I should just start a Mimi Matthews book club at this point, right? I was lucky enough to get on the blog tour for her newest book, The Work of Art which makes this the fourth book of hers I’ve reviewed. What can I say? I love a historical romance and she writes some of the best!
As you scroll through, make sure you check out my review, enter the giveaway!!, and see what the other lovely book bloggers on this tour are up to!
THE WORK OF ART BY MIMI MATTHEWS
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Perfectly Proper Press
Paperback & eBook
Genre: Historical Romance
An Uncommon Beauty…
Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland—a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the Duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.
An Unlikely Hero…
Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.
Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her—and her heart—in more danger than ever?
“In her sixth historical romance, Matthews (The Pug Who Bit Napoleon; A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty) weaves suspense and mystery within an absorbing love story. Readers will be hard put to set this one down before the end. Highly recommended to historical romance and/or mystery buffs and especially animal lovers.” – Library Journal, Starred Review
AMAZON | APPLE | BARNES AND NOBLE | KOBO
At this point, you all know I’m a Mimi Matthews fan. I’ve reviewed two of her books and a novella before this. I love them all and that did not change with The Work of Art. As with all of Mimi Matthews’s books, it’s incredibly well researched and the characters come to life in your head.
The Work of Art follows Phyllida (Philly) Southwaite, a girl without a home. Or at least not one she feels entirely comfortable in.
After her grandfather died, she agreed to go and live in London with her Uncle Edgar and his family. She is mildly content while living there, but soon finds her very livelihood threatened when the Duke of Moreland decides he wants her. He is a “collector” of rare items and with her beauty and eyes two different colors, he decides he must have Philly (that’s why she is referred to as ‘The Work of Art’). Of course, he doesn’t ask her for her opinion on the matter (ugh dudes…).
Philly is terrified of him. He is mean to animals and seems to have no interest in her whatsoever besides being a “thing” he owns. Additionally, Philly brought her three dogs with her from her grandfather’s estate and she doesn’t want to even imagine what the Duke would do to them.
Luckily, she has an out. Over the past couple of weeks, she has gotten acquainted with Captain Arthur Heywood. He is a business friend of her uncle’s and finds Philly breathtaking in all the ways the Duke could never be bothered to notice (*gasp* he sees her as a person). While he doesn’t think anything of her on their first meeting (which involves her throwing a dog in his lap), that soon changes.
He is considered a bit of an outcast himself due to his reclusiveness as well as an injury from the war that means he’s not able to walk without a cane or the help of someone. When Philly stealthily helps him walk back to her uncle’s home without mentioning his injury, he realizes she is not the silly girl he thought she was. She is considerate, funny, and kind.
So, when Philly’s in trouble, she goes to Arthur for help. They have been secretly meeting in the park to talk and simply get away from society. Philly uses one of these meetings to tell Arthur about her plan to escape the Duke.
She wants to run away from her uncle’s home, marry Arthur ensuring she is safe from the Duke trying to “have” her. Arthur hesitantly accepts. He doesn’t want her throwing her life away on him. But Philly will have none of his doubt. She is scared, but she knows how brilliant and worthwhile Arthur is despite what he thinks of himself.
And so the plan begins. I swear to god I held my breath through this whole scene. I was so worried Philly was going to get caught and trapped in her uncle’s house. She does meet a few issues on the way, but ends up making it to Arthur who whisks her AND HER DOGS away. A dude who saves you from a creeper and takes your dogs too?? Where can I find one?!
The story goes on to show how Philly and Arthur’s relationship develops. They really don’t know each other all that well, but over time, they soon begin to.
Arthur will do anything to keep her safe, even if that means keeping secrets from her so she doesn’t worry. They think the Duke might still harm Philly in some way. He has a bit of a reputation and other women he’s been associated with have died.
Usually, I don’t like when one character doesn’t tell another what’s going on, but it is done VERY WELL here. I was 0% annoyed lol. It’s not unnecessarily drawn out and Arthur does share most of what’s going on with Philly.
Ok, let’s talk dogs. There is a scene where Philly is summoned into the woods by a man she knows semi-well. He tells her to leave her dogs where they are because he just wants to talk. She agrees and goes. Too bad the dogs don’t listen (best puppers ever!)
Her most loyal dog, Basil, comes after her and saves the day. As you can probably guess, the man did not have Philly’s best interests in mind, but best doggo, Basil, came to the rescue.
I was worried for the whole book that a dog was going to die and especially during this scene. I was already preemptively crying, but don’t worry, lovely book people! NO DOGS DIE IN THIS BOOK!! (this is like an opposite trigger warning)
The Work of Art is romantic, thrilling, and wonderful. Both Philly and Arthur are their own person (which I always love) and are both so well–developed. They have separate backstories, specific traits that define them, and they grow with each other as the story progresses. I am giving The Work of Art 4 out of 5 stars. If you love historical romance as much as I do, you need to read this book.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, The Matrimonial Advertisement) writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.
During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed copy of The Work of Art! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, July 24
Review at Courtney Clark
Thursday, July 25
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Friday, July 26
Review at Passages to the Past
Monday, July 29
Review at Red Headed Book Lady
Tuesday, July 30
Excerpt at Faery Tales Are Real
Wednesday, July 31
Review at The Lit Bitch