Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
Today’s pick is one that I listened to on audio at the end of last year, and it’s a great audiobook to put on while going about your day! If you like romance, historical reads, and plot twists, this one is for you!
The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Julia Wychwood is one of the wealthiest eligible young ladies in London, but unfortunately for her, she has an anxiety disorder that makes attending balls difficult and her parents are hypochondriacs who submit her to all sorts of horrid treatments when they’re not trying to marry her off to someone who will appease their whims of sickness and ill health. Julia finds escape in two things: novels, and riding her horse each day. Both things bring her in proximity to Jasper Blunt, the scarred and enigmatic war hero about whom the ton loves to gossip. Although intimidated by him at first, Julia soon finds herself intrigued by the man and the gentle soul he seems to be hiding. When dire circumstances make her life at home untenable, Jasper whisks in and saves her, marries her, and then brings her to his country estate, where Julia finds more secrets lurking on the moors.
This book was a great blend of romance, gothic sensibility, and mystery. Fans of Jane Eyre and The Blue Castle will enjoy this literary romance about two people drawn to each other but haunted by the past. I loved reading about Julia’s journey to owning her life, and to stop letting her parents and society dictate her happiness. In a similar way, Jasper also needs to learn to own his decisions, good or bad, and to make peace with his past in order to embrace the future. This book is full of some delicious romance tropes (marriage of necessity, secret past, children from a past relationship, daring rescues) but they never seem to be overdone or half-baked. I think some savvy readers will be able to guess some of the twists (I did) but that doesn’t take away from the absolute pleasure of this book or the romance between Julia and Jasper. It’s a closed door romance, but still very romantic with plenty of swoony scenes.
Technically, this book is the sequel/companion to the equally delightful The Siren of Sussex, but you don’t need to read the first one to enjoy this book. Some characters carry over, which is always fun! The series follows four young society ladies of London who are also equestrians, and I think it’s a great read alike for fans of Evie Dumore’s League of Extraordinary Women series!
Want to read books from this newsletter? You can, for free! Get three free audiobooks with a trial to Audiobooks.com. Claim your 3 free audiobooks now!