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She Needed a Husband... It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a She Needed a Husband... It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a perfect candidate. But Alex Archer is no hero. In fact, he just might be the opposite. He Wanted a Fortune... Alex has no tolerance for sentiment. He’s returned to England for one reason only: to find a wealthy wife. A country-bred heiress in Surrey seems the perfect target. But somewhere between the village railway station and the manor house his mercenary plan begins to unravel. And it’s all the fault of Laura Hayes—a lady as unsuitable as she is enchanting. From the beaches of Margate to the lavender fields of Provence, a grudging friendship slowly blossoms into something more. But when scandal threatens, can a man who has spent his entire life playing the villain, finally become a hero? Or will the lure of easy riches once again outweigh the demands of his heart?


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She Needed a Husband... It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a She Needed a Husband... It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a perfect candidate. But Alex Archer is no hero. In fact, he just might be the opposite. He Wanted a Fortune... Alex has no tolerance for sentiment. He’s returned to England for one reason only: to find a wealthy wife. A country-bred heiress in Surrey seems the perfect target. But somewhere between the village railway station and the manor house his mercenary plan begins to unravel. And it’s all the fault of Laura Hayes—a lady as unsuitable as she is enchanting. From the beaches of Margate to the lavender fields of Provence, a grudging friendship slowly blossoms into something more. But when scandal threatens, can a man who has spent his entire life playing the villain, finally become a hero? Or will the lure of easy riches once again outweigh the demands of his heart?

30 review for A Convenient Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    I loved every minute of this book. Mimi Matthews is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite romance authors. Characters that don’t hide behind vulnerability but communicate. Delicious, swoon worthy dialogue. Heroes who are strong, protective, and simply put, just make you fall in love with them. I’d looked forward to reading this installment after reading the first two books and I have to say, this one might be my favorite. The chemistry between the characters was undeniable and even though I loved every minute of this book. Mimi Matthews is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite romance authors. Characters that don’t hide behind vulnerability but communicate. Delicious, swoon worthy dialogue. Heroes who are strong, protective, and simply put, just make you fall in love with them. I’d looked forward to reading this installment after reading the first two books and I have to say, this one might be my favorite. The chemistry between the characters was undeniable and even though the hero tried to convince everyone he was bad, the heroine could see his golden heart under his chameleon-like actions. I want this series in paperback because I have the feeling I’ll want to reread again and again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Clark

