Review: RETURN TO SATTERTHWAITE COURT by Mimi Matthews
Updated: Apr 11
ABOUT THE BOOK: A reckless Victorian heiress sets her sights on a dashing ex-naval lieutenant, determined to win his heart as the two of them embark on a quest to solve a decades-old mystery in USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews's sequel to her critically acclaimed novels The Work of Art and Gentleman Jim.
Lieutenant Charles Heywood has had his fill of adventure. Battle-weary and disillusioned, he returns to England, resolved to settle down to a quiet, uneventful life on an estate of his own. But arranging to purchase the property he desires is more difficult than Charles ever imagined. The place is mired in secrets, some of which may prove deadly. If he’s going to unravel them, he’ll need the assistance of someone as daring as he is.
At only twenty, Lady Katherine Beresford has already earned a scandalous reputation. As skilled with pistols as she is on horseback, she’s never met an obstacle she can’t surmount—or a man she can’t win. That is, until she encounters the infuriatingly somber Lieutenant Heywood. But Kate refuses to be deterred by the raven-haired soldier’s strong, silent facade. After all, faint heart never won handsome gentleman.
From the wilds of rural Somersetshire to the glittering ballrooms of early-Victorian London, Charles and Kate embark on a cross-country quest to solve a decades’ old mystery. Will the greatest danger be to their hearts—or to their lives?
REVIEW: Since I first read Mimi Matthews’s The Matrimonial Advertisement in 2018, I have been one of the first in line to read her historical romances set in the Georgian and Victorian eras. I’ve been eager to read Return to Satterthwaite Court as it is a sequel, of sorts, promising favorite characters from both her The Work of Art and Gentleman Jim novels.
Charles Heywood has left Her Majesty’s Navy, and he’s ready to start a quiet life as a country squire. However, he needs to make amends with his family—the disagreements left with his father plague him still. His mission: repair relations, look for a place of his own, and perhaps marry. On his way home to Heywood House in Somersetshire, he delays in London only long enough to buy presents. After rescuing a stray dog from being run over in a busy street, Charles encounters a lovely young woman.
There was an air of strength in the winged arch of her mink brows and the firm line of her jaw. It was softened only slightly by the voluptuous curve of her mouth and the fetching cleft in her chin. A cupid’s thumbprint, he’d sometimes heard it called. The sign of a bold and sensuous nature. —Chapter 1
Despite the immediate attraction, Charles hurries home to the country, taking the half-starving street dog with him.
After spending another unsuccessful Season in Town, Lady Katherine Beresford encounters the only gentleman to pique her interest. Her family name carries a certain degree of rumor, and her parents hope that an agreeable match might temper some of the whispers. Nevertheless, Kate longs to marry for love.
“I’m tired of playing society’s rules. They weren’t designed for a lady’s happiness.” –Chapter 9
And this handsome stranger seemed heroic and not at all interested in London airs—making him all the more attractive to her.
A bit of investigation and she discovers his name is Charles Heywood, who his people are, and that his family's estate is not far from her own. Once at home for the Yuletide, she decides to put herself in his way.
“I promise," Kate said, “to do nothing more scandalous than what might have done yourself when you were my age.”
Her mother’s mouth curved in a dry smile. “That, my darling girl, is precisely what I’m afraid of.”—Chapter 9.
When Charles greets her cooly, she discovers he received a menacing letter, and he believes she sent it. Kate is determined to aid Charles in discovering who sent the letter and why, all the while with a mind to win his affection, even if she must pretend to be his wife while they immerse themselves in the intrigues of his ancestral home of Satterthwaite Court.
Kate impulsively reached up to smooth his hair from his brow. He stilled at her touch, but he didn’t object to it. “A wife’s privilege,” she said. –Chapter 13
Though several favorite characters are included from her previous novels, Return to Satterthwaite Court stands on its own. An exemplary read—tight plot, clever dialogue, and light-hearted humor. USA Today’s bestselling novelist Mimi Matthews shines with her latest release and proves why her “Somerset Stories” series are the pinnacle of sophistication in historical romance. So many sweet, poignant moments from the first to the last pages, leaving me with a happy heart. Read sooner than later.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mimi Matthews is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of proper historical romances. Her works include The Siren of Sussex, a 2023 RUSA Reading List shortlist pick for Best Romance; Fair as a Star, a Library Journal Best Romance of 2020; Gentleman Jim, a Kirkus Best Book of 2020; and The Work of Art, winner of the 2020 HOLT Medallion and a 2021 Daphne du Maurier Award nominee.
Mimi’s novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, and Shelf Awareness, and have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Oprah Daily, NPR, PopSugar, Goop, BookPage, Book Riot, and BuzzFeed. They have been translated into seven languages.
When not writing historical romance, Mimi authors nonfiction books and articles on all aspects of nineteenth century history—from animals, art, and etiquette to fashion, beauty, feminism, and law. Her nonfiction history books (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty and The Pug Who Bit Napoleon) are published by Pen and Sword Books UK. Her articles are available at various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and can also be found at BUST Magazine.