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The Lost Letter

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Alternative cover edition for ASIN B07777L5NP.


Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant's household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life--and her former love.


Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited--and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.


A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

204 pages, ebook

First published September 19, 2017

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About the author

Mimi Matthews

20 books2,673 followers
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances, including The Siren of Sussex, a 2023 RUSA Reading List shortlist pick for Best Romance; Fair as a Star, a Library Journal Best Romance of 2020; Gentleman Jim, a Kirkus Best Book of 2020; and The Work of Art, winner of the 2020 HOLT Medallion. Her novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, and Shelf Awareness, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine.

In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

**I only rate the books I love.**

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 816 reviews
Profile Image for Lyuda.
538 reviews133 followers
September 20, 2017

2.5 stars

I have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast type of stories. This one started very promising but ended up being somewhat disappointing.

The story is well-researched with careful attention to customs and behaviors of historical times. It is always gratifying for me when authors treat their historical romances as historical and not as “dressed up” contemporary ones. The writing flowed nicely and I especially liked the way the hero declared his love at the end. It was very romantic.

But, but…

The novel is short (barely over 200 pages) and reads more like a novella with all the trappings of the format. Even after finishing the book I felt I didn’t know the main characters that well. This is a second-chance story but I didn’t know why they felt in love in the first place. There were just a few tidbits here and there about their encounters :

He had been so much more imposing than other gentlemen. So much more serious. He had not given her effusive compliments or made a show of teasing her. He had just been there. Formidable. Reliable. Trustworthy.
And because he had not appeared to give his affections easily, she had valued his attention all the more. Of course, that had only been at the beginning.

How did she know he was reliable and trustworthy right for the beginning? What did he do to receive such honorable evaluation?

Later, when she had spent more time with him, talked to him and got to know him, she had come to care for him deeply.

Again, don’t tell but show me the glimpses of their building romance so I can see why they fall in love so deeply in the first place. The premise of the whole story is based on this. Their second chance is based on this foundation. Otherwise, what are the building blocks of their reunion but somewhat vague reference to the past love? No wonder, the love crumbled so fast when neither of them received each other letters during separation. They were virtual strangers who assumed the worse of each other (no letters or letters returned = no love). Way to jump to a conclusion! There was no curiosity, no concern during their separation that maybe something did happen to “the love of their life”.

Finally, at about 51% mark, the characters found out that their distrust of each other was result of a misunderstanding and family interference. I thought, Hallelujah! All is clear now. Can we start with the romance part, please? Nope, not meant to be. Instead, we encounter another misunderstanding that separated our characters again. I just couldn’t believe it! Instead of exploring their changed circumstances, and who they became as human beings, instead of seeing if they still suited each other or worthy of each other love, instead of courting and improving their relationship, they separate again!

Overall, uneven but promising debut by the author to watch.
Profile Image for "Avonna.
1,153 reviews315 followers
August 24, 2017
Check out all of my reviews at: http://www.avonnalovesgenres.com

THE LOST LETTER: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE by Mimi Matthews is a beautifully written historical romance set in the Victorian era. The story flows between the hero and heroine, past and present, as they are given a second chance at love. The story is captivating and only a little longer than a novella. I just kept turning the pages and was done before I knew it in just one sitting.

Sylvia Stafford was the beautiful and charming daughter of a Baron. She had many suitors, but the man who claimed her heart was a dashing career Calvary officer and second son of an Earl. Before his return to India, Sylvia shares a chaste kiss with her dashing soldier and gives him a lock of her hair. As Sylvia waits for her word from her love, her father’s gaming debts become too much and he commits suicide leaving Sylvia with nothing and no one. Sylvia becomes a governess to a merchant family away from the society and friends she grew up with.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad returns from India a badly scarred and tormented man. He retreats to his family’s estate to hide. His father and older brother have died and that leaves Sebastian as the Earl. One day, his little sister is visiting and spies on Sebastian crying over a lock of hair and asks his man-servant who it belongs to and after some questioning finds where Sylvia now resides as a governess and invites her to Hertfordshire to help her stop her brother from doing something drastic.

