First things first. Does that cover rock, or what? I love it.
The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen is a historical romantic mystery. Since Amelie's parents died, she has lived and then worked with her Aunt Sally as a matchmaker and columnist for The Marriage Gazette. She would love to find romance, herself, but for now she's satisfied with living in a building owned by Aunt Sally (near her beloved cousins, Eva and Charlotte) and being an independent woman.
Michael Baker is a detective working for Scotland Yard. His partner and brother-in-law has recently been killed in the line of duty, leaving his sister widowed with a baby. Michael is convinced that he could never marry and risk leaving a widow, as well.
Amelie and Michael first meet when the detective begins investigating a man by the name of Radcliffe, whom he suspects of murdering his wife. Amelie is watching Radcliffe and a dinner guest she set up with him from outside a restaurant, just to make sure they're getting along okay. She is surprised to find that the anonymous man for whom she arranged this meeting is a man from her book club whom she knows to be a recent widower. When Michael spots her and brings her in for questioning, she offers to bring the detective to her book club and introduce him as a family friend to aid his investigation. And, then she gets a little too involved in the investigation, becoming the love interest of Radcliffe for the sake of trying to get information out of him.
Is Radcliffe the gentleman solicitor that he appears to be or a murderer? Has Michael put Amelie in terrible danger? What will happen when Amelie and Michael find that they are attracted to each other?
Highly recommended - What an immensely entertaining read. Although there's a murder mystery wrapped up in this historical romance, the tone is light-hearted. Amelie is naive and Michael just a little bit jaded but she's such a charming innocent that he can't help but find himself drawn to her.
There were a couple things that irritated me (the time period is never specifically mentioned) or felt off (anachronisms to the time or place), but they were not enough to knock this book down from the 5 stars I felt it deserved. I mentally placed the story around 1890 and then eventually the Arts and Crafts movement is mentioned and I thought, "Aha! At the very least, I'm close." I've only recently read up on the Arts and Crafts movement after finding out a stained glass window I bought from a salvage store hails from that time period. If you follow me on either Facebook or Instagram, you'll see a corner of the stained glass in the background of the image I posted of this book and that's why.
Nancy Campbell Allen is new to me but I'll be keeping an eye out for more of her books. My thanks to Shadow Mountain for the review copy!
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