A Convenient Fiction

Perfectly Proper. (Parish Orphans of Devon, Bk. 3). Oct. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781733056939. pap. $16.99;. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
After years as a cardsharp in Europe, Alex Archer has one ambition: secure a wealthy wife in England. Upon arrival in Surrey, he’s introduced to a country heiress as repayment of a gambling debt owed him by a childhood friend. The woman’s companion, Laura Hayes, an impoverished daughter of a deceased perfumer battling for control of her father’s property for her invalid brother, immediately recognizes Alex for what he is but also sees a greater, heroic potential. After saving her life while inadvertently damaging her reputation in the process, Alex is forced to choose between the luxurious life he believes he deserves or standing by the woman he loves. Matthews’s third book in the “Parish Orphans of Devon” series (The Matrimonial Advertisement; A Modest Independence) once again highlights the injustices of rigid class structures in Victorian England, this time matching a hero of dubious character and a worthy, resourceful heroine.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy their historicals set in the country- or seaside and France or England will be in for a treat.
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