The two are reunited, but under very different circumstances and each believes the other did not truly share the same feelings three years ago. As the two each learn truths about the intervening years, their love begins to grow once again, but will it be enough to clear up all the misunderstandings and let these two have their HEA?

This is an extremely romantic and emotional story in all its simplicity of plot. The characters are so realistic and just walk off the page and into your heart. This love story will stay in my memory for some time to come. This is a definite keeper that I can highly recommend.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.
Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,011 followers
January 3, 2019

"She burned my letters?"
"All but one," Sebastian said."

Another fantastic novella from Mimi Matthews. I could have devoured this in one sitting had I not fogged my brain with too much wine. I really love her writing and her writing style! Looking forward to reading many many more.
Profile Image for Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*.
425 reviews203 followers
April 16, 2021
I loved this tender, emotional and romantic debut novel from Mimi Matthews which features a second chance story, one of my favorite themes.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad followed the career expected of all the second sons of the Earls of Radcliffe and became a soldier. Orderly, disciplined and rather serious, life as a career cavalry officer suited Sebastian perfectly. While on leave in London, he accepts an invitation to a musical evening where he is captivated by the lovely Sylvia Stafford.

With her genuine warmth and kindness, baronet’s daughter, Sylvia Stafford, is very popular and has attracted many suitors. However, it is the rather serious and aloof Colonel Conrad to whom she is attracted.

Over the next two months, they meet ‘by accident’ at various events and it’s obvious that they have fallen in love. Sylvia anticipates that Sebastian will propose, especially when he asks for a lock of her hair and they kiss, but Sebastian does not propose, fearing rejection. The following night, he is ordered back to his regiment in India to assist in putting down a rebellion. When Sylvia’s numerous letters to Sebastian go unanswered and Sebastian’s letters to Sylvia are returned unopened, both feel hurt and betrayed by the other.

Three years have passed, and both have experienced dramatic changes in their lives. After Sylvia’s father, an inveterate gambler, lost everything on a hand of cards, he committed suicide and, because of the ensuing scandal, Sylvia’s remaining family and her society friends deserted her. Forced to fend for herself, she obtains a position as governess to a merchant family’s children. It has taken a long time to recover from the pain and hurt of Sebastian’s rejection but now she is happy and contented with her new life.

Terribly scarred and blind in one eye, Sebastian has returned to England to find that both his father and elder brother have died of fever and he is now the Earl of Radcliffe. In continual pain, he lives a lonely and isolated existence in his apartments at Pershing Hall, with no interest in running the estate and totally disconnected from his former life. I can understand Sebastian’s reasons for wanting to hide himself away; even his own sister, Julia, screamed when she first saw his face and he fears his tenants’ reactions should they see him.

It was too easy to imagine their horrified reaction to the sight of his scarred face. Granted, he had known most of his father’s tenants since his youth, but mere familiarity was no guarantee that they would not respond to him with pity and disgust.

Julia, however, is determined to draw her brother out of his state of apathy and, when she sees the lock of hair he always keeps with him, she will leave no stone unturned to find its owner. Having discovered her identity, Julia visits Sylvia and is not above telling a few white lies to persuade a very reluctant Sylvia to return to Pershing Hall as her guest for a few weeks. It is Julia’s fervent hope that spending time together will rekindle the love that Sebastian and Sylvia once shared. Even though she fears the reception she might get, I admire Sylvia for her courage and compassion in agreeing to accompany Julia.

No matter how cruelly Sebastian had treated her in the past, he did not deserve to be suffering in such a dreadful manner. No one did. If her presence could alleviate even a fraction of his pain, she must go to him.

I like how Ms. Matthews creates a palpable tension between Sebastian and Sylvia in the library scene. Driven by his feelings of hurt, bitterness and anger for having been shunned in such a heartless way, Sebastian is cold and distant towards Sylvia. Knowing of her reduced circumstances, he believes the worst…that her motives are purely mercenary now that he is an earl. While Sylvia is sure that her father’s scandalous death and her bold first letter to Sebastian were the reasons for him not answering her letters.

