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Appointment in Bath
Mimi Matthews. Perfectly Proper, $16.99 trade paper (298p) ISBN 978-1-73608-026-9
The sweet and simple fourth Victorian romance in Matthews’s Somerset Stories series (after Return to Satterthwaite Court) finds shy young Meg Burton-Smythe falling for the handsome son of a rival family. Ivo Beresford returns to England from a grand tour of the continent eager to introduce railways to Somersetshire. After meeting Meg while riding, he is immediately enchanted, despite their parents’ lifelong hostilities. Meg, who stutters, is afraid both that Ivo merely pities her and that her father will be angry if he discovers their friendship. To escape her problems, she runs away to Bath, where her former governess lives. Surprisingly, Meg’s father joins her in Bath and agrees to introduce her to society there. When Ivo defies his family and follows them both to Bath intent on proposing, it’s merely a matter of time before the adults agree to tolerate one another for the young couple’s sake. The plot is straightforward and gentle, lacking the suspense and sexual tension found in Ivo’s parents’ adventure (in the series’ second book, Gentleman Jim), but Matthews’s ease with romance conventions and extensive knowledge of the era add appeal. This tender outing may not be a page-turner, but for readers seeking comfort, it’s got the goods. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 09/22/2023

Release date 06/01/2023