The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance

Mimi Matthews
The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance
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Perfectly Proper Press
Release Date
September 2017
Historical Romance

A Proud Beauty

When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, society beauty Sylvia Stafford finds work as a governess in a merchant's household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood...until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life—and her former love.

A Scarred Beast

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited—and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

A Second Chance

A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

Book Review by Avonna Loves Genres (reviewer)
Aug 24, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
189 people found the following review helpful
THE LOST LETTER: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE by Mimi Matthews is a beautifully written historical romance set in the Victorian era. The story flows between the hero and heroine, past and present, as they are given a second chance at love. The story is captivating and only a little longer than a novella. I just kept turning the pages and was done before I knew it in just one sitting.

Sylvia Stafford was the beautiful and charming daughter of a Baron. She had many suitors, but the man who claimed her heart was a dashing career Calvary officer and second son of an Earl. Before his return to India, Sylvia shares a chaste kiss with her dashing soldier and gives him a lock of her hair. As Sylvia waits for her word from her love, her father's gaming debts become too much and he commits suicide, leaving Sylvia with nothing and no one. Sylvia becomes a governess to a merchant family away from the society and friends she grew up with.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad returns from India a badly scarred and tormented man. He retreats to his family's estate to hide. His father and older brother have died and that leaves Sebastian as the Earl. One day, his little sister is visiting and spies on Sebastian crying over a lock of hair and asks his man-servant who it belongs to and after some questioning finds where Sylvia now resides as a governess and invites her to Hertfordshire to help her stop her brother from doing something drastic.

The two are reunited, but under very different circumstances and each believes the other did not truly share the same feelings three years ago. As the two each learn truths about the intervening years, their love begins to grow once again, but will it be enough to clear up all the misunderstandings and let these two have their HEA?

This is an extremely romantic and emotional story in all its simplicity of plot. The characters are so realistic and just walk off the page and into your heart. This love story will stay in my memory for some time to come. This is a definite keeper that I can highly recommend.
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Book Review by Blue (reviewer)
Sep 29, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
150 people found the following review helpful
Colonel Sebastian Conrad is a soldier - that's his life, and it's what he knows. Although he's the second son of an earl, he doesn't spend time in society, but when a friend invites him to a musical event, he accepts to be courteous. When he spots a beautiful young lady, and hears her lovely singing, he's captivated in spite of himself. She's surrounded by friends and beaus, so Sebastian has no expectation that she'll even notice him, but she does.

Sylvia Stafford is the daughter of a baronet, and is a popular young lady. She's drawn to Sebastian, who appears quiet and serious, and so unlike the society gentlemen she's familiar with. As Sebastian changes his tune and begins to attend every event, just to spend time with Sylvia, it seems that they are rapidly falling in love. On the night before he has to leave for India, Sebastian intends to propose, but loses his nerve, believing Sylvia could never accept him. They share a romantic moment and some tender kisses, then Sebastian leaves, without any further word.

Sylvia obtains her father's permission to write to Sebastian, and pours her heart out in dozens of letters, but never receives a reply. As for Sebastian, he never receives any correspondence from Sylvia, and is convinced that he was just a flirtation. Obviously, someone is determined that this couple should not be together, but who, and why?

Eventually Sylvia and Sebastian will both have to endure devastating and life changing events. Sylvia's father gambles away everything, then takes his own life, and the ensuing scandal causes Sylvia to be cut by society. As well as having to leave the only life she's known, Sylvia now has no means of support, and must decide whether to be a poor relation or to seek employment. She chooses to become a governess, even though her employers are in trade, rather than society. Still, they are kind, and Sylvia makes peace with her new lot in life, while she convinces herself that she no longer loves Sebastian.

Meanwhile, Sebastian was severely injured in India, and sent home, only to find that his father and older brother have died. He's now the Earl of Radcliffe. Badly scarred, and blinded in one eye, Sebastian chooses to retreat to the country at Pershing Hall, licking his wounds in private. He doesn't want to see anyone, or run the earldom. But his younger sister, Julia, can't bear to see him like this. She has a plan...

Sebastian is furious when Sylvia appears as Julia's guest at Pershing Hall. (You'll have to read the story to discover how Julia managed to arrange this.) The two former sweethearts are hurt and angry - each believing they were played false three years ago. They also misjudge the other's motives for their meeting now. Through the tangled web of deceit that originally kept them apart to the misunderstandings they believe today, it seems unlikely there can be any type of reconciliation.

I love both these characters and hate the underhanded way they were separated. Sebastian is a serious and quiet man, who is very honorable, but is hurting both physically and emotionally. Eventually, he is determined to find out the truth, and when Sylvia's first letter is found, and he finally is able to read of her love and longing, it's an emotional and beautiful moment. Sylvia has a strength and dignity that I admire so much. She accepted her heartbreak, as well as her change in fortune, and began to build a new life for herself. This couple is so different from each other, and so perfect for each other. Their reconciliation is sweet and satisfying, though their passion is not expressed beyond kisses. THE LOST LETTER is a bittersweet and emotional second chance at love story, which I found touching and extremely well written.

Rating 4.5 stars
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