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Review: THE LILY OF LUDGATE HILL by Mimi Matthews


ABOUT THE BOOK

Fortune favors the bold—but is a confirmed spinster daring enough to loosen the reins and accept a favor from the wicked gentleman who haunts her dreams?


Lady Anne Deveril doesn’t spook easily. A woman of lofty social standing known for her glacial beauty and starchy opinions, she’s the unofficial leader of her small group of equestriennes. Since her mother’s devastating plunge into mourning six years ago, Anne voluntarily renounced any fanciful notions of love and marriage. And yet, when fate puts Anne back into the entirely too enticing path of Mr. Felix Hartford, she’s tempted to run…right into his arms.


No one understands why Lady Anne withdrew into the shadows of society, Hart least of all. The youthful torch he once held for her has long since cooled. Or so he keeps telling himself. But now Anne needs a favor to help a friend. Hart will play along with her little ruse—on the condition that Anne attend a holiday house party at his grandfather’s country estate. No more mourning clothes. No more barriers. Only the two of them, unrequited feelings at last laid bare.


Finally free to gallop out on her own, Anne makes the tantalizing discovery that beneath the roguish exterior of her not-so-white knight is a man with hidden depths, scorching passions—and a tender heart.



REVIEW BY CHRISTINA BOYD

Mimi Matthews’s new release, The Lily of Ludgate Hill, is the third book in the “Belles of London” series about four horse-loving friends, their family politics and secrets, romantic intrigues, and happily-ever-afters. This second chance love story is Lady Anne Deveril and Felix Hartford’s story.

The memory of her—of Anne—standing up on the wooden slats of the paddock at Sutton Park, arms folded on the top rail as she watched the yearling fillies at play. He’d stood at her side, his attention drawn to her as much as to the horses, losing his heart to her gradually, he hadn’t realized it was gone until she captured it completely, making it hers for all time. He suspected that a piece of it would always be hers, whether he liked it or not.

And who wouldn’t still carry a torch for the fine, confident gallant, Hart…unless their young romance that burned bright nearly seven years before fizzled once Anne’s father died, leaving her house in deep mourning for years. But now Anne needs Felix to help her rescue her friend, and she must swallow her pride to ask the handsome buck for his assistance.


She bore down on him like one of the mythical Furies he’d so often accused her of being. ‘Why, you arrogant, blackmailing rogue!’
His heartbeat quickened as she approached. Anne in a rage was a thrilling sight to behold. ‘It’s not blackmail,’ he said. ‘It’s an exchange. Something you want for something I want.’

The Lily of Ludgate Hill is layered with nuance, clever banter, enigmas, and gorgeous world-building. Though loyalty to friends and family is a driving theme, grief and how one mourns a father, a loved one, is a mood throughout. Ultimately, like all Matthew’s historical romance novels, it’s a hard-won love story.

'Hello, old thing.’ A familiar deep voice sounded from the library door.
Anne spun around, her traitorous heart giving an involuntary leap in her breast.
Mr. Felix Hartford stood in the entryway, one shoulder propped against the doorframe. Lord only knew how long he’d been observing her.
She stiffened. After all these years, he still had the power to discompose her.

And discompose me too! Especially once we discover Felix may not be the spoilt London dandy Anne believes him to be.


Some writers tell the story; Matthews immerses the reader in her Victorian-era world with society mores, fashion, and heart-pounding dialog. The Lily of Ludgate Hill is a must read—sooner than later.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning Victorian romances, including 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. Her novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, and Shelf Awareness, 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.


You can connect with Mimi via her website and social media.

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