About the Book
Book: Fair as a Star
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction, Victorian Romance
From USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews comes a Victorian tale of love and longing in a quaint English village.
A Secret Burden…
After a mysterious sojourn in Paris, Beryl Burnham has returned home to the village of Shepton Worthy ready to resume the life she left behind. Betrothed to the wealthy Sir Henry Rivenhall, she has no reason to be unhappy—or so people keep reminding her. But Beryl’s life isn’t as perfect as everyone believes.
A Longstanding Love…
As village curate, Mark Rivenhall is known for his compassionate understanding. When his older brother’s intended needs a shoulder to lean on, Mark’s more than willing to provide one. There’s no danger of losing his heart. He already lost that to Beryl a long time ago.
During an idyllic Victorian summer, friends and family gather in anticipation of Beryl and Sir Henry’s wedding. But in her darkest moment, it’s Mark who comes to Beryl’s aid. Can he help her without revealing his feelings—or betraying his brother?
Fair as a Star by Mimi Matthews is a superb Victorian romance. I’ve been dealing with a bit of depression lately and hit a slight reading slump. The cure for both my depression and reading slump apparently was to read this book! I actually laughed out loud when I got a few pages in and realized that one of the main conflicts in this story is depression. My husband chuckled when I told him and said, “Sounds like the book was written just for you.” Mimi Matthews has no idea who I am, but I do believe that when authors write the stories they do it’s because God has a reader in mind. Fair as a Star was a book God wanted me to read!
There is so much to love about this story. The plot is highly engaging. This is one of those books where you say to yourself, “Just one more chapter. Oh! End of the chapter. I can do one more.” The characters are superbly written. I especially relate to Beryl and her emotional issues. In fact, there are moments in this story where Beryl’s inner dialogue and her confessions felt like deja vu. I know what this character is going through because I’ve been there! I appreciate the historical illustration of how Victorian society felt about depression and the various methods to effect a “cure,” but it is Mark’s strategies for helping Beryl that I truly love. Not only do his strategies show common sense and selflessness, but they also illustrates what a superior hero Mark is in this novel. And ladies, Mark is a superior hero! Boy, did I swoon a few times. Which leads me to what I love the most about this story — the relationship between Mark and Beryl. It’s perfect. They are longtime friends who slowly figure out that they are more. I found their progress from friends to lovers perfectly paced and quite believable.
In roughly 200 pages, Matthews is able to pack quite the punch. She delves into such topics as depression, gossip, faith, societal expectations, friendship, love, and respect. My favorite discussion is in regards to personal flaws. Beryl is very honest about her flaws, but she is a bit presumptuous in that she believes she needs to be flawless in order for someone to love her. She tries so hard to hide the dark side of herself and only show the light side that she runs away from home for one year so no one sees her personal battle. That’s quite an extraordinary length to go to to prevent others from seeing a character flaw! Yes, it is good for us to recognize our sins and shortcomings, and it is excellent of us to try to rectify those issues. But to pretend at perfection is never the answer. Being the “perfect” person we think society, family, and friends want is exhausting. The only being ever to be perfect is Jesus. We can do our best to emulate Him, but we will never be able to be perfect this side of Heaven. If someone cannot accept you for your good AND bad, then that someone isn’t capable of loving you. It’s the one who can accept your bad with your good who is able to illustrate true love. Remember, love covers a multitude of sins. Love doesn’t ever throw your sins in your face. Not only is this a great lesson for Beryl to learn, but it’s a great reminder for us readers, too!
Fair as a Star is a superb novel that I cannot recommend enough. This is another home run by Mimi Matthews; one you won’t want to miss!
I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from Perfectly Proper Press via NetGalley in order to review. I also pre-ordered an eBook copy of this novel from Amazon.com as well. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.