cover image Fair as a Star

Fair as a Star

Mimi Matthews. Perfectly Proper, $3.99 e-book (225p) ISBN 978-1-7330569-8-4

Matthews (The Lost Letter) spins a moving friends-to-lovers Victorian romance that stands out for its sensitive portrayal of a heroine living with depression at a time when the condition was misunderstood and maligned. Beryl Burnham returns to Somerset, England, after an abrupt, year-long trip abroad that sent rumors flying through her quaint little village. Though her marriage to Sir Henry Rivenhall looms, Beryl is less eager to reconnect with her betrothed than she is to reunite with Henry’s younger brother, Mark, who had been her faithful correspondent while she was away. Unaware of Mark’s unspoken love for her, Beryl confides in him about the sadness that has been with her since childhood and reveals the reason for her sudden trip: she overdosed on sleeping medication and was sent away on doctor’s orders. While compassionate Mark offers support and works to understand Beryl’s condition, callous Henry reveals his true colors, causing a rift between the couple. Beryl’s strength and kindness shine even at her darkest moments, and Mathews does an admirable job of showing that, while Mark’s love cannot cure her, it can help her become more courageous and self-aware. A humorous subplot involving Beryl’s headstrong sister, Winifred, balances out the heavier moments with levity. Historical romance fans won’t want to miss this. (Self-published)