    Update: Listening to the audiobook this time was a delight! I just love this cast of characters. Every book Mimi Matthews writes has a Midas-like touch of Victorian perfection. Exquisite historical detail, endearing and layered characters, the perfect touches of humor, and swoon-worthy romances — sometimes began in surprising ways — all combine in her novels for an immersive and simply DELIGHTFUL reading experience. A Convenient Fiction is at once a whimsical and sensible romance, pairing two comp Update: Listening to the audiobook this time was a delight! I just love this cast of characters. Every book Mimi Matthews writes has a Midas-like touch of Victorian perfection. Exquisite historical detail, endearing and layered characters, the perfect touches of humor, and swoon-worthy romances — sometimes began in surprising ways — all combine in her novels for an immersive and simply DELIGHTFUL reading experience. A Convenient Fiction is at once a whimsical and sensible romance, pairing two complementary personalities whose strengths benefit one another. Mimi’s attention to historical accuracy is a presence in this novel, even shining light on lesser-known details of history, such as perfume making, sea “bathing” practices, and the laws governing inheritance. The romance is the heart of this story, but the personal growth of Laura and Alex happens right alongside their deepening relationship. I love how Laura sees through Alex’s carefully constructed facade from the very beginning, perceiving and calling out the hero underneath. And for Laura, she learns to balance strength, independence, and her “duty” to her family, realizing that it’s beneficial to rely on someone else for a change. My favorite aspect of the romance between Alex and Laura is that their relationship doesn’t go through a typical “halt” in the latter half of the story. There is no “will they/won’t they” type of plot dealing with some kind of disagreement or sacrificial reason. Instead, theirs is a story of steadfast choice, of honor and commitment. The crux of it is all about reconciliation with the past, mainly with Alex and with his friends. I highly recommend reader be familiar with the previous two novels in this series to appreciate Alex’s character arc in a deeper manner, and to know the dynamic with other characters mentioned from previous books. Mimi’s atmospheric style reveals past events from Alex’s point of view, adding context and layering for readers familiar with his backstory. Fans of this series will be delighted with a glimpse of beloved characters, and the hint of more fun to come with book 4 (Neville’s story YAY). Thank you to HFVBT and NetGalley for the review copy. This is my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    After the death of her father, Laura has served as head of the family and kept them afloat through careful planning and sheer determination. Now that her brother is about to turn 21, and legally able to take charge of the family's former business things should be taking a turn for the better. But when legal troubles prevent this from this from going through, Laura must look for an alternative if she hopes to keep her family from destitution. The altenative available to her? Marriage. Alex Archer After the death of her father, Laura has served as head of the family and kept them afloat through careful planning and sheer determination. Now that her brother is about to turn 21, and legally able to take charge of the family's former business things should be taking a turn for the better. But when legal troubles prevent this from this from going through, Laura must look for an alternative if she hopes to keep her family from destitution. The altenative available to her? Marriage. Alex Archer has come to Surrey to catch himself a country heiress and he has his eyes set on Henrietta. He wasn't counting on the presence of Laura though, there to act as Henrietta's chaperone, nor was he counting on his attraction to her. He'll need to push her and her troubles far from his mind if he hopes to move forward with his plan to woo Henrietta. But try as he might he finds himself drawn to her again and again. Will he give up on his mercenary plan and stop fighting the attraction? Will he let Laura into his heart and stop playing the villain? ________________________________ First just let me say that the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous and I am in love with it. This is the third book in Mimi Matthews' Parish Orphans of Devon series. Although it is not entirely necessary for you to have read the other books in this series before reading this one, I would recommend it. Any information necessary to a full undertanding of the background of events are detailed by the author as you read. But to get the full impact of the relationship of these four childhood friends and why the seperation weighs so heavily you should read the previous two books as I think it makes the reading of this book all the more powerful. I adored Alex, he's so damaged and flawed and not nearly the villain that he imagines himself to be. Getting to read about his vulnerabilities, with regards to both his past and future really endeared his character to me. Laura had such a quiet strength that I really respected in her, but it was also her weakness. I enjoyed following her character as she learns to face the toubles of life with the help of those around her instead of always carrying the weight of everything on her own shoulders. With her independent, take action nature I'm sure her and Jenny will be great friends in no time. Laura just has such a mix of strength and vulnerability, which is why I think her and Alex are so sweet togther, they have such a great balance together. Plus I ADORE a couple in a historical romance that aren't constantly hiding, that actually communicate their feelings with one another. Yes, please! That way we're not trapped in a revolving door of misunderstandings. I enjoyed this book so much and had a hard time putting it down. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, because I want to learn more about Neville. But I am a little sad that it'll be the last in the series because I've enjoyed it so much. I recommend this book and the series. If you've read any Mimi Matthews books before, then you already know this one will be great. If you aren't familiar with her books though, I recommend them to anyone who loves a good historical romance. This is a clean romance, intimacy is eluded to but does not go into detail. _____ I would like to thank NetGalley and Perfectly Proper Press for sharing an eARC of A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews with me for reviewing purposes. This is my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    5 STARS "No mistakes are irreversible." Loved it! Just as I have loved every book in this series so far. It seems I just can't get enough of Mimi Matthews. And I have to say I am quite intrigued by the next book. I'm wondering just how she's going to pull it off. These four orphan boys are proving to be such dashing young men. It appears that nothing feeds the soul quite like hard times and hopeless beginnings. Children though have a way of seeing through their bad fortune and finding 5 STARS "No mistakes are irreversible." Loved it! Just as I have loved every book in this series so far. It seems I just can't get enough of Mimi Matthews. And I have to say I am quite intrigued by the next book. I'm wondering just how she's going to pull it off. These four orphan boys are proving to be such dashing young men. It appears that nothing feeds the soul quite like hard times and hopeless beginnings. Children though have a way of seeing through their bad fortune and finding ways to dream for the future, no matter how bleak they seem at first. They have an uncanny way of banding together, forming bonds that prove to be even stronger than blood. Such is the case with these men.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    A sumptuous and instantly readable addition to what has become one of my favourite series as two people highly wary of attachment and love find in each other the match they need. Brimming with intelligence and pitch-perfect dialogue, Alex Archer’s troubled past intersects his promising present with the alluring and independent Laura. Matthews fills her characters and setting with painstaking historical detail, personality and warmth. Characters familiar to readers of previous instalments play ge A sumptuous and instantly readable addition to what has become one of my favourite series as two people highly wary of attachment and love find in each other the match they need. Brimming with intelligence and pitch-perfect dialogue, Alex Archer’s troubled past intersects his promising present with the alluring and independent Laura. Matthews fills her characters and setting with painstaking historical detail, personality and warmth. Characters familiar to readers of previous instalments play gentle but significant roles here. I cannot wait to return to Devon again. Nor to Matthews’ inimitable magic —- she owns this period!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I loved this third installment in the series and I couldn’t wait to see what Alex was like. Yummy, he was yummy. These two MC were so sweet together. So romantic and fun. I absolutely loved their time in France. I don’t know what I’ll do if M Matthews ever stops writing. I love her stories so much. Happy Reading ♥️

