meet in the previous book. And his crush Eva Caldwell, a up and coming photographer. Nathan’s mother is doing a house party and Nathan doesn’t want to deal with some of the party goers advances and convinces Eva to come and pretend to be interested in each other. Which we all know how well that goes. Lol.
I did really enjoy getting to know Nathan and Eva better. They were so different from the main characters from the previous book. Nathan is charming, lighthearted and a dedicated work. Eva is calm and caring, but knows how to put someone in their place. Eva has been hurt in the past which does cause a small problem for Nathan. But he doesn’t let that stop him from showing/proving to Eva he loves her.
I think my only problem with this book was that I thought the person seeking revenge on Nathan would be more of a prominent part of the book and it was more of a subplot. Yes it all tied together nicely but I was expecting more. This made the book seem a little slow at first. It was still enjoyable once I got over the realization the book was gonna focus more on the house party and Nathan and Eva falling in loved.
This book can be read as a stand alone.
Thanks NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for the ARC. These thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was a fun and entertaining story. I loved all the characters from the get go. I found it so refreshing how open and up front Nathan was about his feelings for Eva because I hate it when the main plot line is a miscommunication of some sort and this did not have that. I always enjoy a good mystery, too. Most of the action happened near the end but it was worth the wait. All in all, a great book and I can’t wait to read Charlotte’s story.
Very clean story but there's a fizz of passion just from touching hands. A thriller when a villain is stalking the hero, heroine and young companion. I didn't guess the baddie so that says something.
A quick delightful read. My only negative was I didn't think the head of the police force in Victorian times would have been called Director.. Wikipedia tells me https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Metropolitan_Police that Commisioner and Superintendent sounds a better name.
I enjoyed the writing and will look out for more of the author's work.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I received this ARC thanks to NetGalley. I absolutely loved this book. It combines by love of history, romance, and mystery. I loved the main characters and the plot was fun and fast-paced with the right combination of mystery and romance. If you love mysteries, historical novels, or romances you will want to read this book.
This series is so fun. I really enjoyed the first book and this one was no different. Eva and Nathan are a super cute couple who like each other from the start. they were both so insecure in their feelings and I loved the way he was patient with her, The only thing I didn't love about their relationship was how we just jump into it with no backstory. Even in the first book, nothing is specifically mentioned about their attraction to one another. But other than that they were great together and I loved the building of their relationship, even if it was a little quick.
The villian was interesting and I wish that story could have been explored a little more too. But all around I felt the premise was believable and it kept my interest for the whole book. There is a little bit of suspense, yet nothing overdone. This is a fun, not too serious, quick read, which I will find myself re-reading again and again. Loved it I can't wait for the next installment. I will recommend this to my friends, for sure!
I received a copy from Netgalley for my honest review of the book.
Review posted via GoodReads.
Eva Caldwell is a popular photographer. She occasionally assists the police by stepping in for their crime scene photographer. Detective Nathan Winston is drawn to Eva and has worked with her in the past. When he accidentally let it slip to his mother that he admires Eva, she decides to set the two up as a match. Nathans's mother is now throwing a 10-day party and matchmaking event. Best of all she hires Eva to photograph the event. Eva and Nathan join forces and pretend to be courting for the duration of the party but when Nathan's enemies are after them, the fake relationship could turn into more.
I loved this novel! It reminded me of the tv series 'Miss Scarlet and the Duke'. I love a good historical fiction that includes the love interests working together. I would absolutely recommend this book to family and friends.
I love a Victorian setting almost as much as I love a good house party, throw in a fake relationship trope and what more could a girl want? This was a fun mash up of a lot of my favorite things and I enjoyed the cheerful wit and candor of these characters. The mystery thread becomes more prominent as the plot progresses, as did the romance! I enjoyed the setting of the house party and thought it provided a fun backdrop of a variety of activities for the characters as the reader untangles the mystery and watches their romance blossom. There were admittedly a few surprises that I didn’t see coming and the conclusion was thrilling and dangerous! I enjoyed this Victorian Romance!
After reading the first book in this series by Nancy Campbell Allen called The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart I decided that Regency romance mysteries were my new favorite genre. This book has not changed that opinion at all!
Eva is a woman of her own making. She is a photographer who makes a living taking portraits and sometimes photographing crime scenes. She also secretly admires Detective Inspector Nathan Winston.