It is obvious that they are still very much in love, but the past remains an ever-present obstacle until the truth concerning the letters finally comes to light. Someone had deliberately set out to mislead them into believing they had forgotten each other, and I felt so much sympathy for Sylvia, knowing that this person had deceived her for their own selfish motives with no thought for her happiness. This is a turning point for them because they are now able to talk openly. I like how Sebastian apologizes for his previous cruel and uncivil behaviour and Sylvia is determined that Sebastian will no longer hide himself away in darkened libraries and shadowy portrait galleries. He is fearful that, seeing him in the light of day, will drive Sylvia away and I love the poignant scene that follows.

…then she set her fingertips very gently on the scar at the side of his eye. Her touch was warm and soft and heart-breakingly tender. He tried to concentrate on his breathing. An impossible task as she began to trace the path of his scar down his cheek.

The romance is beautifully written – sweet, tender and romantic, with only one passionate kissing scene, which fits the mood of the story perfectly.

As in all good romances, the course of true love doesn’t run completely smoothly when Sylvia misconstrues something Sebastian says. It takes the discovery of the ‘Lost Letter’ to put them back on track for a Happy Ever After. It is such a touching moment when Sebastian reads the letter, sealed with a thousand sweet kisses only for him, and I love the scene when he finally responds to her letter in person. So romantic!

I like how the secondary characters play an important role in the story, especially Julia and Sebastian’s valet, Milsom. Julia maybe annoying at times and her methods rather questionable, but her heart is in the right place and it’s obvious that she loves her brother very much. I like the genuine affection between Sebastian and his former batman, now his valet. Julia and Milsom’s various ploys to bring Sebastian and Sylvia together are amusing and provide some lighter moments in the story.

I like Ms. Matthews’ elegant writing style and the story has an authentic Victorian feel to it.

MY VERDICT: A beautifully written, emotionally satisfying, character driven love story. Highly recommended.

**I received a complimentary copy from the author for the purposes of an honest review. **

This review was first posted on Rakes and Rascals:

Profile Image for Frankie.
831 reviews61 followers
July 23, 2017
My, oh, my! This is absolutely remarkable!

Everyone who has read my reviews before will know how much I love my heroes to be trouble and vulnerable and wanting a strong women to help them back to happiness and this is just that, this is truly breath-taking and I loved every single moment of it, and I will apologize now if I start rambling on, but this is really something special and I have so much I want to say about it.

I have read a lot of Mimi Matthews’ blog posts and I have always hugely enjoyed them but this is the first book I have read from her. I knew before I opened it that it would be really rich in detail because Mathews has this undeniable skill for writing articles with atmospheric and Historical accuracy, but I like to start a book with a clean slate as though this is the first time I have read this author. But even though I knew what an amazingly talented lady she is, this blew me away......

This is right up there with the best books I have read this year, the plot is gorgeously written. The simplicity of the story is what gives it real back bone, there isn’t twists turns at every corner so you lose track of the initial story. The Lost Letter is a beautiful, romantic and emotionally shattering, as the writing is so well-defined that you feel every emotion and I just love it to bits.

For me this is one of those books that you keep on the bookshelf for ever, you will read and re-read it and you will never tire of Sylvia and Sebastian’s love story.


Full Review at Chick's Rogue's and Scandal's blog
Profile Image for Cheesecake.
2,685 reviews370 followers
September 29, 2019
I really enjoyed this one.
I wondered at one point whose letter was lost or if a letter was found instead...

Sylvia and Sebastian didn't have an understanding 3 years ago, but they were very close to one. If not for his having to leave for India (he was a colonel in the cavalry) and the machinations of her father...

Now Sylvia is no longer the pampered daughter of a Baron but the governess in a merchant's house.
Sebastian is no longer a second son in the military, but an Earl. Little good it does him as he never leaves his rooms on the family estate.
Sebastian's meddling sister Julia, is determined to play matchmaker in a desperate attempt to pull him out of his angry self imposed exile.
Sebastian is a man's man but not a manho. Sylvia is beautiful in a quietly seductive way.
My one wish was that we could have been privy to her singing for him after they are reconciled.

