- Title: The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart (Proper Romance)
- Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
- Publisher : Shadow Mountain (September 7, 2021)
- Genre: Victorian Romance
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1629729272
***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***
A romance develops as a detective partners with a lonely-hearts columnist to solve a murder mystery.
Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe—a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club.
Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.
When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband—Harold Radcliffe—of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.
They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.
This new Proper Romance is different from Nancy Campbell Allen's recent Steampunk novels. The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart is set in Victorian times and is more murder mystery than romance. There is a sweet romance that eventually happens but I absolutely loved figuring out the mystery along with the characters.
Speaking of characters, I loved the three female cousins who were there for each other through thick and thin. Amelie is a "modern" lady who not only writes columns for a newspaper but she does a little matchmaking. It is on one of her matchmaking adventures that she runs into Detective Michael Baker. Right from the start sparks fly between these two as they often are butting heads. They find out how well they work together as they piece together how Mrs. Radcliffe died. They also find out how they go together in other ways too.
The dialogue is fun, the mystery keeps the plot moving at a fast pace, and the characters develop and unfold in very satisfying ways. I enjoyed this novel so much I read it in one day. I can't wait to see whose story will be next, Charlotte or Eva. The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart was a rather pleasant surprise.
Meet Author Nancy Campbell Allen
***Purchase The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart***
“Allen pairs a matchmaker and a detective in this charming Victorian romance. Allen expertly combines mystery and romance into a fast-paced tale complete with plenty of surprises and a central relationship founded on mutual admiration and respect. Readers are sure to appreciate the strong, well-shaded heroine and twisty plot.” —Publishers Weekly
“Allen's chaste tale of Victorian romantic suspense will also appeal to historical mystery readers, and it would be great for mother-and-daughter reads. This has great appeal for teens who like historical fiction laced with mystery and romance.” —Booklist
“Michael and Amelie's slow-burning romances combines well with the fast-paced tale of surprise, death, and heart. The core of the story is their relationship; it builds from a place of admiration and respect, and eschews any forced obstacles to being together. Amelie is a nuanced heroine who is both naïve and fierce as she gathers her knowledge of fictional crimes and joins Michael in his off-duty undercover work. And the endearing secondary cast of friends and coworkers results in humor and warmth; they support Amelie's headstrong nature and Michael's softening heart. Charming...combines a Victorian murder mystery with an endearing romance between two souls.” —Foreword Reviews