This Chick Read: A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

Solicitor Tom Finchley was taken out of the orphanage where he grew up and apprenticed to a solicitor in London. Under his tutelage, Tom learned the Machiavellian ways of manipulation and threats that the solicitors of the time crafted. He is ready to change his ways and settle down to a quiet life as his friend Justin Thornhill has done (in book #1). While helping Justin and Helena he had met Helena’s companion Jenny Holloway and been intrigued. After having been given a modest amount of money which would allow her independence, Jenny is ready for adventure. She comes to Tom to receive those funds so she may go off to India to search for Helena’s brother the Earl of Castledon. While there having the adventure she always wanted and without the help of any man. Needless to say, Tom upsets these plans.

In A Modest Independence Mimi Matthews gives us more of a glimpse of how a woman’s life during this time in history is curtailed by who she is tied to; a husband, brother, or father. In this case Tom decides to join Jenny on her journey as her “brother” as it would not be correct for a man and woman to travel alone, despite his having hired two Indian servants to join her. Their attraction for each other grows due to the close confines, the question is how or if they will do anything about it and the societal rules that would be broken if they did. I’ll admit to finding that fascinating.

Another glimpse behind how people lived during this time is provided through Ahmad and Mira the two half Indian cousins that Tom hired as Jenny’s servants on the journey. As they are half British and half Indian, how are they treated? There are plenty of moments that show their inequality and provide great context to this time as well as help us get to know these two characters who are in A Siren in Sussex.

As an aside, part of the novel takes place in Egypt, which I am currently vacationing in and found fun to read and see through our heroine‘s eyes the sites and sounds of a Cairo That is much different than it is today.

I am again fascinated by this author’s writing style and the realism that she imbues into her story. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this novel so much without the moments of inequality, conflict, and concerns that our heroine would retain her independence. I loved Tom Finchley’s bravery in the face of this type of woman and loved that they found a way to be together. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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This Chick Read: The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon #1) by Mimi Matthews

When ex-army captain Justin Thornhill advertises for a wife in the paper he expects to receive interviews with homely widows and women of a certain rank. He doesn’t expect the beautiful Helena Reynolds. Despite his misgivings over why an obvious Lady is applying to be his wife he jumps at the chance to have this lady as his wife. It can’t come soon enough for Helena is on the run from a “bad situation” and needs marriage to find her freedom.

I was fascinated with Mimi Matthews writing when I read The Siren of Sussex and knew that I was going to read her entire catalog, starting with this series, and I am not disappointed! Our two protagonists were so interesting! Justin Thornhill was an orphan who grew up in a nearby village and joined the army to become something and earn his fortune. Captured by Indians, he was tortured and bears scars on his body and face, things that only make him more perfect to Helena as she needs a strong hero to save her. She is the daughter and sister of an Earl. Her brother may be dead in India and her cousin has taken over the Earldom. However, her brother left her all of the money. As women are property the only way she can save herself is by marrying someone. Justin Thornhill’s advertisement is the perfect escape.

Mimi Mathews gives us more than great characters in her stories, she provides historical context and facts. She also doesn’t hide from the hard truth. How women were treated, the horrible atrocities for Indians during the British colonialism of India, and more. Her books are historical romances, but they are not light on hard facts and truths, which are a difference maker when it comes to my feelings on a book. In this case, those facts were interesting, provided context, and gave our heroine’s story more conflict providing more enjoyment. I finished this novel and immediately moved on to the next, I liked it so much.

This novel was certainly a romance, so never fear if that is what you are looking for but the romance is specific to the time in history. A kiss can be just as devastating to a scene as intercourse, and be just as exciting. If you are looking for a bodice ripper, this is not that. The Matrimonial Advertisement is storytelling at its best. Great depth of character, romance, and conflict with a hero that is swoon worthy and a heroine who is bright and daring. A five star read from this blogger!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon)

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*Amazon Associate- If you purchase through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews

Evelyn Maltravers has traveled from the countryside of Sussex to the social scene in London, needing to make a match so that she and her younger sisters futures will be secure. Although she may not be traditionally beautiful, Evie knows that she needs to set herself apart in order to catch a man’s eye. She thinks her Appalusian stallion and haute couture, along with her superb horsemanship might do just that. When she approaches an Indian tailor, Ahmad Malik, to partner with her in her scheme he decides to attach his rising star to this unique and intriguing woman. What neither of them count on is their unfailing attraction and growing friendship. Can this pair from two different worlds and backgrounds face the bigotry of the upper class and find success so they can be together? This story captured my interest but it was Evie and Ahmad who captured my heart. What a fantastic novel!

I was unprepared for how I would react to a historical romance novel that delved into the history of England’s habitation and conquering of India. The narration has the reader seeing through both Evie’s and Ahmad’s eyes and it is eye opening to see how the heritage is taken for granted without thought to what those people may have gone through. Ahmad’s own background of a mixed heritage Indian man who belonged in neither India or England was interesting, revealing, and inspiring. Evie’s character growth as she comes to care for Ahmad and want to know him, his background, and what it would mean to be in his place in society took this novel to another plane of existence. I felt like what I was reading was relevant and real, not just an interracial romance novel. I actually felt Ahmad’s pain and could see why he chose the path he was on. I think it’s the first time in a long time where I was so interested in a subject that it made me do my own research and want to know more.

Evie was also a different sort of heroine. She was not frivolous or flighty, she had a plan and if it wasn’t for her growing feelings for Ahmad, she would have stuck to it. I enjoyed her own path of discovery she made about herself, her decisions about what was important, and also seeing how she came to that decision. This was not a fluffy novel, the story led our hero and heroine down some dark paths which altered the course of their lives. Sometimes you read a novel at the right time and it hits all of your sweet spots. This was my right time to read The Siren of Sussex.

I have never heard of Mimi Matthews nor read one of her books prior to picking up this novel. You can be certain I am going through her backlog and choosing my next read based upon all of my feelings for The Siren of Sussex and how this author led me down that path. Sometimes the reading gods are looking after us, aren’t they?

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.