It is a simple plot, but very nicely done. The misunderstandings are obvious but not drawn out too long. And yet one misunderstanding is replaced with another. It's the lovely writing that kept me interested. The interesting details that brought the story to life.

Lovely grovelling and a romantic grand gesture at the end. A clean romance.

safety is very good
Profile Image for Drache.
908 reviews12 followers
May 7, 2023
reread 05/2023
I cannot say how much I love this book, the storyline, the writing style, the emotions!
I usually don't care for the misunderstandings - trope but Mimi Matthews wrote the most beautiful storyline with amazing main characters. Even the secondary characters are special, although the whole story is just 226 pages long.

5 stars, obviously.

3. reread 06/2022
This may be in the top 3 most beautiful romance novels for me. If not THE most beautiful.
Mimi Matthews' writing is exceptional.
5 stars.


"Forgive me, I did not stay safe."

Wow... What an amazing, beautiful novel.
This is the second book I've had the pleasure to read from Mrs Matthews and it was just as good as A Holiday By Gaslight. The Lost Letter was a bit longer though, but with 234 pages still a short hr. Nevertheless the author was able to show us Sylvia's and Sebastian's characters, their insecurities and hopes and got me invested in their journey to happiness. I loved them both so much! The storyline had a subtle beauty and the beast theme, but was never boring, had a few twists and kept me glued to the pages.
The writing style was flowing, really smooth and beautifully done. Several times I turned a few paragraphs back to reread them because of how beautiful the writing was.
The lack of sex scenes (they never did more than kissing, and kissed just three times) was completely in harmony with the storyline and although I seldom read clean hr I have to admit that Ms Matthews books are perfect this way. I felt so much emotions with the main characters!
The beauty of the book will stay with me for a while, and I'll definitely reread it, but first I have to read all of her other books.
It's not often I find an author who touches me this much.
5 stars.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,114 reviews72 followers
February 6, 2020
Third time reading this. One hundred letters sealed with a thousand kisses! ♥️♥️♥️
I love this story so much!

Wow just wow! 5 glorious stars! I can not say enough about how much I loved this story. I’ve been smiling for a full hour because of it.
The year is not over yet, but I’m pretty sure this my favorite historical romance of 2017. The chemistry was extra special and I loved all the character development. This was so GOOD! Thank you Mary for bringing another great book to me.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,828 reviews87 followers
September 22, 2017
This was essentially a beauty and the beast retelling set in Victorian England. Sylvia Stafford is feeling so ashamed in life. Several years ago her gambler father killed himself. The party invitations dried up for this society miss and the beau have all disappeared,after all who wants to be associated with her. Her father's death leads her to the discovery of debts he has. Not having time to feel sorry for herself she must get a job to support herself. She is now the governess of two sweet little girls. Several years previously Sylvia and Colonel Sebastian Conrad met but never had a chance to develop a relationship before he was sent to war in India. In all the time he was away she never sent him a letter, or so he though so obviously she doesn't care for him. After receiving devastating scars he returns home in tremendous pain and bitter towards life. Locking himself away from his servants he doesn't want to see anyone especially his meddling sister. Since he is in a deep depression his sister sets out to "help" him recover. Remembering that Sebastian had talked about Sylvia previously and that she made him happy she is desperate to find her.Convincing Sylvia to stay and visit with her at her brother's house while he is there is not an easy task but it is accomplished. She is scared to see him and he is a mean grump because of life's circumstances. There was a huge misunderstanding years ago taking place between them on both of their parts. When he finally allows himself to believe she actually wants to see him for himself they overcome old misunderstandings and things progress for the better. A fast read I enjoyed this a lot and hope to read more of this author's books in the future.
Pub Date 19 Sep 2017
Thank you to NetGalley and Perfectly Proper Press for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,510 reviews269 followers
September 24, 2017
True historical romance-
I think the historical romance books become a little addicting overtime. They seem to have many of the same components: the blushing virgin, a cranky beau, a misunderstanding, and finally the declaration. It’s what the author does with this traditional system that makes all the difference.

