The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews
Parish Orphans of Devon Book 4
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

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Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

I know I’m getting older and don’t remember things like I used to, like every book I’ve ever read. I would like to think I’d never forget that Mimi Matthews was one of my favorite authors. While I was reading The Winter Companion, I had a vague feeling that I was familiar with the cast of characters and the setting. That sense of ‘knowing’ grew stronger as I continued turning the pages. I was enjoying the story too much to stop and look the book up on the internet. When I finished, I looked it up and sure enough, I was correct; I had read the first one in this series, The Matrimonial Advertisement. It all came back to me and now I’m sad that I hadn’t read the second and third books. The two that I have read can be read as standalone stories but I much prefer to go back and read the others.

This particular book was a very sweet romance with the bedroom door firmly closed. The heroine, Clara, was innocent and precious. I also found her to be intelligent but gullible yet maintained a strong independent mindset. Those conflicting set of characteristics somehow made her charming and a perfect match for the hero, Neville. Neville’s honesty and childlike mannerisms stole my heart. Together Neville and Clara built each other up. They both had issues from their past to overcome and I appreciated how they didn’t play mind games. They shared their past with each other and their dreams. It was entertaining to see them find their happily ever after.

One bone of contention I have is with Clara’s brother and her mother. Without spoiling anything, I’m not happy with how there is no mention of them afterwards. No apology or closure. I’m left with a few questions. Does Clara just never write or see them again? They were a significant part of the plot. They were the reason that Clara was a companion in the first place and ended up at Devon. I’m a picky reviewer when it comes to those kinds of loose threads.

I enjoyed the epilogue and found The Winter Companion to be an entertaining read. I’m just going to assume that Clara never spoke to her mother or her brother again as long as she lived. They didn’t deserve to have Clara in their lives anyway. What they did to her was unforgivable in my opinion. Neville’s love for Clara more than made up for this minor hiccup in the plot. Their happily ever after made for a satisfying read.

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