About the Book:
She Wanted Sanctuary…
Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.
He Needed Redemption…
Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.
Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon Book 1)
Helena Reynolds is desperate. The loving uncle she remembers from her childhood seems to have changed into a monster since he inherited the earldom from her deceased father and brother. Though he has the title and all the entailed properties, the wealth was all left to Helena. And he wants it. Desperation has driven him to go so far as to physically abuse Helena, and to arrange to have her committed and declared insane – all so he can control her wealth. Not seeing any other solution, Helena answers an advertisement for a mail order bride in Devon, and steals away to meet her future husband.
Justin Thornhill is a former soldier who now bears the physical and emotional scars due to his imprisonment and torture while serving in India. He has succeeded in purchasing the home that was a long time goal of his, but it’s lonely and not as satisfying as he expected it to be. His man of business suggests a mail order bride, and Justin agrees to a mature, sensible woman who won’t mind the isolation or his scars. What he gets is a beautiful young woman who is obviously hiding secrets and running away from something. Though Helena is not the type of woman he requested, he is taken by her poise and beauty and decides to go ahead with the marriage.
Helena instinctively knows that Justin will be able to keep her safe, and she’s anxious to marry immediately to put herself beyond her uncle’s reach. Within days, they wed, only to have her uncle’s henchman beating on their door, demanding that Helena return with him. Though Justin proclaims their marriage makes Helena his responsibility, the paid thug threatens that the earl will have the marriage declared void due to Helena’s instability. Justin is just as determined to keep and protect his new wife, and with his friend and lawyer’s advice, they decide to return to town. The plan is to be very visible as a couple, showing that Helena is perfectly sane, and thwarting her uncle’s plans.
Our couple still hasn’t consummated their marriage, but are slowly falling more in love with each other every day. While Justin now knows Helena’s secrets, she doesn’t know his. Justin has as many scars on the inside as he does outwardly. There are things that happened while he was in India that haunt him, and his birth makes him feel unworthy of Helena, who is a true lady. Once they appear to have resolved the threat of Helena’s uncle, Justin decides that Helena deserves a much better man for a husband, even though he loves and desires her. Will Helena decide to fight for their marriage? And even if she does, will the determined Justin ever give in?
THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT is emotional, romantic, and beautifully written, although the despicable acts done to Helena while she was institutionalized made my skin crawl. It’s truly mind shattering to realize just how easy it was for a dishonorable person to have a relative declared insane and “put away.” Justin is not a perfect hero, but he’s an honorable and strong man, and I loved him. I admire Helena for all she endured without breaking, and how she fought her uncle, and then for her marriage. Mimi Matthews always writes fully developed characters and heart touching stories which are so satisfying to read and to savor. ~Rose