Happy October, y’all!
I always feel like Anne Shirley at this time of year — “grateful to live in a world with Octobers.” Hope your fall is full of glorious weather, yummy treats, and changing colors.
I am thrilled to be sharing my ARC review of To Capture His Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen today. This is the second book in her Matchmakers series and I loved this one! What a fantastic addition to this series! A delicious historical thriller full of romance, a Victorian house party, and a scheming enemy bent on revenge — no matter the costs!
When I read the first book in this series, The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart, my favorite characters were Amelie’s cousins. I was thrilled to get the story of one of those delightful cousins, Eva Caldwell. This is my favorite book from Nancy Campbell Allen. Where some of her others didn’t quite have everything I hoped for, this one delivered! I would start with the first book in the series as that offers valuable background into Eva and Nathan’s relationship and personalities.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
This book will release on October 12, 2022.
Book Summary: “Seaside, England, 1886 Eva Caldwell is an accomplished and well-known photographer who often works with the local constabulary to assist in documenting crime scenes, which means she also often works alongside the handsome and charming detective, Nathan Winston. She appreciates his intellect and how he treats her like an equal, but Eva’s heart is still healing from a past relationship, so, for now, she decides to keep her feelings for Nathan a secret.
One evening, Nathan arrives on her doorstep asking for a personal favor. Would Eva be available to photograph his mother’s legendary, week-long dinner party and matchmaking event? The catch is that Eva would also have to pretend they are courting in order for Nathan to avoid the many single women seeking his attention.
Though wary of the charade, Eva agrees. Spending a week with the two things she loves most—her detective and her camera—sounds simple enough. And if she wants to imagine that Nathan’s pretend courtship of her is real, well, what’s the harm in that?
But when a criminal from Nathan’s past threatens revenge on the detective, Nathan must be extra vigilant to keep his mother and the rest of the partygoers safe. He confides in Eva, and as the two work together to solve the mystery and apprehend the criminal, they find that they might capture more than they expected—each other’s heart.”
Eva is a fantastic protagonist with depth and courage. I admired her dedication to her career as a photographer. But also her deep sense of compassion, love, and patience with those around her no matter their social standing. Her relationship with young Sammy White is particularly lovely as he assists her in her business and feels like a son rather than hired help. I admired the way she sees the good in people of every station from her maid to the women of the house. She has experienced heartache and deep regret in her life. I appreciated moments when we saw beyond her strong, patient exterior and saw her vulnerability and softness. Additionally, her sophisticated tongue and quick wit also made her a favorite of mine. As well as her beautiful romance with Nathan Winston.
A hard working, dedicated man in his own right, Nathan is a swoony and nearly flawless co-protagonist. I enjoyed getting to know him better and getting to know his family. He has a job he loves and is kind and respectful of everyone he interacts with including his mother and sisters. Can I make a request for a sister series focusing on each of Nathan’s four sisters? They are delightful and engaging; I would love to know them better! Nathan protects his family with love and intensity that should be admired. I also loved watching him admit his true feelings for Eva and the way that love and intensity includes her as well.
Nathan is a lovely compliment to Eva as he protects her and respects her. They share many admirable qualities like patience, respect for others, kindness, and quick perception to the world around them. But he also grounds Eva in ways she craves. While she is wary of romance, he jumps in and shows he cares for her in his actions and words. His love has developed gradually but is now strong and immovable. He shows that love in a myriad of ways. I love their tender kisses. The declarations of love and support. The way he always finds her in a room regardless of where she is. The way he reads her features and calms her fears. Their tender moment at her bedside. And the epilogue (thank you for that!) I loved their beautiful romance that had the right blend of tension and sighs. Theirs a beautiful relationship!
The romance is part of an engaging, fast paced thriller plot. Nathan has a dangerous enemy from a past police case who is threatening the lives of all those Nathan loves. This murder mystery is dripping with tension and excitement. Slowly we piece together who is behind a series of unnerving events like broken camera equipment, mysterious gifts, and disappearing people. I was drawn into this mystery and couldn’t read fast enough. Who was behind everything and how did they connect to Nathan’s enemy? I don’t read a lot of murder mysteries or thrillers, but this one had the right balance of fear and hope. As well as a good balance of graphic violence and resolution. The ending is surprising and satisfying while allowing hope to continue to shine through for my favorite characters.
Overall, an exciting murder mystery that combines romance with revenge at a delightful house party setting. I hope there will be more books about these characters!
What are your favorite Victorian set novels?
Any historical mystery fans out there? Which are your favorites?
NANCY CAMPBELL ALLEN is the award-winning author of eighteen published novels and several novellas, which encompass a variety of genres, ranging from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. Her most recent books, which include Regency, Victorian, and steampunk romance, are published under Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance brand, and the What Happens in Venice novella series is part of the Timeless Romance Anthology collection published by Mirror Press. She has presented at numerous conferences and events since her initial publication in 1999.
Nancy loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time with family and friends. She nurtures a current obsession for true crime podcasts and is a news junkie. She and her husband have three children, and she lives in Ogden, Utah, with her family, one very large Siberian Husky named Thor, and an obnoxious but endearing YorkiePoo named Freya.
6 thoughts on “[To Capture His Heart]: An ARC Review”
Ooh, I love the concept of this! A lady photographer who documents crime scenes? How interesting!
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Totally! Really neat historical details in these books. The photography is fascinating!
Excellent review! I have added the first book to my TBR. I have not read this author before.
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Thanks so much, Cindy! I hope you enjoy them! She has written many books — I’ve only read a few myself!
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Ooh, I hadn’t heard of this series before, but it sounds quite fun!
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It is a fun series! I love when we get different protagonists from the same world.