Title: Return to Satterthwaite Court
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance, Victorian Historical Romance
Price: E-Book, 298 Pages, $16.99 [Amazon Paperback], $4.99 [Kindle], $17.49 [Audible], $16.99 [Barnes and Noble Paperback], $4.99 [Nook], $4.99 [Google Play], $4.99 [Apple Books]
A reckless Victorian heiress sets her sights on a dashing ex-naval lieutenant, determined to win his heart as the two of them embark on a quest to solve a decades-old mystery in USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews’s sequel to her critically acclaimed novels The Work of Art and Gentleman Jim.
Lieutenant Charles Heywood has had his fill of adventure. Battle-weary and disillusioned, he returns to England, resolved to settle down to a quiet, uneventful life on an estate of his own. But arranging to purchase the property he desires is more difficult than Charles ever imagined. The place is mired in secrets, some of which may prove deadly. If he’s going to unravel them, he’ll need the assistance of someone as daring as he is.
At only twenty, Lady Katherine Beresford has already earned a scandalous reputation. As skilled with pistols as she is on horseback, she’s never met an obstacle she can’t surmount—or a man she can’t win. That is, until she encounters the infuriatingly somber Lieutenant Heywood. But Kate refuses to be deterred by the raven-haired soldier’s strong, silent facade. After all, faint heart never won handsome gentleman.
From the wilds of rural Somersetshire to the glittering ballrooms of early-Victorian London, Charles and Kate embark on a cross-country quest to solve a decades’ old mystery. Will the greatest danger be to their hearts—or to their lives?
Lady Katherine “Kate” Beresford is a scandalous woman who has failed to find a husband during her first London season. She does what she can to get away from her unwanted admirer, Mr. Elias Catmull, a patronizing and unbearable young man. One evening as she is out with her friend, Christine, she is attacked by a dog that starts biting at the hem of her skirt. A young man with dark hair, tanned skin, and a handsome appearance attempts to stop the dog from nipping at ladies’ skirts. He gives the young woman a handkerchief after she has been bitten before he scoops up the little creature. Despite his helpful nature, he comes across as standoffish and rude.
After the exchange, the young man (who she later learns is Lieutenant Charles Heywood) stalks off into the night with the dog. Kate cannot help but wonder about the handsome stranger who seemingly appeared out of nowhere. She learns that he hails from Somersetshire, the same county she calls home, and is determined to meet the young man again. What will happen when they cross paths?
Return to Satterthwaite Court, the third installment in the “Somerset Stories” series, is one of the best books I have read in a while. This is my second time reading a book by Mimi Matthews (the first being Holiday by Gaslight) and I was delighted from start to finish. It was a breezy and engaging read, meaning that it took me a day to finish this book. I am normally a slow reader and I just could not stop reading!
This book has everything a reader of romance could want: a gorgeous heroine with a fiery spirit; a careworn hero who just returned from exotic locales and who doesn’t exactly fit society’s mold; expertly written romance that will sweep you right off your feet; and a mystery that looms in the background. There was a perfect balance between the romance and the aspects of mystery that were woven into the story.
This story is told in third person through different perspectives such as Kate Beresford and Charles Heywood. The characters were one of my favorite aspects of the book. They were so beautifully written and felt like they could easily fit into Victorian England. I particularly adored Kate and Charles as well as the romantic connection that they developed throughout the story. There were other noteworthy characters that were well written. Elias Catmull (who for some reason reminded me of Mr. Collins from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) was frustrating with his overbearing and patronizing tone.
What truly blew me away was the gorgeous and descriptive way in which Ms. Matthews wrote. Her writing created an atmospheric experience. Within the pages of this book, she brought the world of Victorian England to life. I loved the descriptions of the characters and their clothing. I enjoyed the descriptions of the conveyances, the antiquated way of speaking, and the sparkling dialogue.
What impressed me the most was the level of historical detail that went into this story. This played a huge part in resurrecting the world of Victorian England. At times, Ms. Matthews’s writing reminded me of Jane Austen and at other times, it reminded me of Georgette Heyer. Her writing is evocative of Austen’s elegance and wit. I found the overall tone to be engaging and playful. It was the level of historical detail that brought to mind the writings of Heyer. I also loved reading the Author’s Note which was illuminating as it provided extra context. My only wish is that the Author’s Note was longer.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this masterfully written novel. I was delighted to be taken on this journey and I will definitely seek out Ms. Matthews’s books in the future..