The second book in the Parish Orphans of Devon series is a historical romance road trip novel with an intriguing premise; can two unlikely companions travel together from London to India under false pretense to join forces to find a lost friend?
In A Modest Independence, author Mimi Matthews’ explores an improbable romance of an impertinent, strong-willed woman and an equally independent bachelor who are thrown together under eyebrow-raising circumstances. There are so many impediments to their success, on several levels, that I was compelled to discover if they could overcome all the obstacles that the author had placed in their path.
Starting in Victorian-era London, England we meet spirited heroine Jenny Holloway who has recently come into a small fortune. Determined to remain independent and never marry, she wishes to travel to India to find the Earl of Castleton, the missing brother of the woman who gave her a modest independence. Her attorney Tom Finchley, who holds her purse strings, is concerned for her safety and hesitant to release her funds so she can travel. Raised in a Devon orphanage, he is a self-made man who now has a very prosperous London practice. We were introduced to this couple as supporting characters in the first book in the series, The Matrimonial Advertisement. Tom harbors feelings for Jenny and decides to travel with her to protect her, help her find the missing brother, and explore the possibility of a romance.
A Modest Independence is not only adventurous, but it is also astounding. The historical detail of travel from Victorian-era London to British Colonial India is beautifully incorporated into the story. Their prickly relationship is at times endearing and annoying. There is a lot of back and forth in this slow-burning romance. I also appreciated the author giving us a creative story outside the usual romance trope.
I have read previous novels and short stories by Matthews which I enjoyed very much. Her writing in A Modest Independence was both smooth, and at times rough. Some of the premises and plot points required one to disarm reproof, but overall I enjoyed it. Matthews is a bright, shining star in historical romance and I look forward to the next installment in the series.
5 out of 5 Stars
A Modest Independence: Parish Orphans of Devon Book 2, by Mimi Matthews
Trade paperback & eBook, 476 pages
Perfectly Proper Press (2019)
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Cover image courtesy of Perfectly Proper Press © 2019; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2019, Austenprose.com