Mimi Matthews has crafted a unique plot with some pretty traditional elements along a twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. While the story is a bit shorter than a typical novel, I actually appreciated the fact that you could get an entertaining and engaging read without the extraneous detail and conversation that you sometimes get in longer historical romance novels.

The author created solid characters that had a prior relationship in the years past. Things change, people change, and situations put them together again.

With lovely writing skills that develop the story from two points of view, the caring and emotional connection these two people have can be felt right on the pages. You can see firsthand how anger and loss affects a person. You find yourself hoping that misunderstandings get cleared faster so they can get to happily ever after. Then you can breathe a deep breath.

Perfect read for those that love a story written in the traditional style, The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews is wonderful diversion that you want to take. I know I did.

full review - http://amidlifewife.com/the-lost-lett...
* copy received for review consideration
Profile Image for aarya.
1,248 reviews
October 18, 2020
The writing has Carla Kelly vibes and is very good. The hero’s backstory of fighting in the 1857-59 Sepoy Rebellion in India is not so good. ☹️ This sucked all my enjoyment out of the story, unfortunately.

Read via library.
Profile Image for Misfit.
1,637 reviews278 followers
August 5, 2018
That was fun, but it ended all too quickly - I wanted more and maybe a comeuppance or two? Oh well, a very nice romance (clean, just some kisses). A misunderstanding that isn't too much that I'd want to scream for them to talk to each other (they did). And a nice twist on the beauty and the beast theme.

Digital copy obtained via library loan.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,133 followers
February 1, 2019
Charming m/f Beauty and the Beast / wounded hero novella. The plot is a bit dependent on communication failure, but the heroine has backbone, the hero pulls his head out of his arse in time, there's an excellent valet, and the period feel is note perfect. Lovely ending.
723 reviews306 followers
May 14, 2020
Just when I was despairing of ever again finding new HR releases to my taste, along comes Mimi Matthews. New to me, she has written a lovely little, sweet Victorian romance. Granted it has more romance tropes/devices/cliches in it than you can shake a Kindle at, so let's get those out of the way first.

(1) Heroine, formerly of the peerage, is left impecunious when her reckless and selfish gambling father, a baronet, commits suicide after losing an insurmountable amount, a debt he could never repay. So she is shunned by former upper-class friends and forced to earn her living as a governess in a merchant's household.

(2) Soldier hero, now an earl after the deaths of both father and older brother, returns from India badly disfigured in battle there. He hides out from the world, refuses to see anyone. He's in pain both emotionally and physically, is unbearable and grouchy and grumpy, unfriendly and touchy, barely tolerating the visits of his younger married sister to his hidey-hole estate.

(3) Three years earlier, the heroine and hero had met at ton gatherings and had started to fall in love but declarations were not forthcoming because the hero had to return to India. The two sent each other myriad letters but these never got to the intended recipient and so each believed the worst of the other. Now they know nothing of each other. until the intervention of said younger sister of the H.

(4) Lesser device has H and h accidentally meeting late at night in the house library, with the h, of course, wearing a revealing nightgown and with her glorious tresses flowing about her shoulders. Amazing how many HRs have those contrived library encounters. Really handy way for a hero to see his heroine corset-less and with "wanton" hair.

(5) In addition to that Big Elephant Miscommunication of the letters going astray and each coming to the wrong conclusions about the other, we have, nearing the end of the story just when we think all will finally be well, that dreaded M confusion. (Does he want her for Marriage or for Mistress?)

