The Winter Companion

Perfectly Proper. (Parish Orphans of Devon, Bk. 4). Feb. 2020. 316p. ISBN 9781733056953. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781733056946. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Clara Hartwright is a paid lady’s companion who secretly studies natural science vicariously through her brother, who attends Cambridge. Neville Cross, who has a speech impediment from a head injury in his youth, avoids people at all costs, caring for horses on his friend’s estate. Drawn together by an injured Dartmoor Pony during a holiday gathering, the pair see in each other what everyone else has dismissed. When a family emergency forces Clara to depart for Cambridge unexpectedly, Neville must decide whether to leave the safety of home to protect the woman he loves and bravely face the world that often unfairly correlates his slow speech with a slow mind.
VERDICT Fans of the “Parish Orphans of Devon” series will adore this final installment, reuniting the orphans and their loves. Matthews (A Convenient Fiction) sensitively portrays a neuroatypical protagonist facing ingrained prejudices, even from friends, and how such preconceptions limits a person’s potential.
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