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The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon Book 4) Kindle Edition
"Fans of the 'Parish Orphans of Devon' series will adore this final installment, reuniting the orphans and their loves. Matthews (A Convenient Fiction) sensitively portrays a neuroatypical protagonist facing ingrained prejudices, even from friends, and how such preconceptions limits a person's potential." -Library Journal, STARRED review
"Matthews once again delivers in her latest Victorian novel. Her love story is sweet and chaste, the characters well developed, and their relationship beautifully rendered." -Kirkus Reviews
"As usual, Matthews has done excellent research...A worthy conclusion to a fine series. Highly recommended." -Historical Novel Society
"Yet another stellar romance from Mimi Matthews, whose talent for writing heartfelt stories with fully developed characters is awesome." -The Romance Reviews, top pick
"An ode to the Victorian era from all corners, stations and predicaments...Matthews adores the period, but doesn't shy away from its restrictions. Perhaps it is her ability to paint it so wholly--for all its good and bad--that make the series one of the most addictive offerings in the genre in years." -Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration
"There are few things more satisfying than curling up with a Mimi Matthews' novel. Deeply-felt and heart-lifting, The Winter Companion is no exception. Its sweet romance and generous spirit linger in the mind long after the last word is read." -Stephanie Barron, author of The Jane Austen Mysteries
"Mimi Matthews writes so beautifully I'll happily follow her imagination anywhere." -Kate Pearce, New York Times bestselling author
"I didn't want THE WINTER COMPANION to end. I love Mimi Matthews' writing, and her characters are so unique and so interesting and so in need of love, and happy-ever-after. I teared up reading, and held my breath near the end...highly recommended!" -Jane Porter, New York Times bestselling author
"Once again, [Matthews] proves that she is the mistress of proper Victorian romance, creating a love story for the ages that uplifts, inspires, and satisfies." -Rosanne E. Lortz, author
"Another charming, well-written Victorian romance from Mimi Matthews, with a unique hero and heroine who are made for each other....Curl up with this book, by the fire on a chilly winter evening - it really is the perfect 'companion'." -Jayne Fresina, author of Once Upon a Kiss
"Yet again, Mimi Matthews delivers a deliciously addictive and wonderfully written love story...For me, reading this book was pure pleasure. Highly recommended!" -Kim Talks Books
"A perfect way to end this superb series...Matthews's prose is gorgeous, painstakingly researched, thoughtful, and poignant, making The Winter Companion another MUST READ." -The Quill Ink
"Mimi Matthews is, in my opinion, quite the best author of historical romance writing today...This is an excellent conclusion to the series, showing us love overcoming personal difficulties and a new future which might not have been possible without their mutual commitment." -Lost in a Good Book
About the Author
- ASIN : B07XJGRLP8
- Publisher : Perfectly Proper Press (February 11, 2020)
- Publication date : February 11, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 3380 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 318 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #54,596 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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As I said, you could just jump right in here and enjoy this book as a standalone, but the backdrop provided by the previous three gives you more insight into Neville's issues and into the relationship of all four men. And you wouldn't have developed an acquaintance and fondness for all the couples as they gather here to celebrate Christmas at Justin's home.
This has a slow-moving plot, with kind and thoughtful characters, and lots of interactions of family and friends. It's quite similar to the type of story Mary Balogh writes, even having a character with a disability, which is something Balogh often includes in her stories, whether it be a physical or emotional problem. Fortunately, this Matthews book does not have any of that awkward sex between H and h that Balogh somehow feels obligated to include and Matthews' story is all the better for it. Neville is such a gentle, kind, sweet man that it would have felt intrusive to see how he comports himself in bed.
Neville's brain injury years ago has left him with what seems to be speech dyspraxia. His brain is normal, his thoughts are normal, even insightful, but the thoughts don't transfer smoothly into spoken words. And when he is nervous or stressed, his speech problem becomes even more severe. This causes some people (not his friends) to think his intelligence is subnormal and he is very self-conscious and has come to think of himself as less of a person.
He is content to live at Justin's estate, taking outstanding care of the horses and other animals and training to take over as estate manager when the older man who serves now retires. He does his job well but interacts as little as possible with others.
And then we have our heroine, Clara. She also suffers from feeling of low self-worth and the lack of a voice. The lack of a voice, in her case, is caused by circumstances in her past and her lowly place as a woman in Victorian society, not by any physical impediment. Something that happened to her as a young adult,, which had repercussions on her family's reputation and welfare and which she was forced to take all responsibility for, changed her life dramatically, forcing her to seek employment as a lady's companion. And, as everyone knows, companions "were meant to be good listeners, not talkers. And they certainly weren't paid to speak their mind."
So Clara is voiceless by force majeure but inside her soul she is looking forward to the day she can say what she thinks and feels, can be who she would like to be, can belong and not be alone. With Neville, she feels safe and at home. And Neville feels the same around her. But each has his/her own hangups and the feeling that they cannot have a future together. That's all I'll say. The plot is slight so it would be an unkindness to reveal more. Other than to note that if you are an animal lover, you'll have dogs and horses to your heart's content. And if you are a romance lover, this is a satisfying one.