There are probably more cliched happenings that I've forgotten, but you're getting the idea, right? Yet those old familiar tropes did not annoy me here as much as they should because Matthews knows how to present them well. Her writing is much better than the majority of HR authors; the editing of the book is good (with the exception of a couple of past tense "lie/lay" problems and a "taught" that should have been a "taut"); her characters are very well drawn; the romance is lovely and romantic without the need for any sex, just a few heated kisses; there are poignant and angsty scenes, in particular those involving that one important first lost letter; the Victorian setting is well done and is a nice change from the more common Regency one. I especially enjoyed the fact that her characters, in particular the merchant's wife that the heroine worked for, could have been caricatures, but Matthews developed them deeply enough to avoid that. Even the hero, who tended towards boorishness and intransigence at times, had his reasons and did not annoy me the way he would have if written by a less skillful author.

Nicely done. I'm looking forward to more books by this author.
Profile Image for Mary.
548 reviews11 followers
September 23, 2017
Dear Reader,

There was something very special about this book and I must admit that I absolutely loved it!!!

Perhaps it was the second chance romance aspect that pulled at my heartstrings or maybe it was Sylvia's reduced circumstances and her humble acceptance of such when faced with exceptional consequences at the hands of another.

Perhaps it was the strength of a love that refused to wither despite the Machiavellian type efforts at play by a known and trusted figure.

It may have been the pain,embarrassment and hurt each party suffered thinking themselves the forgotten one,the person ill used and cast off as insignificant in the eyes of the other.

Or perhaps it was the sweetly apt way the author chose to clear the path of their errors in judgements,mistakes and myriad misunderstandings,thus gifting them a reunion that almost brought a tear to my eye!!

Sigh!!! I just loved this book and recommended it to all lovers of romance!!
Profile Image for Crystal's Bookish Life.
786 reviews1,360 followers
February 21, 2023
This was so lovely. I adore this author's writing and the deft way she blends the romance alongside character development.

Second chance, epistolary, miscommunication surrounding the letters, right person wrong time, damaged hero.

Ugh. I loved it. And fantastic beyond words for a debut.
Profile Image for  ~Preeti~.
675 reviews
December 23, 2021
3.5 🌟 (Beauty and the beast retelling, Second-chance, misunderstanding trope, heavily scarred hero, governess heroin)

Writing-5 🌟 and Story-3 🌟

I am a sucker for beauty and the beast retellings and I simply adore Mimi Matthew's writing. But, I have such conflicting feelings about this book that I can't decide whether to round 3.5 stars to 3 or 4 stars. The book has some pretty sensitive moments that made me emotionally overwhelmed. I even feel like crying sometimes but it also has a misunderstanding/miscommunication trope that I hate. I was okay with it at first as it's a second chance romance and misunderstanding is acceptable. However, the repeated use of this trope made me irritated.

I hate when a perfectly reasonable MC starts behaving stupidly just because the author does not have any other plot device. 

Audiobook-By Justine Eyre- 4 🌟

Does anyone else get irked when Miss Eyre pulls the last word of any sentence to make it sound I don't know weird??? But, here I appreciated her narration better than at other times.

Still, I couldn't help but like the book because of its great writing.
Profile Image for kat.
496 reviews175 followers
April 16, 2022
4.75 stars ✿

“How many young ladies have you kissed in moonlit gardens, I wonder?” she had asked.
“None but you, Miss Stafford,” he had answered her truthfully. “None but you.”

this book holds a very special place in my heart. I couldn't stop smiling and feeling all the butterflies in my stomach whenever sylvia and sebastian were alone together.

⊹ song: elephant by freya ridings.
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,570 followers
January 22, 2020
4 stars - Historical Romance

This is my second read by this author, and I'm impressed with her writing style. The Lost Letter is an emotional second-chance romance with a tortured hero and heroine. I usually prefer passionate love scenes, but after reading so many romance books, I can also appreciate a well-written, albeit clean, romance that doesn't need sex to carry the story. I didn't miss the smexy times, and Justine Eyre's audiobook narration was fabulous, as always.
Profile Image for Sonya Heaney.
Author 5 books36 followers
September 29, 2017
This blog post addresses some of the things I discuss in this review - especially my questions about why such a good book isn't with a big publishing house. Basically: there's no sex, and publishers insist on it. Ugh.

