A Holiday by Gaslight- Mimi Matthews
Perfectly Proper Press
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Synopsis: Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He's grim and silent. A man of little emotion--or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she's ready to put an end to things.
But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn't as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there's Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What's a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there'll be no false formality. This time they'll get to know each other for who they really are.
Sophie Appersett is trying to be a modern woman. The world is changing rapidly all around her and she is trying to take Mr. Darwin's theories to heart and change with them. While her family has no money, she is a baronet's daughter and has been raised to expect a marriage of convenience instead of love. When the wealthy Edward Sharpe shows an interest in her, it doesn't bother Sophie that he isn't an aristocrat. But after two months of courting, it does bother her that she still knows nothing about Ned. He never says more than a few words and always seems to wish he was somewhere else. While Sophie might not expect love, a vague liking would be nice! She's ready to call it off if they can't get to know each other during her family's Christmas house party. What Sophie doesn't take into account is the gaslight . . .
Sophie is a wonderful heroine: smart, independent, kind, and warm. While on the surface she and Ned Sharpe seem to be complete opposites, once Ned realizes he needs to break down and be a little more himself around Sophie, it becomes obvious they are a perfect match. She has shouldered the burdens of her family: her spoiled sister and her father's mania for modernization of the family home even when it means spending Sophie's dowry to make it happen. The idea of having a partner in life, a man who will treat her as an equal, is more beguiling than any romance to her. Ned doesn't believe in romance or love, but Sophie teaches him that both are exactly what he needs. They just need a little plain speaking between them, and a little relationship advice from Charles Darwin.
Blending the rapidly evolving scientific discoveries of the 1860s with changing societal ideas and prejudices makes for a fresh approach to the Victorian Christmas novella. Romance and high family drama allow Sophie and Ned to evolve naturally in front of us, often surprising themselves as much as us. A sweet, delightful holiday novella, Gaslight brings all the charm and magic of a Victorian Christmas to life on each page. Fans of Lisa Kleypas' Wallflowers series will love Mimi Matthews' A Holiday by Gaslight!
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review