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Mimi Matthews Interview - Author picture

I’m delighted to welcome author of both historical non-fiction and Victorian Romance MIMI MATTHEWS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

I’m so happy to be here, Carol! I absolutely love your historical romance reviews.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Mimi:
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. I also attended college and law school here. It’s a beautiful place to live, close to both the ocean and the mountains, and filled with lots of scenic spots. I got my first horse when I was six and some of my best memories are of riding in the foothills of Mt. Diablo or through one of our regional parks. There were also lots of trips into San Francisco to shop and eat or to visit museums or the theatre.

Mimi Matthews Interview - Young Mimi Reading in the School Library
This is me when I was in elementary school. 


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Mimi:
As a general rule, I think I’m pretty easy-going. However, I can be quite adversarial if the occasion calls for it. I didn’t become a lawyer for nothing.


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Mimi:
Definitely sweet. I love sugary pastries, cakes, and candies. I’m especially partial to divinity and marzipan. One of my Siamese cats is even named Marzipan!

Mimi Matthews Interview -Marzipan in his bed
My Siamese cat, Marzipan.


R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Mimi:
I treasure my pets and my family above all things, but they’re not technically possessions. Among inanimate objects, I suppose it would be my jewellery. I have a lot of special vintage pieces, from the Victorian era through the 1930s. For a recent birthday, I got a gorgeous Edwardian ring with an 8-carat oval citrine surrounded in seed pearls. It’s almost too beautiful to wear. Almost!

Mimi Matthews Interview -Centelleo with head turned
My Andalusian dressage horse, Centelleo.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Mimi:
I’m a total anglophile, so I’d have to say England. I would love to have a second home in the countryside with a stable, paddocks, and riding ring. Then again, since I wouldn’t ever want to leave any animals behind, this would mean hauling horses back and forth across the pond. Probably not very realistic.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Mimi:
Oh gosh, where to start? There have been so many—most from my childhood. Maybe things just seem more embarrassing when you’re a teenager? One moment that I can share comes from my lifelong desire to always be on time. My first semester of college, I arrived early for my first class. Or, at least, I thought I was early. Turns out, the class was already in session. I edged my way into the room, weaving through the students to find a vacant desk and generally making a spectacle of myself. No sooner had I taken my seat than the buzzer rang and everyone else in the class got up and left. It was then I realized, much to my mortification, that this wasn’t my class at all. It was the earlier class, which I had walked in on right as it was ending. Awkward!

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Mimi.

Thank you for having me, Carol! It’s been a real pleasure.


If you would like to find out more about Mimi and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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The Lost Letter

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

England, 1860. An impoverished Victorian beauty is unexpectedly reunited with the now beastly earl who once broke her heart. Will they finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

A PROUD BEAUTY 
Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life–and her former love.

A SCARRED BEAST
Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited–and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

A SECOND CHANCE
A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I loved this tender, emotional and romantic debut novel from Mimi Matthews which features a second chance story, one of my favorite themes. 

Colonel Sebastian Conrad followed the career expected of all the second sons of the Earls of Radcliffe and became a soldier. Orderly, disciplined and rather serious, life as a career cavalry officer suited Sebastian perfectly. While on leave in London, he accepts an invitation to a musical evening where he is captivated by the lovely Sylvia Stafford.

With her genuine warmth and kindness, baronet’s daughter, Sylvia Stafford, is very popular and has attracted many suitors. However, it is the rather serious and aloof Colonel Conrad to whom she is attracted.

Over the next two months, they meet ‘by accident’ at various events and it is obvious that they have fallen in love. Sylvia anticipates that Sebastian will propose, especially when he asks for a lock of her hair and they kiss, but Sebastian does not propose, fearing rejection. The following night, he is ordered back to his regiment in India to assist in putting down a rebellion. When Sylvia’s numerous letters to Sebastian go unanswered and Sebastian’s letters to Sylvia are returned unopened, both feel hurt and betrayed by the other.