I had no idea what to expect from this one. Small, unknown publisher, and a cover - while I love it for all the Victorian feelings, and wish more covers looked like this - that didn’t line up with my idea of a historical romance cover.

However, I LOVED this book. I really, really enjoyed it, loved that it was a proper romance, with a proper Victorian feel. I loved the angst and the genuine pain the characters seemed to feel. I loved that - as other reviews I’ve read have stated - that this felt like *HISTORICAL* romance.

It is a so-called “clean romance” (ugh, that term! - it means no sex), but this particular story would have been ruined with it.

While it seems to the hero that all the pain is on his side - after all, he is the one who was wounded badly in India after seeming to lose his (almost) fiancée - there is a moment around the halfway point where he realises what happened to that lost fiancée in the three years they were apart, and realises how awful her situation has been.

There’s one very sad, emotional scene that made me feel more than I’ve felt in many books, and even though I was reading in the early hours of the morning I just had to go on.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters, and that while they initially seemed to be stereotypes, they weren’t.

I don’t know what such a talented author and such a high-quality book is doing in such an obscure situation, but I hope to see more Victorian-era (yay!) books from this author.

Review copy provided by NetGalley.
Profile Image for TL .
1,823 reviews35 followers
September 29, 2017
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.
*minor edits*

A compulsively readable story and lovely writing but was left feeling underwhelmed overall.

To me, it didn't really feel like a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Yes some of the elements were there but nothing that stood out for me really.

Some things felt rushed and others were not really expanded on much. We get hints at some things but not enough to really connect with everyone.
At 204 pages, there isn't enough.. time for everything, ya know?

All in all, not a bad book but could have been much better
Profile Image for Dana Michael.
1,157 reviews93 followers
March 3, 2022
I first read this beautiful love story in 2018.

The Lost Letter is absolutely spellbinding. I love a wounded broody hero and Sebastian was just that. Sylvia is the most precious soul. This story is one that I will treasure and read or listen to again.

I read this book several years ago and had to have a Mimi Matthews fix and decided to listen to it this time. I am so happy I did. The narration was beautifully performed.
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 18 books312 followers
June 19, 2018
THIS is just the kind of historical romance I like! Engaging story, likeable characters, unrequited love, delicious tension between the principals, believable dialog, misunderstandings but no cheap contrivances, and swoonworthy happily-ever-after. This story has shades of the beloved classic “Beauty and the Beast”—I enjoyed this love story very much!
Profile Image for Courtney Clark.
572 reviews97 followers
February 8, 2021
The Lost Letter is a sweet romance with just a few “Beauty and the Beast” elements and a charming story of second chances. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this novel, though I do confess to going back and forth to my ebook and highlighting my favorite parts!

This is a second chance or reuniting romance between Sebastian and Sylvia, a trope that can be done beautifully — and it IS! I was intrigued with their history, hanging on every word of their exchanges, and delighted by Sebastian’s meddling sister, Julia, on more than one occasion. I appreciated the way a few moments of misunderstanding were handled through the plot, propelling the characters past such hurdles realistically and smartly.

The Lost Letter also delves deeper into themes of acceptance and worth vs. appearance (both in a societal manner and superficial beauty/handsomeness). Its Victorian setting and expectations are the perfect backdrop for teaching these lessons to Sebastian and Sylvia. And oh, when Sylvia and Sebastian are on the page together, their romantic chemistry shines! It was delightful – and humorous, in one library-related scene – to see the way they found their way back to each other as matured individuals.
Profile Image for Sarah.
520 reviews26 followers
January 1, 2023
Dec 2022 reread- honestly such a good story for how short this book is. Not a page wasted and nothing rushed

Nov 2019 reread- just as lovely a second time through

A very beauty-and-the-beast-style story, which I will never say no to. I liked Sylvia and I sympthized with her and her story. She was proud and hard working and was willing to try to make a life for herself instead of relying on others fo her every need. The fact that she was willing to humble herself from a baron's daughter to a working-class family's governess. And even though life hadn't been kind to her she was still kind and caring, instead of wallowing in self pity and taking it out on others. Very respectable character.