This is not a 5-star read for me because I found everyone to be too earnest and serious almost all the time. I would have appreciated a few more moments of humor and some snappier dialogue at times. Still, it's a feel-good story and something I appreciate at the moment.
This is the fourth book in this series. I would recommend reading them in order for your best reading enjoyment. The characters from previous books play a large role in each book so it has a building feel to it. This book especially. All four friends are together for the Christmas holiday and knowing their backstories will really help.
I've been waiting and dreaming of Neville's story. I knew there would be so much to learn with him. We've been getting bits and pieces of his childhood accident through the other characters and their stories but it was so nice to actually get the story from Neville himself. Neville is the most kind and gentle human. I found him utterly charming and endearing. I loved how Clara and Neville bond over the animals, each filling a need for the other in the most gentle and easy way. I also loved the quiet of the barn and how crucial that peace was for Neville as opposed to the gathering inside the house which was louder, more jovial and consequently more oppressive to Neville. Neville really stretches himself to be with Clara and wow, it is ever satisfying to read.
I loved this book. I loved Neville. I love this series. I love this author. 💙 Don't hate me for using the L word too much.
Content: there may have been a few instances of mild swearing and profanity (using God or Jesus as an exclamation) but I cannot remember exactly. There were in previous books so there's a good chance.
Why a 3 star rating? There just wasn't any fireworks. I'm not talking sexual scenes....I mean no, as another reviewer said, "sparkle". That's it exactly! Hallmark movies have snow falling at just those perfect moments...this story needed sparklers sizzling and sending little sparks popping at just those perfect moments. Without those it became a tad too long and slightly monotonous. Like checking on the pony every day, taking the pug to stables every day or the rain every day. The weather became monotonous too! The constant rain, mud and cold. They were always ruining clothes because of being fully covered in mud from head to toe. Or constantly wet from taking a much needed walk in heavy thunderstorms or freezing rain.
Would have just liked a little more warmth, snuggling up in a warm romantic space every once in a while without the covered in mud, drenched, or teeth chattering cold numbness.
Top reviews from other countries
While I loved all the previous heroes in this series, there is just something special about Neville that captured my heart. At times, I wanted to reach into the book and hug him so tight. Through his thoughts and feelings, Ms. Matthews gives the reader an insight into how the effects of Neville’s injury have shaped his life.
Ever since Justin had provided a home for him at Greyfriars Abbey, it has been a place where Neville felt safe and secure, and happy working with the animals. It was sad to realise how his speech impediment had defined his life choices.
I had a lot of sympathy for Clara, a romantic at heart, whose youthful indiscretion had such an impact on her life. Not only did she lose her own teaching job, but her brother, Simon, lost his tutor and the local squire’s patronage too. Taking responsibility for the damage she had caused to her family’s reputation and her brother’s prospects, she has taken a position as a companion to help pay for Simon’s school fees.
As a companion, she is expected to fade into the background, but I admire her for having ambitions beyond society’s normal expectations for a woman.
Ms. Matthews beautifully nuanced and eloquent writing made this one of the loveliest romances I have ever read. I loved how the focus of the story was on Neville and Clara’s developing relationship, showing their feelings for each other gradually evolving and allowing the romance to flourish in a natural way. It’s a journey of discovery for them as individuals and as a couple.
I love how Clara is just perfect for Neville. She understands his struggle in a way that no one else does - how frustrating and painful it must be for someone as intelligent as Neville to struggle with forming even a simple sentence.
She also sees how capable, strong, honest, kind and gentle he is.
Neville sees not only Clara’s outward beauty but also her inner beauty, something he feels that only he is privileged to see. I love how he encouraged her to read poetry and novels again, something she hasn’t done for many years.
My heart went out to Neville when Clara in forced to leave and he believes he will never see her again, but it makes him realise that he wants what his friends have...a life of his own and a chance at happiness with Clara.
I loved Neville’s determination to help Clara. It took at lot of courage, knowing that he would have to face his fears and insecurities head on, but it showed the depth of his love for her. It was satisfying to see Clara eventually cleared of the stain on her reputation, and I also enjoyed how she handled her selfish, ungrateful brother, Simon.
I always appreciate the historical details and social commentary Ms. Matthews brings to her books. Here it is the month-long Christmas celebrations at Greyfriars Abbey with the freshly cut Christmas tree, pine boughs, holly, mistletoe, and the delicious Christmas feast. Ms. Matthews also highlights the inequality in education where women were excluded from going to university.
The Epilogue provided the perfect end to both this book and the series. I sighed, knowing that all four of the orphaned friends had now found love, acceptance and happiness.
This story reminds me "Flowers from the Storm" where there is a perfect balance of romance and the dukes frustration with his impediment.