  7. 4 out of 5

    Luli

    Puedes encontrar esta reseña en español al final. I have no idea how to start this review. Everything I write sounds boring, pretentious or convoluted. The opposite of this story. I don't know where to start, really ... In little less than a year this author has become one of my favorites. Her prose is attractive, her characters complex, the plot interesting and the historical background impressively realistic. Historical accuracy is one of her strengths. This time it was the turn of Alex, the thir Puedes encontrar esta reseña en español al final. I have no idea how to start this review. Everything I write sounds boring, pretentious or convoluted. The opposite of this story. I don't know where to start, really ... In little less than a year this author has become one of my favorites. Her prose is attractive, her characters complex, the plot interesting and the historical background impressively realistic. Historical accuracy is one of her strengths. This time it was the turn of Alex, the third of the Parish Orphans of Devon, whom if I must to be honest, was the one that I liked the least. During the first two books of the series, the author gave us clues on the rest of the characters and this one did not come out well. And yet, it has become along with Justin, from "The Matrimonial Advertisement", one of my favorites. I blame it on Ms. Matthews, of course, who knows how to write a scoundrel and how to redeem him. To say that this story has layers is to fall short. Here nothing is easy or simple and navigating all the rules of the time is suffocating, although the author does it with mastery. Add to this characters with personality and charisma, with a past and (most importantly) with flaws and the final result is a beautiful story about what do you think you want and what do you really need. The author takes her characters to the limit. And it is worth it, anything else would not have been sincere. This story is full of intense moments, both in romance and in the relationship between the four protagonists (the orphans) who have touched me in a special way. It has been beautiful and intense. Another jewel from this author. e-ARC kindly provided by Perfectly Proper Press via Netgalley. No tengo ni idea de cómo empezar esta reseña. Todo lo que escribo suena aburrido, pretencioso o enrevesado. Lo opuesto a esta historia. No sé por dónde empezar, la verdad… En poco menos de un año esta autora se ha convertido en una de mis favoritas. Su prosa es atractiva, sus personajes complejos, la trama interesante y el trasfondo histórico impresionantemente realista. La precisión histórica es uno de sus fuertes. En esta ocasión le ha tocado el turno al tercero de los cuatro huérfanos de Devon, Alex, que si tengo que ser sincera, era el que menos me llamaba la atención. Durante los dos primeros libros de la serie, la autora iba dejando caer pistas sobre el resto de los personajes y éste no salió bien parado. Y sin embargo, se ha convertido junto con Justin, de “The Matrimonial Advertisement”, en uno de mis favoritos. Y la culpa es de Ms. Matthews, evidentemente, que sabe cómo escribir un canalla y cómo redimirlo. Decir que la historia tiene capas es quedarse corto. Aquí nada es fácil ni sencillo y navegar por todas las normas de la época es sofocante, aunque la autora lo hace con maestría. Añade a esto personajes con carisma y carácter, con pasado y (lo más importante) con fallos y el resultado final es una historia preciosa sobre qué es lo que piensas que quieres y qué es lo que realmente necesitas. La autora los lleva al límite. Y merece la pena, otra cosa no hubiese resultado sincera. Esta historia está llena de momentos intensos, tanto en el romance como en la relación de los 4 protagonistas (los huérfanos) que me han tocado de una manera especial. Ha sido precioso e intenso. Una maravilla. Otra joya de esta autora.

