Friday, May 27, 2022

65. The Belle of Belgrave Square

The Belle of Belgrave Square. (Belles of London #2) Mimi Matthews. 2022. 432 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Julia Wychwood was alone in Rotten Row, and that was exactly the way she liked it. 

Premise/plot: Julia Wychwood is the heroine of Mimi Matthews' The Belle of Belgrave Square. What can I say about Julia? Well, she's socially anxious, prefers books to people, and she happens to be an heiress. Her parents play up (or perhaps that was just my perception???) their illnesses. And they are just as convinced that their daughter, Julia, is weak, fragile, and "poorly." Julia sometimes doesn't fight against this notion--if being "ill" equals more time in her room reading the latest book. But there comes a time when enough is enough is enough.

Captain Jasper Blunt, a war hero (and the hero of this romance novel), doesn't love town life--or should that be TON life. London life isn't exactly his cup of tea; he much prefers life in YORKSHIRE on his estate (run down though it may be). He is in town looking for an heiress to marry. Why an heiress? Well, his estate is in shambles--literally and figuratively. It isn't just that the estate isn't profitable. The situation is dire. He is thinking of his three children--illegitimate though they may be in the eyes of society and the law. Julia is his first choice. For many, many, many reasons. 

Julia is drawn to Jasper--deeply. But there are obstacles on the way to this match from both. One thing the two share is a LOVE for reading. In fact, these two love to talk about their favorite authors and favorite books. The discussion is real, and goes beyond the surface. 

My thoughts: I love, love, love, love, LOVE, LOVE, crazy love this book. I had no idea it was the second in a series when I chose it for review. I will definitely be going back to read the first book in the series. This book gave off BEAUTY AND THE BEAST vibes, and I was all for it. However, as the novel progressed, I soon picked up on something that thrilled me even more....the book was reminding me of The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. The Blue Castle is without a doubt one of my favorite, favorite, favorite romances by Montgomery. Perhaps because I identify with the heroine so much. 

I loved Julia. I could identify with her. It is so refreshing to identify with heroines in romance novels. Not usual or typical for me. Give me a socially awkward or socially anxious heroine that panics with small talk, and you'll have me at hello.

I loved Jasper. His story isn't necessarily straightforward, plenty of twists and turns. I definitely was cheering for him throughout. There were so many scenes--so many--that just made me giddy.

Is the romance novel clean? Maybe. I'll clarify. If your objection with certain scenes is premarital or extramarital, then yes, this one is "clean" enough. Nothing improper happens before vows are exchanged. Mostly. It depends on if one little kiss counts as improper. But from the start, she knows his intentions are marriage. There's never a creepy-creeper vibe that he is trying to take advantage of her. There are romantic, sensual scenes (a handful) in the novel after they are married. I found them in the tasteful (mostly) range. These scenes are not front and center and written without excessive detail. The scenes don't go on for pages and pages and pages. These scenes do not steal the show or distract from the actual story.


In a novel, she was safe. Her throat didn't close up and her palms didn't grow damp. She could experience things in a way that didn't overwhelm her.

This was how he could help her. Not by holding her. Not by carrying her off to safety somewhere. But by talking to her. By engaging her on the subject she loved most.

© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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