Monday, March 4, 2024

Appointment in Bath - Review

Appointment in Bath (Somerset Stories, # 4)

By: Mimi Matthews

Publication: June 27, 2023

288 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--A chance meeting between the sheltered daughter and the forward-thinking son of rival Victorian families sparks a forbidden romance in USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews's fourth book in her acclaimed Somerset Stories series.

Shy and stammering Meg Burton-Smythe has spent the whole of her life living on the fringes of local society. She's more comfortable with her daydreams than she is with people. But when a dashing, golden-haired hero rides to her rescue one morning, she dares to hope that her dreams might finally come true. There's only one her handsome rescuer is the son of her father's sworn enemy.

Ivo Beresford doesn't believe in clinging to the past. Freshly returned from a lengthy grand tour, he's looking to the future, eager to spearhead the building of a new railway extension in Somersetshire. But an unexpected encounter with Meg Burton-Smythe, the isolated only daughter of his parents' oldest foe, sets the past and the future colliding.

Resolved to put ancient grudges to rest-at least where innocent young ladies are concerned-Ivo encourages lonely Meg to embark on a secret friendship. After all, what harm can a friendship do? It isn't as though there's any danger of the two of them falling in love...

I've been looking forward to Appointment in Bath since reading Return to Satterthwaite Court since Ivo and Meg's story overlaps with Kate & Charles's. Plus, Mimi Matthews is one of my auto-buy authors. Knowing the backstory between Maggie, Nicholas, and Fred, my immediate reaction to a relationship between a Beresford & a Smythe-Burton was that it could never work. So, of course, I needed to find out how Mimi Matthews would make this work.

Meg couldn't be more likable. She starts the book as meek and shy. But I love it when she discovers her backbone. She avoids the extreme of following in her father's footsteps of plain meanness or vindictive behavior. Meg is a strong female lead even when she doesn't seem that way. Her stammer and uncertainty about how others view her causes her to appear weak, but that's surface level. When the rubber meets the road, Meg stands up for herself against those closest to her and those she wants closest to her. She knows when she deserves to be treated better.

Ivo is almost singularly focused on progress. He's a visionary. He sees where improvements could be made all around him. And his two biggest visions are on moving forward and leaving the past between his parents and Meg in the past and planning a railroad expansion into their home village. Ivo's tunnel vision gets him in trouble when he doesn't notice the feelings of others that he's steamrolling right over.

Fred is probably the biggest curiosity. What will his reaction be to Meg having a relationship with a Beresford? Surely, he has to respond in some underhanded way, either regarding the relationship itself or Ivo's business venture. I won't give things away, but I liked how Mimi Matthews handled things in this area.

Favorite quotes:

-"It's because you'll have faced what you feared. Every time we do so, we emerge stronger for the experience. It's a proven fact."

-"The important things are often difficult to say."

-"He m-may not love me, but he doesn't strike me. He doesn't lock me away in the tower." "A low bar."

-"Is love not something you need?"

-"But he m-might say things. He m-might lose his t-temper." "So what if he does. His words can't harm me."

-"I must blame the mistletoe. Potent stuff, that."

-"You're more than your circumstances."

-"Humans have an infinite capacity for change. We've no need to fear it. To change is to survive."

As always, I enjoyed Appointment in Bath and read it in about two days. Mimi Matthews is one of my favorite authors. Her characters are always deep and multi-layered. Meg and Ivo were no different. And I enjoyed getting to see Fred in quite a sorry state. Our actions do have consequences after all. And now I can't wait for James and Hannah's story, coming soon. Appointment in Bath gets 4 Stars. Have you read Appointment in Bath? What did you think? Let me know!

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