  8. 4 out of 5

    OLT

    This is #3 in Matthews' Parish Orphans of Devon series. The previous two, THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT and A MODEST INDEPENDENCE, featured Justin Thornhill and Tom Finchley, respectively, and this third one has as its MC Alex Archer. These three men, plus Neville Cross, whose story is still to come, shared a childhood friendship as orphans at Abbot's Holcombe in North Devon. All but Alex have stayed in touch, but Alex disappeared years ago never to be seen or heard from again. He's the mystery This is #3 in Matthews' Parish Orphans of Devon series. The previous two, THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT and A MODEST INDEPENDENCE, featured Justin Thornhill and Tom Finchley, respectively, and this third one has as its MC Alex Archer. These three men, plus Neville Cross, whose story is still to come, shared a childhood friendship as orphans at Abbot's Holcombe in North Devon. All but Alex have stayed in touch, but Alex disappeared years ago never to be seen or heard from again. He's the mystery orphan and now we get to find out what's been going on in his life. The story begins in 1860 in Surrey, in a small village called Lower Hawley. Alex is there visiting George Wright, whom he met at a French gaming club and who now owes Alex 10,000 pounds. It must be said here that Alex is a gambler and adventurer and not necessarily heroic. Living off his wits, he has managed to do well enough for himself, with a luxurious suite of rented rooms in Paris and enough money to live comfortably, even to afford first-class transportation when on the move. But it's not enough. Alex wants property. Perhaps with land of his own he will no longer feel that unsettling emptiness inside himself. So when George tells him about Henrietta Talbot, young and beautiful only child of rich Squire Talbot, owner of impressive Edgington Park in Surrey, Alex sees his chance to marry well and into property and blackmails George into an introduction to her. But things get complicated by the introduction of Laura Hayes into the mix of George, Henrietta, and Alex. George, Henrietta and Laura were childhood friends and Henrietta wants her around as chaperone now. Laura, unfortunately, has come down in the world. Until four years ago, her father was the successful owner of a factory in London and a distillery in France which produced Hayes's Lavender Soap, Lavender Scented Powder, and Lavender Water. Poor management on the father's part and then the scarlet fever which took his life have left Laura, her invalid brother Teddy (complications from scarlet fever which he managed to survive) and their Aunt Charlotte in straitened circumstances. Add to that a shady, unscrupulous lawyer who has been in control of the business and properties and the Hayes have definitely seen better days. Well, I suppose you can figure out what's going to happen. The plot is predictable, but this is a pleasant read with Matthews' usual charming style and a slow-burn/closed-door romance to enjoy. Matthews is also one of the few recent HR authors who actually does research on the period she's writing about, so if anachronisms annoy you, there aren't so many in a Matthews novel. I am actually torn in my rating for this book. It's perhaps better than a 3 but isn't as good as other 4-star books I've read. I do like it more than A MODEST INDEPENDENCE but much less than THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT. The romance here between Alex and Laura started out very well but by the halfway point their relationship was starting to feel tepid and lacking intensity. No, I'm not saying I wanted the bedroom doors open. Not at all. Just more "feels" to the romantic interaction. It was satisfying, however, to read the reunion of all the Parish Orphan boys, now men, and their respective loves. (Except for Neville, of course, who has yet to meet his True Love in his upcoming book.) And, of course, to see the redemption of Alex, his internal emptiness now filled not with property, but with love.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bon

    Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for reviewing! Mimi has done it again. I think this is my favorite of the orphan series so far, and it has everything. Daring rescues, references to Victorian beauty routines, extensive seaside information and even swimming. In the Victorian era! It was so good. Laura, our lady protagonist, is stubborn, resilient, crafty with money, and stressed out of her mind trying to keep a roof over the family's head. In other words, relatable as heck, and exerting Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for reviewing! Mimi has done it again. I think this is my favorite of the orphan series so far, and it has everything. Daring rescues, references to Victorian beauty routines, extensive seaside information and even swimming. In the Victorian era! It was so good. Laura, our lady protagonist, is stubborn, resilient, crafty with money, and stressed out of her mind trying to keep a roof over the family's head. In other words, relatable as heck, and exerting an admirable amount of agency for her gender and the time. She's a fairly skilled swimmer, a refreshing ability for this sort of genre and era; she travels to London alone to conduct business; she knows how to balance a budget and stretch a penny. I loved her as a main character. Alex is perhaps the most swoonworthy of the three orphans; tall, dark, handsome and broad-shouldered, he leaped off the page for me. His bad boy air, which actually hides a strong moral code and heart of gold, draws the reader in with curiosity, and they stay for the "aww!" moments. Despite his purported villainous nature and would-be domineering presence, Laura is never cowed into lame moments of relinquishing her agency, rendering him a solid male lead. As always, Mimi has done excellent research on the times. I was quite impressed with the knowledge visible on the page, even as she skillfully avoids information dumps that would otherwise slow the plot. There's interesting social dynamics at play as well, namely for me the dichotomy shown between temperate, budget-conscious and mature Laura, and Henrietta, her rich, often jealous and childish friend. The two common sides of the Victorian woman coin, I imagine, and I love that they came together as friends throughout. The main plot was not just the romance, which was nice, grounded as it was in Laura's determination to see her family out of poverty. I loved this book, a solid five stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy Bruno

