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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Historical Fiction

    The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews Parish Orphans of Devon #4 Neville Cross is someone I have been hoping would get a happily ever after from the time I first met him. I knew there was more to him and was pleased to find out that he was not only handsome, big and strong but also gentle, kind and a truly good person. The connection between his thoughts and putting those thoughts into words was a struggle but he was not lacking in wits...not at all. So, when Clara Hartwright walked into the stable with Bertie the Pug I was on tenterhooks waiting to see how their story would develop. I found Clara to be the perfect person for Neville. She could read him and knew he was a fine person and a man she could trust...after she got over her first misgivings. She really didn’t see a future for herself beyond being a lady’s companion and later being secretary for her brother and had left many dreams behind as she worked as a lady’s companion. There was more to her, too, than met the eye and Neville saw her beauty of face, form and intellect right away. That the four friends, once orphans struggling to survive, were together for Christmas and there for one another was a heartwarming. It was so nice to see how the men and their ladies were doing. What I liked: * Neville: such a wonderful person inside and out – a gentle giant – perfect for Clara * Clara: a woman I could feel with and for – brilliant woman in a time that did not appreciate women as they should * The couples met in the first three books of this series – getting to see them again and hear about their lives was a bit of fun * The dogs – so glad that Bertie got to join the pack for awhile * The part about the Dartmoor ponies – had fun looking them up online * The strength of both main characters – they faced what they had to and did so brilliantly * All of it, really except… What I did not like: * Clara’s brother Simon – seemed a self-entitled son and brother that had had smooth sailing too long * Simon’s tutor – a cad, creep and callous male that deserved a thrashing * That both Neville and Clara had spent time questioning parts of themselves and were made to feel “less” Did I enjoy this book? Definitely Would I read more by this author? Without a doubt What I might like to still know? What happens to Edward/Teddy Having been a neurosurgical intensive care nurse and then having worked in a nursing home for mentally alert but neurologically impaired I have known people with injuries like Neville’s. The ability to “come back” from those injuries is not easy and often is not 100%. I am so glad that Neville found his place in the world and a life that was so rich and rewarding. Thank you to NetGalley and The Perfectly Proper Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars

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  • Lovely romance set in the mid-Victorian period

    After reading the first book in this series and being introduced to Neville, the quiet one, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury as a teenager, I knew that his book was the one I most wanted to read. Neville was a wonderful hero, outwardly quiet, yet inwardly he had plenty of thoughts, hopes and dreams. He just isn't sure how to go about making a life for himself independent of his friends until he meets Clara who inspires him to dream of a bigger life than the one he's currently leading. I loved Clara also. She had big dreams that were constrained by the expectations placed on women in Victorian times as well as by the circumstances she found herself in. She worked as a paid companion to earn enough money to pay for her younger brother's Cambridge education, while hoping all the while that she'd eventually find a place as his secretary so that she could at least be adjacent to the research that she longed to conduct herself. Once Neville and Clara meet at a month-long Xmas house party thrown at the Abbey, it's like two kindred souls recognizing the other half that will complete them. They are so clearly meant for each other that it gives them both the courage to reach out and finally take control of their own lives. This book left me with a happy glow. I also loved all of the period details that the author threw in. So many historicals are just wallpaper in regards to their setting whereas this one took the time to get the details right. I think Mimi Matthews is just hitting her stride as an author and I look forward to her next book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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  • Great story

    A Wonderful story as always! Mimi Matthews can always be relied on to give us great stories!

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  • Neville and Clara

    What a great conclusion to the series! I must confess I underestimated Neville in the first book. I didn't think he'd have a story of his own and get a chance to play the hero, but I'm so glad he did. With each book in the series, we've seen the role Neville plays in the group and especially to Justin. His accident has affected his speech and he's not confident in social situations. He's much more at easy with animals, who understand his kindness and don't expect anything from him. Clara is a companion to an old lady, and she comes to Devon for the Winter holiday. She's been through a scandal and doesn't want to draw attention to herself but, at the same time, Clara has ambitions and is a strong person. It's Neville's kindness toward animals that first attracts Clara to him, and in turn, her radiant personality (despite her social situation) attracts him to her. They are so different but so perfect for each other. I don't want to give spoilers, but when he comes to her rescue... *SWOON* What a scene! I loved the ending and I love knowing there will be some novellas and site stories on other characters. Amazing series and book! Read these in order, you won't be disappointed. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

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  • Be still, my heart!

    Be still, my heart! Neville gets a chance to show us why his friends love him so much and have stood by him, through thick and thin. Clara gets the chance to see this as well, and despite her determination to protect her heart and guard her mouth, she can’t help herself from opening up to Neville. Neville is not a simpleton; he is a man. A kind, compassionate, and strong man who sees Clara for the woman she is. A delightful culmination of the Parish Orphans and the women who showed them how to love and live again. I could not have asked for a happier ending. While Neville and Clara’s story can be read and enjoyed as a standalone, it is so much more sweet and fulfilling when all the stories are understood as woven together. I received a complimentary copy of this book and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

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