Nathan is not interested in the female gentry his mother wants to throw him together with at her annual fundraising house party. To get his mother of his back he tells her of his interest in a photographer and recruits Eva to the house party to play at being his love interest as well as to photograph the event.
What I loved about this book was that I never did guess who the real bad guy was. It had a bit of a Clue vibe where I continued to wonder Who Dunnit?? Ms Allen has created the perfect blend of romance, history, and mystery. It was fabulous!
I also loved the chemistry and romance between Eva and Nathan and how it didn't drag on throughout the entire story. We got to enjoy their romance and feelings during the story and the sneaking around scenes were so so cute!
I loved how after the first initial encounter with Mean Girl Blanche, Eva started to stand up for herself. She didn't wait for Nathan to rescue her. She was confident and outspoken and strong. Eva can be summed up with this perfect quote:
“My mother had a saying, Mr. Smythe— loosely translated, it is this, ‘A man who finds himself threatened by a woman is not truly a man.’”
This is a must read (after you read The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart of course, if you haven't already)!
Things to know about content: no language, some violence (but not graphically described), and some kissing.
Thank you Netgalley and Shadow Mountain publishing for the eARC. All opinions are my own.
This book is the second in the Proper Romance Victorian Series by Nancy Campbell Allen. I liked the first one, but really enjoyed this one about Eva Caldwell and Nathan Winston, the handsome Detective Inspector. He has been enthralled with her from the beginning. She knows her heart is involved but doesn’t want to be hurt again. They work together from time to time as she photographs crime scenes, as he investigates those crimes.
Things change when Nathan’s mother plans her annual house party for charity and matchmaking. He tries to tell his mother he is in love with someone so she will not require his attendance. His mother isn’t persuaded to let him stay home but keeps asking details about this woman he describes. He is unintentionally describing Eva and he knows he is in trouble when his mother wants to extend an invitation. Like all house parties with single people, there is attraction, jealousy, fun, and some intrigue. Nathan is highly sought after, and he uses his attraction to Eva to deflect attention from his single state. This story is sweet, smart, and mysterious. Your mind is always working to figure out the different people and their motives and actions. It was a fun read that kept me thinking about it at times I was doing other things. It is a clean, sweet romance that will make you smile, while providing some intrigue and mystery to add to the fun. I will read this book again and again.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are voluntary and unbiased and are completely my own opinion.
This was a fun, engaging, escapist historical romantic suspense that leans farther toward "romance" than "suspense" in its genre distinction--unlike the first book in this series. I am a previous fan of Allen's writing and this series in particular, and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to explore Eva's love story. Eva, Sammy, and Nathan were all wonderful characters, the side characters all felt distinct and interesting, and I enjoyed the romance setup (a multi-day house party) quite a bit. However--I cannot help but compare the "suspense" elements to the excellently plotted and paced first book (The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart), and herein lies my mild disappointment with this book overall. I should preface these criticisms with the fact that I DID thoroughly enjoy the book, I just did not love it.
The mystery/suspense element felt entirely removed from the overarching plot of the novel for the bulk of the story, and this disconnect is especially felt in the first half. The reader is not introduced to the villain and his crimes immediately (as in the first book) but is instead Nathan info-dumps his history with Toole in a lengthy internal monologue several chapters into the book after the romantic set-up has already been established. For the majority of the story, Toole does not feel like an urgent threat because the reader is told--not shown--his crimes, and we are never given a clear picture of his motivations beyond "revenge". Right up until the final confrontation at the end (particularly with the way the suspense plot wraps up), Toole never feels like a fully-fledged character, which in turn makes the suspense elements feel ham-fisted and out of place. The catty interpersonal dramas between female characters felt far more high-stakes than the actual murder and intrigue, and the bulk of the build-up to Toole (beyond his one(?) actual crime before the climax) simply involves repeated mentions that Nathan has increased security. In the first book in this series, Radcliffe and his dastardly deeds are a constant presence throughout, so the two "halves" of the story feel seamless. Here, it felt like the reader had to be constantly reminded through dialogue about Toole's looming threat because he wasn't actually present in the story enough to feel threatening. The final confrontation with Toole also feels absolutely hand-waved, and he remains non-threatening, non-lethal, and non-essential right up until the end.
I will be continuing on with this series simply because the first book was so phenomenal--and I desperately want to see Charlotte's story! I just could not help but feel a little bit letd0wn by this entry.