    If I had to plan a perfect evening, it would be settling into bed with comfy pajamas, a super soft blanket, a glass of wine and a Mimi Matthews book. And for the past few nights I've been living the dream! In A Convenient Fiction, we meet Laura Hayes who is living with her disabled brother and Aunt after her father's passing. Her mother died when she was young so it's up to Laura to take care of them all. But when their family money is threatened to be taken away she must find a way to stop that If I had to plan a perfect evening, it would be settling into bed with comfy pajamas, a super soft blanket, a glass of wine and a Mimi Matthews book. And for the past few nights I've been living the dream! In A Convenient Fiction, we meet Laura Hayes who is living with her disabled brother and Aunt after her father's passing. Her mother died when she was young so it's up to Laura to take care of them all. But when their family money is threatened to be taken away she must find a way to stop that from happening. Enter Alex Archer. Oh my gosh, their first meeting was adorable! I was giggling for the entire scene. Alex is staying in their town of Lower Hawley with Laura's neighbor George, who she was once sweet on. But Alex is not there for friendship. George owes him money from a gambling debt and Alex, a talented card shark, is there to collect. He's looking for a rich wife and has his sights on the local heiress, Henrietta. I absolutely loved watching the progress of Laura and Alex's relationship. I wasn't very keen on Alex at the beginning, probably because I instantly adored Laura and was put off when he threatened her to stay out of his way. But he grew on me. The best word to describe Mimi's books is delightful. I'm a bit cold-hearted when it comes to romancey-love stuff but I just adore her books. I love the dialogue and repartee between the two main characters and there's always a hint of humor that I appreciate. Her novels are sweet, sweet perfection! I can't wait for the next one!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    A betrayer(of friends), a blackmailer and a fortune hunter but much more than that! I wish Mimi could write ten books a year! Alex Archer is a villain. He betrayed his friends, he blackmailed a young weak man, he pursued a country Miss just for her money. He meets Laura when he jumps into the pond to “rescue” her from drowning, but she did not need any rescue. Laura is entrancing but poor and he is enchanted but cannot loose view of his goal. He needs to get a estate in the country to call his own A betrayer(of friends), a blackmailer and a fortune hunter but much more than that! I wish Mimi could write ten books a year! Alex Archer is a villain. He betrayed his friends, he blackmailed a young weak man, he pursued a country Miss just for her money. He meets Laura when he jumps into the pond to “rescue” her from drowning, but she did not need any rescue. Laura is entrancing but poor and he is enchanted but cannot loose view of his goal. He needs to get a estate in the country to call his own. A place to finally belong. The story is very emotional and full of self discovery for both Alex and Laura. The writing is exquisite and the reading a great pleasure! Can’t wait (but I will have to) to read the next book in the series and find out how Neville will fair in his quest for his HEA.

  12. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    Oh Mimi Matthews, you have my heart when it comes to historical romances. I absolutely love all of her books and I can’t rave about them enough. I have been eager to read this latest installment of her Parish Orphans of Devon series for the last few weeks and finally cracked it open and as predicted, I read it in like one sitting. I was most eager to read Alex’s story and see how his romance evolved. In the other books he is the most mysterious and I love a mysterious rogue. So yes to say this boo Oh Mimi Matthews, you have my heart when it comes to historical romances. I absolutely love all of her books and I can’t rave about them enough. I have been eager to read this latest installment of her Parish Orphans of Devon series for the last few weeks and finally cracked it open and as predicted, I read it in like one sitting. I was most eager to read Alex’s story and see how his romance evolved. In the other books he is the most mysterious and I love a mysterious rogue. So yes to say this book was high on my most anticipated list is an absolute understatement.First of all, I absolutely loved that Matthews made Alex into a fortune hunter in this book. It totally highlighted the man he had become and highlighted the villainous hints about his character in previous books. Watching him shed the layers he buried himself under for so many years was exciting to watch unfold. While I didn’t care for the way Laura and Alex met at first, I was drawn into the sparks that flew between then and I devoured the novel quickly. This is a series you don’t have to read in order. There are other characters from previous books that pop up here and there but nothing about the other books is really given away so if you wanted to pick up this one before reading the others, you would have no problem. Matthews does sweet romance incredibly well. There is a sweet clean-ness about the romance but there is also unmistakable heat and chemistry between the hero and heroine that is both erotic and enticing. I love how well she writes romance that isn’t erotic lit but clearly creates intense heat between her characters—that to me is talent. Anyone can write about sex, but it takes a truly talented author to bring out the intimacy and desire felt by each character without filling pages of just sex. I love how well she writes romances, I just can’t say it enough! Her characters are well matched, likable and the hero is dashing and roguish with tremendous development throughout the book. One of the things that I find uniquely interesting about her books is that she writes alternating between the hero and heroines perspective about things and I think that really adds to the intimacy for the reader and the reader gains a better understanding of each character. I loved this one and I can’t wait to read Nevill’s story next. Matthews is an author with incredible stories you will want to come back to again and again! See my full review here

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dana Michael

    This author knows how to write romance. She just does. She gets it. I want a clean romance that has me swooning because of the manly hero. That has a heroine who I would want to be best friends with. That has a page turning story line with a happily ever after. This book has all of that. Well done Ms. Matthews! My only complaint is I'm going to have to wait until February to read the next book in the series. *I was given a copy of this book by the author and this is my honest opinion.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*