Sebastian on the other hand, was very prone to wallowing and taking his resentment out on others. As well as projecting his feelings and opinions of himself onto others. But it didn't make him an unlikable character. His abrasive personality is completely fitting. It makes sense for what he has been through and he gradually grows and improves throughout the story.
He was willing to go outside his comfort zone for her and in the end, I was really happy how things turned out.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,430 reviews986 followers
October 17, 2020
3.5 Stars

This is still one of my preferred historical romance authors. This one was just missing... something. I’m not sure what. But it was still really good. This review is not helpful at all, sorry.
740 reviews55 followers
March 3, 2019

I am so glad I have found Mimi Matthews! This is a jewel of story with hints of Beauty and the Beast, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte all rolled into one.

Beautifully written and fast-paced, this story sweeps you up and doesn't let go. The simmering undercurrents of emotions flowing between Sylvia Stafford and Colonel Sebastion Conrad are palpable. The library scene at just over half way through was breathtaking in its intensity. Both Sylvia and Sebastion carry scars...some are emotional, others are physical. They are both vulnerable and you feel their pain.

"Her tears had long since dried up and the part of her which had once dreamed impossible romantic dreams had withered and died." (quote from the book)

However, thanks to one meddling sister, Lady Julia Harker, and one impertinent valet/batman, all may not be lost.

Profile Image for Roma Cordon.
Author 1 book197 followers
November 9, 2022
I couldn’t put it down until the very last page. So emotional and full of angst. And a very satisfying ending. Loved it.
Profile Image for Maria.
1,736 reviews30 followers
April 15, 2020
FREE today (April 15, 2020) on Amazon.

"Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review"
What a wonderful well written story! It was a pleasure to read it, a real page-turner, I’ve read it in one setting.
It has some of my favorite tropes and themes – the wounded hero, the second chance romance – and it’s all so well crafted and perfect.
But I think what captivated me the most was the process of bringing back together these two very lonely people who loved each other but had both resigned themselves to live alone and even built an acceptable existence within that melancholia.
The prose was elegant and fluid, the pace steady and even the misunderstandings and the lack of communication were well done and believable.
Both main characters are strong and well developed and there’s also a cast of good side characters. The dialogue is great too.
The hero is not the typical dashing hero in that he wasn’t handsome prior to his injuries; he’s the standard former military, imposing and overbearing. I liked that the author didn’t forget his appearance throughout the story (even though I’ve yet to find an author that fully addresses the implications of one eye blindness).
I thought that the story was well researched historically, because whenever the characters were breaking or ignoring the social norms they were aware of it.
I'm grateful to the publisher, Perfectly Proper Press, and NetGalley for providing a free copy
Profile Image for Tracy DeNeal.
369 reviews19 followers
December 4, 2017
Sebastian and Sylvia

What a lovely story! I've read stories about lost letters before, but this one is my most favorite. Why? The meddling matchmaking sister, Julia, made this a unique story that will go on my keeper shelf. It will be frequently revisited with fondness.

Sylvia Stafford, the only daughter to a profligate baronet, once met a gruff Army colonel, a second son to an earl, who stole her heart before being shipped off to India to serve. Three years have passed since she said goodbye to him. Two years have passed since the untimely death of her father and she has had an extreme reversal of fortune.

Sebastian has been elevated to the earldom due to the loss of both his father and older brother. He has been horribly scarred during his service to the Crown. Accordingly, he has isolated himself on his family's estate and closed his heart to all.

Enter his meddling little sister to interfere in both their lives without their consent to bring about a satisfying HEA. This story tugged at my heartstrings and made me chuckle several times. The characters were lovable and the misunderstandings made sense. I appreciate the manner in which the author unraveled the story. There were no shadowy villains keeping them apart in the present to mar the unveiling of the story.

I enjoyed the pace and plotting. Everyone in the story was just lovely. I can't wait until the release of the author's next book. I've already preordered it!
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