From the desk of Sophia Rose:
With only one other experience reading Mimi Matthew’s work, I have still come to the conclusion that she has a gift for marrying the classical to vintage historical romance. I hadn’t gotten five chapters in before my head was full of Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo or Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. No retellings here, but an engaging story of struggle, heartache, and the triumph of love.
Gentleman Jim opens on a terrifying and tragic scene of a stable boy accused of theft from his best friend, the fiery-tempered local squire’s daughter. Nicholas has born trouble from his employer’s son, Frederick Burton-Smythe, who bullies him and from everyone else because he’s the illegitimate son of a tavern wench. But, to be thrashed and then hanged for stealing Maggie Honeywell’s jewels when it was Fred? Perhaps his love with Maggie would have come to nothing since their stations in life were so different, but now escape is his only option leaving Maggie free to marry the baronet’s son as her father always wanted.
Ten years later, Maggie has endured much as a result of her father’s death. His heartbreaking will that will legally force her to marry Fred if she wants to keep the beloved family lands and her inheritance and the further clause that made Fred her guardian and have veto power over any man she may marry to get said inheritance. It is no wonder her health broke and she is a shadow of her once vibrant self. The time allotted is nearly up and her father may win his way after all.
John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare, has spent many years on the Continent, and now he has returned to England in the company of his venerable grandfather, the Earl of Allendale, who insists he settle down and take a wife. He is a matrimonial prize, but, from the moment he encounters a frail Maggie Honeywell, there is only one woman for him. The cost will be great if he fails, but he determines to see his way clear of all the obstacles including the still bullying Fred Burton-Smythe.
The characters and situations are introduced and then the story leaps forward a decade for a reset on characters and situations. Or, is there a connection to what came before? This could have been like many other Regency romances before it in that two characters are attracted when they encounter in London and at subsequent London society events. Both have competition for their hands and both have drawbacks in their homes. However, there is a swashbuckling, roguish quality to it from St. Clare’s actions and personality and Maggie’s own emerging indomitable spirit. I enjoyed the suspense of ‘is he or isn’t he’ when it comes to St. Clare’s mysterious past and I liked the journey he and Maggie took to get to the truth once and for all. The villains were such that I wanted them all to come to a nasty end and that includes St. Clare’s noxious relations. Maggie’s bestie Jane was a brick. I do love how the author slipped in some winning minor characters with their own background story going on.
Oh yes, my instinct that this had a classic connection proved true when I spotted some very familiar situations or even lines to Count of Monte Cristo. I missed the Tom Jones references since I am less familiar with it.
The romance was a growing element that had its own villain, revenge, to contend with making Maggie unsure what would ultimately win out. That epilogue was full of delicious sweetness after all that had come before.
From the well painted Regency backdrop to the sparkling three-dimensional characters and also the winding, tension-filled plot, Gentleman Jim stood and delivered. Those who have delighted in the author’s earlier books will find this has a distinctly different flavor worth savoring and those who come for the first time will see her well-stocked backlist as a joy. Sweet historical romance lovers should snag this one at their first opportunity.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
Austenprose is delighted to be participating
in the blog tour of Gentleman Jim.
Learn more about the tour and follow along with us.
Join the virtual blog tour of GENTLEMAN JIM; A TALE OF ROMANCE AND REVENGE, Mimi Matthews’s highly acclaimed new historical romance novel, November 9 through December 6, 2020. Forty-five popular blogs specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with exclusive excerpts, interviews, spotlights, or reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in Somerset, England.
- Nov 09 Relz Reviewz (Character Spotlight)
- Nov 09 Life of Literature (Review)
- Nov 09 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
- Nov 10 Savvy Verse and Wit (Interview)
- Nov 10 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)
- Nov 11 Library of Clean Reads (Review)
- Nov 11 Silver Petticoat Reviews (Excerpt)
- Nov 12 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
- Nov 12 Heidi Reads (Review)
- Nov 13 Lu’s Reviews (Review)
- Nov 14 The Green Mockingbird (Review)
- Nov 15 Bookish Rantings (Review)
- Nov 15 The Lit Bitch (Review)
- Nov 16 The Historical Fiction Reader (Review)
- Nov 16 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
- Nov 17 Inkwell Inspirations (Review)
- Nov 17 Robin Loves Reading (Review)
- Nov 18 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)
- Nov 18 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
- Nov 19 Laura’s Reviews (Review)
- Nov 20 Jorie Loves a Story (Spotlight)
- Nov 20 Foxes and Fairy Tales (Review)
- Nov 21 Gwendalyn’s Books (Excerpt)
- Nov 22 Romantically Inclined Reviews (Review)
- Nov 22 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
- Nov 22 Vesper’s Place (Spotlight)
- Nov 23 Fiction Aficionado (Review)
- Nov 23 Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)
- Nov 24 Let Them Read Books (Interview)
- Nov 25 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review)
- Nov 25 So Little Time… (Spotlight)
- Nov 27 Among the Reads (Review)
- Nov 28 Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review)
- Nov 29 Book Bustle (Review)
- Nov 30 Cup of Tea with that Book Please (Review)
- Dec 01 Nurse Bookie (Review)
- Dec 02 Confessions of a Book Addict (Review)
- Dec 02 Impressions in Ink (Review)
- Dec 03 From Pemberley to Milton (Review)
- Dec 04 Relz Reviewz (Review)
- Dec 04 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)
- Dec 05 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review)
- Dec 05 Probably at the Library (Review)
- Dec 06 The Calico Critic (Excerpt)
Gentleman Jim: A Tale of Romance and Revenge, by Mimi Matthews
Perfectly Proper Press (November 10, 2020)
Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (376) pages
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. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase. 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 © 2020; text Sophia Rose © 2020, Austenprose.com