    Whenever, I pick up a book by Mimi Matthews, it’s always a treat to read. Her stories are beautifully written and wonderfully romantic, with characters that capture your heart. They are impeccably researched with lots of fascinating historical details, and she captures the Victorian era to perfection. A Convenient Fiction is the third book in the Parish Orphans of Devon series and, although it can be read as standalone, I think it enhances the reading experience if the series is read in order. Whenever, I pick up a book by Mimi Matthews, it’s always a treat to read. Her stories are beautifully written and wonderfully romantic, with characters that capture your heart. They are impeccably researched with lots of fascinating historical details, and she captures the Victorian era to perfection. A Convenient Fiction is the third book in the Parish Orphans of Devon series and, although it can be read as standalone, I think it enhances the reading experience if the series is read in order. I have been waiting for Alex’s book to discover what happened to him after he mysteriously ran away from the orphanage at the age thirteen, leaving his friends to wonder at his fate - never knowing whether he is alive or dead. It transpires that he is very much alive and, for the past twenty years, his aptitude at cards has enabled him to make a lucrative living at the card tables in London and France, by luring unsuspecting gentlemen into gambling recklessly and losing. More than money, he wants property that will give him a sense of permanency and the only way to achieve this is to marry an heiress. But it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough without property. Property was the thing. And for a man of his pedigree, the only way to attain such property was to marry an heiress. His opportunity arises when George Wright incurs large losses which Alex agrees to forget in return for an introduction to George’s friend and neighbour, Henrietta Talbot, an heiress with property. Accompanying George to Surrey, Alex has every intention of wooing and marrying Henrietta, but his plans become somewhat derailed when he meets the beautiful and fascinating Laura Hayes. Three years ago, Laura, her father and her younger brother, Edward (Teddy), all contracted a fever. While Laura made a full recovery, her father died and her brother was left an invalid and confined to a wheelchair. Since then, Laura has been caring for her widowed Aunt Charlotte and Freddy, struggling to survive on the meagre quarterly allowance received from her father’s solicitor, Mr. Weatherwax. On his 21st birthday which is fast approaching, Teddy will take control of his inheritance and Laura is determined to rebuild the remains of the family perfumery business. However, Mr. Weatherwax refuses to relinquish control on the grounds that her brother is too ill to take on the responsibilities. ”Unless I can find a way to challenge him, my family must resign themselves to living on the quarterly allowance he provides us. It isn’t enough. Not nearly.” With everything else to worry about, Laura certainly doesn’t need the added complication of her attraction to the handsome newcomer, Alex Archer. They are constantly thrown into each other’s company as Laura is acting as Henrietta’s chaperone and, although they admit that there is something between them, both are determined to forget it and move on. ”But now we’ve acknowledged it…perhaps we’ve robbed it of its power. We can move on. Forget any of this ever happened.” However, a trip to Margate changes everything. In the course of saving Laura’s life, Alex’s actions cause a scandal and he proposes a marriage of convenience to save Laura’s reputation - a temporary measure for a month or two and then they are free to go their separate ways. But things don’t always go to plan. As I have come to expect from Ms. Matthews, this was a charming, tender, romantic, character driven romance which develops in a natural way. It was very satisfying to see how Alex and Laura grew, both as individuals and a couple, and I also love how Ms. Matthews creates just the perfect chemistry between them. What a complex and fascinating character Alex is. At first, he seems more anti-hero than hero - a man who willingly betrayed his friends; an unscrupulous gambler and a self-confessed fortune hunter; a man who selfishly pursues his own interests without blinking an eye. It was hard to understand how he could have betrayed his friends who were the only family he had ever had. But when he reveals the circumstances that drove him to it, I could appreciate the sheer desperation Alex must have felt and why he would do anything to get away. He had no one to turn to and who would have believed an orphan like him. He’d known then that, if he wanted saving, he would have to save himself. Even if that meant burning all of his bridges behind him. Laura shows great strength of character and determination and I respect her for taking on the heavy burden of looking after the family. That she sometimes rages against her current situation, I could certainly relate to. I’m sure everyone has had times when everything seems to get on top of them. She senses that Alex is hiding his true self... …there was always something else there—something lurking behind his eyes. A secret self, hidden from the world. It was as if he wore a very lifelike mask. He is convinced that he is not a good man but, to Laura, he has been ‘every inch a hero’ from the very first day they met, with his kindness to Teddy and Aunt Charlotte, his desire to help and protect Laura, and his willingness to save her life, despite his fear of water, and to save her reputation. Alex sees Laura as beautiful and charming but also incredibly brave and compassionate too. He has been alone for so long with with no one to trust or rely on, no friend or family. Now he has Laura. ”I’ve never had a home to yearn for.” He took her hand gently in his. “Not until you.” Even though he hasn’t told Laura he loves, it’s evident in his every word and action, but when he does finally say the words, the whole scene is so romantic. I wonder if there is such a thing as fate. Some force that drew me to you, across continents, and across the sea. I think I knew you the moment I laid eyes on you. My love. My Laura.” Ms. Matthews always seems to incorporate some fascinating historical details into her books and I particularly enjoyed the part describing the bathing machines, the ‘promiscuous’ bathing, as Aunt Charlotte calls it, and the nosey parkers with their telescopes. The scene in the Epilogue where Alex sees Justin and Neville for the first time in 20 years was so emotional that it brought tears to my eyes, but left me with such a lovely warm glow. It was as if a page had been turned on a dark chapter of their lives, offering a clean slate. A new beginning. MY VERDICT: Another excellent addition to this captivating series. Highly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Well that was awesome. I was so hoping Alex's story would be a good one! And it was! All of the books in this series have been different and good. I have enjoyed them. This one was fun from the very start. The dark brooding hero is so fun to read and Mathews does a good job of it. Now I just need Nevils story and it will be complete:}

