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The Reformer (Power of the Matchmaker Book 12) Kindle Edition
|Length: 256 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
The Power of the Matchmaker Series is apparently a set of books that are written by various authors. When I first noticed this set of books, I thought I had missed out on Ms. Fixsen's first 11 books of the series. After reading this one, I am certainly willing to give some of the other books in this series a try, even though they weren't written by Fixsen. A big plus factor is that several are available on KU for those readers who subscribe.
In this book, we have a very unique heroine. Mary Buchanan's world is very small. In fact, even to be able to go in the yard and speak to a neighbor might reasonably be compared to a fun day at the mall for a young lady of this day and age. When Mary inadvertently gets locked out of her home in the rain, she is rescued by her "unacceptable" radical-reformer-writer neighbor, Samuel Brown. This meeting and rescue in the rain serves as the catalyst that will eventually bring out the formidable persona that has been hiding inside Mary.
From the day Mary meets Samuel, he turns her world upside down. Of course her world is so small, up to this point, her fascination has primarily been limited to her neighbor's handsome footman. Her father has long been set against Samuel Brown and his doings. There is a deeper reason Mary's father has kept her "hidden" away, but this truth will not come forth until much later in the story. In the meantime, Mary's fascination with Samuel and his newspaper articles results in Mary deciding to join in the reform effort by providing cartoons which go along with the written word - anonymously of course. Anonymously because women simply didn't do political cartoons and get credit, plus dear old dad would have a conniption if he knew Mary was involved in such dealings..
There is a third main character - that would be Samuel's long time friend - a young Scotsman, Neil Murray. From the beginning of Neil's introduction into the storyline, it's obvious Samuel and Neil have a very close relationship but I won't give any further details about the foundation for their relationship. When Neil and Mary meet up for the first time, it was puzzling to me as to why Neil reacted in the manner he did. Eventually, this is explained and the storyline actually brings in Neil as a third primary character in the book.
This is a book about a young, sheltered woman coming of age during a period in England when everything was changing. There were those who were sick and tired of the status quo - that being a world where men and women struggled under a very unrighteous class system. It was the beginning of the end of that class system. We see firsthand, the power of the written word and the accompanying artwork - in this case - cartoons that played a part in the downfall of this system. Of course, years would pass before the system completely breaks down, but reformers such as Samuel, Neil and Mary all had a part to play.
Great writing. Not my typical reading fare, but still very romantic. Bonus minor character: Mary's unusual Chinese neighbor - a lovely lady named Mrs. Chin - a very wise, practical, intriguing woman.
I loved how Mary found her voice and learned to stand up for herself. She grew up a lot in this book, and in the end realized that she was going to have to stand up for herself again if she was going to have lasting happiness. Her character reminded me a lot of Valancy in L.M. Montgomery's "The Blue Castle" so it was fun to read the author's note at the end and see that she was influenced by L.M. Montgomery and Valancy.
I loved Pearl's (the matchmaker) role in this book as Mrs. Chin. She seemed the right mix of subtle, devious, nosy and friendly.
Rating: 4.5 stars (I kept going back and forth between 4 & 5 stars for this one, and in the end decided on 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 because I really liked Mary)
Content: PG-13. There was a part (that wasn't even necessary to the story so I wish it had just been left out) where she learns about "the birds and the bees" from the drawings in one of her father's books, and then she has follow-up conversations with her maid so she can feel more sophisticated and draw salacious cartoons.
Source: Review copy (opinion is 100% my own)