The Lily of Ludgate Hill
Review,  Historical Fiction,  Romance

The Lily of Ludgate Hill by Mimi Matthews – delightful second chance Victorian romance

The Lily of Ludgate Hill is captivating and delightful, slow burn, second chance, friends-lover-enemies-lovers Victorian romance.

The Lily of Ludgate Hill

The Lily of Ludgate Hill (Belles of London #3) by Mimi Matthews

Publication Date : January 16, 2024

Publisher : Berkley

Read Date : February 1, 2024

Genre : Historical Romance

Pages : 432

Source : NetGalley / Publisher

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Previous Books in Series I Read

The Siren of Sussex (Book 1)
The Belle of Belgrave Square (Book 2)

Synopsis

Fortune favors the bold—but is a confirmed spinster daring enough to loosen the reins and accept a favor from the wicked gentleman who haunts her dreams?

Lady Anne Deveril doesn’t spook easily. A woman of lofty social standing known for her glacial beauty and starchy opinions, she’s the unofficial leader of her small group of equestriennes. Since her mother’s devastating plunge into mourning six years ago, Anne voluntarily renounced any fanciful notions of love and marriage. And yet, when fate puts Anne back into the entirely too enticing path of Mr. Felix Hartford, she’s tempted to run…right into his arms.

No one understands why Lady Anne withdrew into the shadows of society, Hart least of all. The youthful torch he once held for her has long since cooled. Or so he keeps telling himself. But now Anne needs a favor to help a friend. Hart will play along with her little ruse—on the condition that Anne attend a holiday house party at his grandfather’s country estate. No more mourning clothes. No more barriers. Only the two of them, unrequited feelings at last laid bare.

Finally free to gallop out on her own, Anne makes the tantalizing discovery that beneath the roguish exterior of her not-so-white knight is a man with hidden depths, scorching passions—and a tender heart.

Review

The Lily of Ludgate Hill is slow burn second chance historical romance, third in Belles of London, that follows story of Lady Ann Deveril and Mr. Felix Hartford.

They both knew each other since childhood, they loved each other. Six and half years ago a day after Hart’s proposal for marriage to Anne, tragedy strikes Anne’s family that changed her life. Once the required mourning period ended and Hart returned from his exploration in India he thought they would get married but instead, they had a huge fight with bitter hateful words, breaking their heart and each other.

Anne and her mother have lived in never ending mourning ever since. Anne had put behind her dream of marriage or happily ever after but when her best friend Julia eloped with Captain Blunt, she has to put aside her animosity with Hart and ask for his help that takes them on road trip forcing them to confront their past, old, regrets, guilts and feelings that never died with their break up.

Writing is gripping and emotive with dual perspective as the previous books in the series but The Lily of Ludgate Hill was much slower than I expected. Setting of Victorian England is as captivating as the characters that are heart of the book.

The Lily of Ludgate Hill focuses on Anne and Hart, their life in past six and half years, and their feelings along with the theme of grief, forgiveness, familial duty, and growth. It is filled with society and fmaily drama, romance, emotions, friendship and romance.

The confident, feisty, fiery Anne I have come to know in previous books is shadowed by the vulnerability she was hiding inside her so far. It was heartaching to see her bearing the responsibility of her mother’s grief, trying to hold on to little family she has left leaving no room for her own grief along with the loneliness she felt and the looming trouble of her cousin- who inherited Arundel name, status, and estate after her father’s death- wanting them to move out of their London house.

I could understand why she felt Hart left her all those years ago not understanding her position and even now behaving the same way until she has to word them. She wasn’t wrong in her belief Hart failed to give her surety, support, and security when she knew nothing of what he was going through but at the same time, I felt she was too hard on him because of her own fear of losing not just her mother but also him.

Hart was careless, young, and lacked maturity six and half years ago. He did things for amusement but little anyone knew how he made his humor an armor to keep his vulnerability and burden of responsibility hidden. I loved him for his patience with not just Anne but also with his step-family. It made me angry on his behalf how they behaved after everything he had done for the past nine years and at the same time how society and his own family was saying about him.

He was that misunderstood hero who carried more baggage and suffered alone without confiding in a single person. He wasn’t wrong in blaming everything on Anne’s mother. At some points, I also felt how she couldn’t see the effects of her decision of perpetual mourning on Anne. I get her own wish to keep the mourning clothes but why wouldn’t she let Anne be free of it and why wouldn’t she want to find a husband for Anne?

But I liked how Hart had been honest about his thoughts and feelings from the beginning. I loved how he accepted his past mistakes with Anne and how he took one opportunity to right that wrong and never gave up on Anne now that he had hope of having her.

Romance is filled with angst, tension, banter, and pining for most of the book. Even though we can see they love each other their situation and past make their feelings so complex making push and pull quite enjoyable. The only thing that made me frustrated a little was the slow progress in their relationship. It can be both positive and negative depending on how you like your romance stories but for me it just made me want to flip the pages fast to reach the part of sweet, heartwarming moments that we finally get after 60% of the book.

I absolutely loved their stolen kisses and all the moments of Hart winning Anne back and not hiding it this time making it so plain it’s hard for Anne’s mother to ignore. I loved how that brought back Anne I used to know, how spending time with Hart made her confront her own grief and also talk about it with her mother. And that moment she finally discarded her blacks was epic. It was so great to see her in colors.

I was anticipating the drama near the end and thought it would be pretty serious but it turned out amusing. I loved how things turned out in Anne and Hart’s favor and they finally getting their happily ever after. Loved reading some of Victorian facts related to theme and layers of the story in author’s note in the end.

Overall, The Lily of Ludgate Hill is captivating and delightful, slow burn, second chance, friends-lover-enemies-lovers victorian romance.

I highly recommend The Lily of Ludgate Hill if you enjoy,

Victorian Romance
Second chance
Slow burn clean romance
Childhood friends-lovers-enemies-lovers
Theme of grief and familial duty

Goodreads Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Captivating and delightful, slow burn, second chance, friends-lover-enemies-lovers Victorian romance. Check out review of #TheLilyofLudgateHill by Mimi Matthews ⬇️ Many thanks @BerkleyRomance for eARC via NetGalley. Click To Tweet


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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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