Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

From the publisher: Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things. But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as she envisioned. Her parents are outraged. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

Mimi Matthews has fast become my favorite author of historical romance novels. She is an attorney as well as an author who researches and writes on all aspects of nineteenth century history—from animals, art, and etiquette to fashion, beauty, feminism, and law. Her attention to historical facts and detail really shows in her novels. Her books are published by Perfectly Proper Press and the courtship behaviors are true to the times – no jumping into bed before marriage for her lovers.

A Holiday by Gaslight is short and sweet. According to the author’s note, it “was inspired by the social, scientific, and technological advances of the mid-19th century.” She works in plot points about gaslights, Charles Darwin, and Prince Albert. The main characters are flawed but sympathetic. Side characters like Ned’s parents and Sophie’s father and sister are frustrating but believable. I particularly enjoyed the differences between the rules of upper class courtship and courtship between members of the merchant class.

If you enjoy clean and accurate historical romances featuring likable characters and believable romantic obstacles, you may enjoy the works of Mimi Matthews. I read an advance reader copy of A Holiday By Gaslight, which will be published on November 13 and will be available for checkout at the Galesburg Public Library. We also own two previous works by the author, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter and The Lost Letter.

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