Thank you to NetGalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
"To Capture His Heart" was a very enjoyable book. It's been a while since I read such a good a 19th-century romance!
Coming after "The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart", this second book follows characters that were introduced in the first book of the series. Eva and Nathan, a photographer and detective, have known each other for a while thanks to their work, which sometimes overlap, but they've never dared show their feelings to the other.
On the occasion of a house party organised by Nathan's mother, both protagonists get to know each other better - indeed, they've had many meaningful dialogues, which was appreciable as it really shows why both characters are well suited to each other. I also particularly enjoyed that all characters were well-developed, including secondary characters such as Nathan's sister. And our two protagonists had real depth and were not two-dimensional, as they had, for instance, days when they woke up irritable or became grumpy because of lack of sleep...
The romance was enjoyable, well-written, and took most of the book, while the intrigue (following the one that began in the previous book with Mr Toole) was interesting and a welcome addition to this house-party based book. It added a bit of spice and mystery!
Lastly, I appreciated understanding more of late 19th-century customs, habits, the increased independence of women... And it was especially interesting to learn how they made photographies at the time!
Overall, a great 19th-century romance that I would recommend.
*I received a free eARC and this is my honest opinion*
My oh my… this was so cute and wholesome. It took me a while to get into the setting and the story. (I haven’t read „The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart“ which is book 1 in the series) But I instantly fell in love with Nathaniel Winston! Eva was such a great character and they had amazing chemistry. I love a good houseparty trope and his family was just chef’s kiss!
If you love friends-to-lovers, simping, fake dating regency style and a little investigation YOU HAVE TO READ THIS.
Eva is a well known photographer and often works alongside the detectives Michael Baker and Nathan Winston. When Nathan approaches her to come with him to his mother’s week-long dinner party, she agrees out of friendship. But friendship soon turns into more…
I admit I am a junkie for Nancy Allen Campbell's books. I love her fairy tale steam punk series, and I love this new series.
We first met Eva in The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart. She is a photographer, a woman assured of herself, living with her Aunt and one cousin now as another cousin was just married. She has done some work for the police department and has worked with Nathan Winston many times over the past year.
Nathan is a gentleman, who desired an occupation. His family supports this but also wants to see him married. And Eva keeps catching his eye!
So, throw in a house party, a felon who wants revenge for his family's incarceration, mean girls, intrigue and the recipe for success is created.
This is a fun read, well written, with likeable and unlikeable characters! You root for the good, and the bad may surprise you!
Romance and mystery are mostly balanced (with romance pulling into the lead just a bit), in a very satisfying story with two likable leads.
Eva Caldwell has worked hard to make a name for herself as a photographer, and her skill has not gone unnoticed - she's even called upon to photograph crime scenes when the need arises. The work is good, and the company, a certain Detective Nathan Winston, is even better. So when Detective Winston asks her to pose as his beloved for a week, she's thrilled. But a criminal from one of Nathan's past cases has arrived seeking revenge, and Eva isn't sure what's more difficult - solving the case, or keeping her true affections for Nathan in hiding.
I love a fake romance trope, and I love a romance where the characters are honest with each other. I know these sound like opposing ideas, but Nancy Campbell Allen has somehow managed to make both of these ideas come to the table in an extremely satisfying way. The two leads are very easy to cheer for. Eva is smart, complex, and empathetic. Nathan is thoughtful, clever, and modest. The two of them feel SO very meant for each other, and their chemistry feels very natural.
Supporting cast are all interesting, with Sammy being an easy favorite. I often approach books about "strong female lead" types with trepidation, because they so often fall into the "not like other girls" trope as well. I am pleased that this is not the case here, with several women of varying natures and distinct personalities. There are definitely a couple catty types, but they are presented as an outlier. Nathan's mother, in particular, is a delight.
The mystery unfolds at a quick pace, and I absolutely ate it up. This is definitely more a read-along mystery, rather than a solve-along, but the reveal felt like it was reasonably hinted at, and the twists all made sense.
This book is a spinoff of another one. While the previous book isn't necessary reading, newcomers do have a little bit of catching up to do, and the first few chapters are packed with a lot of information to be learned in a short amount of time. Once you catch up, though, it's very smooth reading from there. I had a great time, and I will definitely be seeking out the author's other works.
The second book in the Matchmaker series, To Capture His Heart may be read as a stand alone but reading the first book in the series, The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart, will only enhance your enjoyment of this one. Both are terrific.