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elodie

    A Convenient Fiction Parish Orphans of Devon Series #3 Mimi Matthews https://www.facebook.com/MimiMatthews... Release date 10/22/2019 Publisher Perfectly Proper Press Blurb: She Needed A Husband... It's been three years since Laura Hayes's father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family's failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious st A Convenient Fiction Parish Orphans of Devon Series #3 Mimi Matthews https://www.facebook.com/MimiMatthews... Release date 10/22/2019 Publisher Perfectly Proper Press Blurb: She Needed A Husband... It's been three years since Laura Hayes's father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family's failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a perfect candidate. But Alex Archer is no hero. In fact, he just might be the opposite. He Wanted a Fortune... Alex has no tolerance for sentiment. He's returned to England for one reason only: to find a wealthy wife. A country-bred heiress in Surrey seems the perfect target. But somewhere between the village railway station and the manor house his mercenary plan begins to unravel. And it's all the fault of Laura Hayes--a lady as unsuitable as she is enchanting. From the beaches of Margate to the lavender fields of Provence, a grudging friendship slowly blossoms into something more. But when scandal threatens, can a man who has spent his entire life playing the villain, finally become a hero? Or will the lure of easy riches once again outweigh the demands of his heart? My review : What a woman to do when dire circumstances force her into a wall, and the man who could rescue her wants to have nothing to do with her. There is nothing I like better than the redemption of a man’s way, all in the name of Love. Having not read the two previous installments, I do understand Alex was described as the vilain of the group of four orphans. The one who took off and never looked back. Still he carries his past transgressions like a cross, so ashamed by what he sees as his sins, he never stopped running away. For his first encounter with Laura, he fights his attraction to her, chemistry he senses either way. She awaken feelings he has long ago bury and refuses to experience again as it has carved deep scars last time he felt the same. Laura is holding her household with her fortitude, but now she struggles to make ends meet. She is kind and caring but also hardheaded and not easy to relinquish her control. She tries to find a way to restaure her family business but her plans are dwarfed by her solicitor and as a woman she hold little to no power. As for Alex, her relationship with him unsettles her, but still, she is drawn to him even knowing he has come with a specific goal and hide a great deal of things. Alex might be introduced as the wicked guy but George and Henriette, Laura’s childhood friends are no flawless angels, they bear their own sins. Mrs Mimi Matthews has manufactured an arresting tale of vanquishing one past’s guilt to let it go for the hope of a future. This tremendous story with vibrant and spirited characters had me turning the pages with bliss, eager to see the plot unfold and Alex and Laura find their way to one another. Their romance was so sensual, by small touches with bare hands, a hint of skin revealed, a scent lingering, Mrs Matthews expressed voluptuously their growing sentiments. Scorching gaze does enough a steamy scene to convey the magnitude of their love. The one matter was to find where home was really, an act of property or in the heart of those you care for. 5 stars I was granted through Netgalley by the publisher Perfectly Proper Press an advance copy, prior to it I have preordered my own. Here is my true and unbiased opinion. .https://www.facebook.com/429830134272...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Toni Shiloh

