Title: The Winter Companion
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publication Date: 11 February
Available for preorder
Yet again, Mimi Matthews delivers a deliciously addictive and wonderfully written love story with The Winter Companion. This time, we delve into the lives of Neville Cross and Clara Hartwright. If you’ve been following the Parish Orphans of Devon series, then you’ve already had glimpses of Neville. Of all the boys (now men) who’d grown up together in the orphanage, I was always most curious about Neville, especially considering the injury he’d sustained from his fall from the cliffs. We get more insight into his life and how his BTI has affected him and the choices he’s made along the way.
With the coming Christmas holidays as the backdrop, Matthews sets the stage for a very nice slow-burn love story. We have Neville, painfully shy at times and more at home outdoors than in drawing rooms making small talk, and Clara, a paid companion to Mrs. Bainbridge who longs to learn and know more–but held back because of her gender and a secret from her past. Already from their first meeting, thanks to an elderly pug called Bertie, we know that Neville and Clara are meant to be. The question is how will it come to pass. And their path to love is very satisfying.
There are so many things that I loved about The Winter Companion: the richness of the setting, how Matthews weaves in the cast of characters we recognize from previous books in the series, how even the secondary characters come across as fully realized people and not simply as props… I could go on. But the most important factor for me in loving this book was how Matthews writes about Neville and his brain trauma injury. Gaining insight into how it has affected his life and how he’s tried to deal with it…as well as the initial resentment he felt at being the one left behind…made me as a reader feel such empathy for him and gave me a better understanding of why Neville never strayed far from the abbey.
I also enjoyed that Matthews allows us time to get to know Neville and Clara. They’re complex characters and having the chance to find out how life’s experiences made them who they are gave even more depth to their story.
If you like historical romance, then I think you’ll love the Winter Companion. For me, reading this book was pure pleasure. Highly recommended!