Eva is one of three cousins in Victorian England who swell spoken ladies but not shrinking violet’s. Determined to stand on her own two feet, Eva becomes an accomplished photographer, suffragette and a young woman who speaks her mind. When the three cousins encounter a grisly murder (see book 1), they also meet two of London’s highly regarded Detective Inspectors. Nathaniel Winston has been intrigued by Eva when they first meet and she ends up taking a crime scene photos on the aforementioned grisly murder….something unheard of for a genteel Victorian lady.
While Eva and Nathan’s journey begins in book 1, it is the focus of book 2. Nathan’s mother wants him to join her and his 4 sisters at their annual , ten day summer house party for charity. Of course, she’s invited some eligible young ladies in the hope that Nathan will finally marry. In desperation to stave off any marriage-minded ladies, Nathan blurts out that he’s already formed an interest in Eva….of course his mother immediately invites her to be a house party guest and photographer for the festivities. Now, Nathan only has to convince Eva that they act smitten with each other to keep up the façade….or is it truly a only pretend? Intrigue, murder and stolen kisses make the house party fun, dangerous and life altering.
This was a great story to read. I loved the storyline and the characters, definitely recommend this book!
An utter delight from start to finish.
The friends to lovers and fake dating tropes are two of my favorites and author Nancy Allen Campbell combines them with panache. Eva and Nathan know each other through Amelie and Michael (THE MATCHMAKER’S LONELY HEART). Their feelings for each other have grown, but both are afraid of ruining their friendship. That is until Nathan’s mother wants him to attend a house party with eligible ladies. He says his interest is already taken and then he and Eva have to pretend; which isn’t too hard for either of them. Add a criminal who wants revenge on Nathan and you have one interesting house party.
The romance is sweet but very satisfying. Lots of delicious kisses (poor Eva is irritable if not kissed). Eva is a photographer and self-supporting; Victorian feminism is always wonderful. Nathan chooses to be a police detective rather than use his family’s money. The mystery is just sinister and twisty enough to keep it interesting without making the story dark.
It is a thoroughly delightful book that you’ll want to read again.
This story is set in Victorian England in 1866. Eva Caldwell is a young woman with a most unusual occupation for the time - she is a photographer who also photographs crime scenes for the police. In this book, she is asked a favor by a friend, a detective: he would like her to attend and photograph his mother's annual weeklong house party - and also pretend that they are attracted to each other. His mother is determined to marry him off and he is equally determined to avoid her matchmaking. Of course, there isn't need for pretense on either side. I really enjoyed the slow development of their romance and the fact that they were middle class rather than nobility.
There is an unexpected complication - one of Nathan's enemies is determined to do him harm. If you are a fan of slow burn romance, mystery, and Victorian England settings, then you will enjoy this book. This is book 2 of a series, and I was able to follow this one although I had not read book 1 - although I intend to.
Thanks to the publisher Shadow Mountain and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. It was my pleasure to read and review this book.
To Capture His Heart | Nancy Campbell Allen
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and Netgalley for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
To Capture His Heart is where Agatha Christie and Bridgeton collide. Seriously. I loved it.
This book is the second of Nancy’s series “Matchmakers” and you can read as a stand alone or after you have read the first one, “The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart”. I, personally, read it as a stand alone, however, am eager to read the first book as well.
As soon as I saw the cover art of this book, I HAD to read it!
Nancy Campbell Allen has written a nice, easy read with great chapter flow and the sprinkle of suspense you are accustomed to in a classic whodunnit; an addictive page turner. If only I could endure a mid-week all-nighter, but early morning starts had me like🤦🏼♀️
The bonus to this novel is the underlining romantic story between main characters Detective Nathaniel Winston and charming photographer Eva Caldwell, traditionally told as it would occur within the societal customs in the Victoria era. Stealing glances, hushed whispers and the proverbial catch ups in the various closets and pantries. Love those slow burn vibes.
Nancy Campbell won bonus points for me when the “ton” was mentioned in this book, the Edgar Allen Poe references and the strong and empowering secondary characters, especially the Winston sisters.
A great read and am looking forward to reading previous and hopefully 🤞🏼, upcoming instalments of the “Matchmakers” series.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is a well written blend of mystery and romance. The main characters are well drawn with an enjoyable cast of supporting characters.