I am thrilled to participate in the blog tour for Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews! When I was contacted about reading and reviewing this novel in exchange for an advance reader copy, I was immediately intrigued. There were many things about this novel that made it a great fit for me:
- Historical Romance
- Regency England Setting
- Count of Monte Cristo connections
This novel was really engaging. It fits perfectly in my favorite historical romance genre. I loved the unique elements and the connections to classics like The Count of Monte Cristo. A fun read!
- I read this novel as an ebook very quickly–in just a few days! It was fun to get into a novel that made me want to shirk all other responsibilities to finish it. I always enjoy that.
- I love how vibrant and growing the proper historical romance genre continues to be. It is always exciting for me to discover a new author like Mimi!
According to Goodreads, “She couldn’t forget… Wealthy squire’s daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it’s bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father’s estate, Nicholas is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nicholas escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nicholas never returns. A decade later, he’s long been presumed dead.
He wouldn’t forgive… After years spent on the continent, John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare has finally come home to England. Tall, blond, and dangerous, he’s on a mission to restore his family’s honor. If he can mete out a bit of revenge along the way, so much the better. But he hasn’t reckoned for Maggie Honeywell. She’s bold and beautiful—and entirely convinced he’s someone else.
As danger closes in, St. Clare is torn between love and vengeance. Will he sacrifice one to gain the other? Or with a little luck—and a lot of daring—will he find a way to have them both?“
One of my favorite narration styles is the dual perspective and this novel offers a great combination of Maggie and St. Clare’s points of view. I love getting inside both of their heads so see how their love build them up. They are so passionate about and loyal to each other. We see that in Maggie’s narration when she is constant drawn to St Clare and is willing to give up her home for him. And we see it in St Clare’s narration as he can’t truly forget how much she means to him. The narrations support each other well and build a beautiful love story.
This is a gorgeous, passionate love story that shows the power that true love has to make us into our best selves. I love how long Maggie and St Clare have loved each other and I love how loyal they are to each other. Maggie is nearly an invalid at the start of the story and in a precarious situation with her inheritance and marriage prospects. I love how St Clare helps her engage with the world again and embraces her fierce loyalty and even her temper. St Clare is seeking to distance himself from his difficult past and wants revenge on those who wronged him. Maggie helps him embrace his past as a part of his identity and move forward without defining himself by his past. True love requires sacrifice and dedication and there is plenty of both in this story. These characters are willing to give up everything to be together. Not in a cliche, immature way, but in a deeply committed way. These two truly are soul mates and their journey to being together is fantastic. Mimi writes beautifully about their feelings towards each other and creates some truly swoon worthy romantic moments. I’m getting goosebumps thinking about their waltz on the veranda and the scene when St Clare’s identity is finally revealed. Well done, Mimi!
I really loved all the connections to and elements from other classics like The Count of Monte Cristo and Wuthering Heights. I love the story of The Count of Monte Cristo. Honestly, the reference to that novel alone sold me on reading this book. The similarities to that story are engaging and subtle. St Clare is wrongly accused like Edmund Dantes and loses seemingly everything to begin the story. He seems consumed by revenge at first as well. I was relieved that Maggie isn’t married to someone else like in the original. And I loved the way she discovers his identity long before he is willing to admit it. Another review made the connection to Wuthering Heights and I like that comparison. Maggie and St Clare really are star crossed lovers and their passionate love affair in their youth haunts them for years before they are reunited. Mimi takes compelling elements from both of these classic novels and uses them to create a new and exciting story of her own.
My standard for historical romance novels is somewhat intensely high and this was a great novel with a few things that I didn’t enjoy. None of these ideas distract too much from the overall story, but they are worth noting. The beginning of the story is not as well developed as the later parts. I would have liked more development about Maggie’s relationship to her father and the estate as well as more development of Nicholas’ situation–more show rather than tell. It wasn’t clear to me why Maggie loved the estate so much and yet her father’s will is forcing her to marry Fredrick. Also it seems to be a small miracle that Maggie’s reputation remains untarnished for all the after dark meetings they have. I appreciated the clean romance but some of those encounters seemed a bit unrealistic for me. The ending could have been more complex as well. Everything comes together a bit too neatly for me.
Overall, this historical romance takes readers on a passionate and thrilling journey to discover that who you love can define who you are. A brilliant love story with engaging characters and riveting adventures. This is a novel for romance lovers and anyone who appreciates a happy ending.
Which Mimi Matthews book do you recommend?
What are some of your favorite historical romances?
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. Her next romance, The Siren of Sussex, will be out in 2022 from Berkley/Penguin Random House.