Three years have passed, and both have experienced dramatic changes in their lives. After Sylvia’s father, an inveterate gambler, lost everything on a hand of cards, he committed suicide and, because of the ensuing scandal, Sylvia’s remaining family and her society friends deserted her. Forced to fend for herself, she obtains a position as governess to a merchant family’s children. It has taken a long time to recover from the pain and hurt of Sebastian’s rejection but now she is happy and contented with her new life.

Terribly scarred and blind in one eye, Sebastian has returned to England to find that both his father and elder brother have died of fever and he is now the Earl of Radcliffe. In continual pain, he lives a lonely and isolated existence in his apartments at Pershing Hall with no interest in running the estate and totally disconnected from his former life. I can understand Sebastian’s reasons for wanting to hide himself away; even his own sister, Julia, screamed when she first saw his face and he fears his tenants’ reactions should they see him.

It was too easy to imagine their horrified reaction to the sight of his scarred face. Granted, he had known most of his father’s tenants since his youth, but mere familiarity was no guarantee that they would not respond to him with pity and disgust.

Julia, however, is determined to draw her brother out of his state of apathy and, when she sees the lock of hair he always keeps with him, she will leave no stone unturned to find its owner.  Having discovered her identity, Julia visits Sylvia and is not above telling a few white lies to persuade a very reluctant Sylvia to return to Pershing Hall as her guest for a few weeks.  It is Julia’s fervent hope that spending time together will rekindle the love that Sebastian and Sylvia once shared. Even though she fears the reception she might get, I admire Sylvia for her courage and compassion in agreeing to accompany Julia.

No matter how cruelly Sebastian had treated her in the past, he did not deserve to be suffering in such a dreadful manner. No one did. If her presence could alleviate even a fraction of his pain, she must go to him.

I like how Ms. Matthews creates a palpable tension between Sebastian and Sylvia in the library scene. Driven by his feelings of hurt, bitterness and anger for having been shunned in such a heartless way, Sebastian is cold and distant towards Sylvia. Knowing of her reduced circumstances, he believes the worst…that her motives are purely mercenary now that he is an earl. While Sylvia is sure that her father’s scandalous death and her bold first letter to Sebastian offended him, and they were the reasons for him not answering her letters.

It is obvious that they are still very much in love, but the past remains an ever-present obstacle until the truth concerning the letters finally comes to light. Someone had deliberately set out to mislead them into believing they had forgotten each other and I felt so much sympathy for Sylvia, knowing that this person had deceived her for their own selfish motives with no thought for her happiness. This is a turning point for them because they are now able to talk openly. I like how Sebastian apologizes for his previous cruel and uncivil behaviour and Sylvia is determined that Sebastian will no longer hide himself away in darkened libraries and shadowy portrait galleries. He is fearful that, seeing him in the light of day, will drive Sylvia away and I love the poignant scene that follows.

…then she set her fingertips very gently on the scar at the side of his eye. Her touch was warm and soft and heart-breakingly tender. He tried to concentrate on his breathing. An impossible task as she began to trace the path of his scar down his cheek.

The romance is beautifully written – sweet, tender and romantic, with only one passionate kissing scene, which fits the mood of the story perfectly.

As in all good romances, the course of true love doesn’t run completely smoothly when Sylvia misconstrues something Sebastian says. It takes the discovery of the ‘Lost Letter’ to put them back on track for a Happy Ever After. It is such a touching moment when Sebastian reads the letter, sealed with a thousand sweet kisses only for him and I love the scene when he finally responds to her letter in person. So romantic!

I like how the secondary characters play an important role in the story, especially Julia and Sebastian’s valet, Milsom. Julia maybe annoying at times and her methods rather questionable, but her heart is in the right place and it’s obvious that she loves her brother very much. I like the genuine affection between Sebastian’s and Milsom. Julia and Milsom’s various ploys to bring Sebastian and Sylvia together are amusing and provide some lighter moments in the story.

I like Ms. Matthews’ elegant writing style and the story has an authentic Victorian feel to it.

MY VERDICT: A beautifully written, emotionally satisfying, character driven love story. Highly recommended.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

 

**I received a complimentary copy from the author for the purposes of an honest review. ** 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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