    Ms. Matthews has a way of bringing history to life. Of placing the reader right smack dab in the middle of the action, quickly establishing the heroine and hero and letting you pick which one to route for. Now I must admit, I’ve been wanting Alex’s story since I read book one (which is totally swoon worthy). And he didn’t disappoint. There were a few times in his scenes that I wanted to tear up or just plain ol give him a hug. I’m so glad he was able to meet a deserving heroine. And Laura Hayes, w Ms. Matthews has a way of bringing history to life. Of placing the reader right smack dab in the middle of the action, quickly establishing the heroine and hero and letting you pick which one to route for. Now I must admit, I’ve been wanting Alex’s story since I read book one (which is totally swoon worthy). And he didn’t disappoint. There were a few times in his scenes that I wanted to tear up or just plain ol give him a hug. I’m so glad he was able to meet a deserving heroine. And Laura Hayes, wow has she been through a lot. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know if she would get a happily ever after for herself and for her loved ones. Mimi Matthews created it in spades! I was so tickled to read this book and sad when it was over. Now to wait around for book 4 since I finally caught up on her backlist. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley. My review was not required nor influenced. **First scene at: https://tonishiloh.com/2019/10/21/int...

  18. 5 out of 5

    ♥Sharon♥

    "I wonder if there is such a thing as fate. Some force that drew me to you, across continents, and across the sea. I think I knew you the moment I laid eyes on you. My love. My Laura. " Another fabulous edition to this Parish Orphans of Devon series. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. These men Justin, Tom, Alex and Neville have a strong bond that no one could break. Tethered together in a way that no matter how much time spent apart they would always find a way back to "I wonder if there is such a thing as fate. Some force that drew me to you, across continents, and across the sea. I think I knew you the moment I laid eyes on you. My love. My Laura. " Another fabulous edition to this Parish Orphans of Devon series. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. These men Justin, Tom, Alex and Neville have a strong bond that no one could break. Tethered together in a way that no matter how much time spent apart they would always find a way back together again. Loved Alex Archer. ❤ Loved Laura Hayes. ❤ Loved their story. ❤ I wonder if Miss Mimi Matthews has kept the best for last. There was a excerpt of book 4 at the end and I am rather intrigued. Looking forward to getting my hands on it!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I loved every moment of this book. I was intrigued with the mystery surrounding Alex’s character since the first book in the series. I enjoyed seeing him evolve from fortune hunter to hero. There were a lot of fascinating topics & characters in this novel- I enjoyed learning about Victorian bathing machines & social bathing rules. I also purely enjoyed the story’s plot & aspects like Laura having a handicapped brother, perfuming being the family business, etc. I loved the heroine Laura & her lov I loved every moment of this book. I was intrigued with the mystery surrounding Alex’s character since the first book in the series. I enjoyed seeing him evolve from fortune hunter to hero. There were a lot of fascinating topics & characters in this novel- I enjoyed learning about Victorian bathing machines & social bathing rules. I also purely enjoyed the story’s plot & aspects like Laura having a handicapped brother, perfuming being the family business, etc. I loved the heroine Laura & her love of swimming & her family. Her relationship with Alex was fun & sweet. Alex is so good to her brother that it melted my heart. Mimi Matthews is so great at writing romance😭!! She always meets my romance & character expectations!! The ending was so satisfying & emotionally stirring. I can’t wait to read the last book in the series. 😆

  20. 5 out of 5

    Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)

    It has taken me an age to write this review, as there are so many things that I want to say about this, yet every word I write seems a little redundant and doesn’t do this stunning book justice. I have written and deleted and banged my head on the desk in frustration because I can’t begin to describe just how beautiful this book is. This is the third book in the Parish Orphan’s of Devon series and by Jove, have I been looking forward to this book. Each of these beautiful books can be read very ea It has taken me an age to write this review, as there are so many things that I want to say about this, yet every word I write seems a little redundant and doesn’t do this stunning book justice. I have written and deleted and banged my head on the desk in frustration because I can’t begin to describe just how beautiful this book is. This is the third book in the Parish Orphan’s of Devon series and by Jove, have I been looking forward to this book. Each of these beautiful books can be read very easily as stand-alone, as each of them hold their own stories and any reference to the other ‘Orphan’s’ are done as background to Alex’s story, yet I would read the previous books only because they are so good, I wouldn’t want you to miss a moment. This is the one I have been looking forward to, and we finally get to meet the elusive and mysterious; Alex who after the accident that set the course of the Orphan’s lives, he left never to look back, never to be heard from again. Alex Archer left England many years ago, now he is back with one goal; to find himself a rich wife! He doesn’t care about anything else other than to marry rich, preferably to marry someone connected, love and emotions don’t even get a second thought, he knows what he wants he will damn well get it. He may sound mercurial and pretty villainous and that is the persona he likes to show the world, he enjoys playing the bad boy, but our boy has many layers which over time we slowly peel away and uncover the captivating and vulnerable man beneath, something which our heroine Laura see’s too. His plan’s for a wealthy wife soon get pushed to the back of his mind and quite soon really, and that is when he sees a nymph in the pond – said water nymph happens to be our brilliant heroine; Laura Hayes. Laura is one of the most ordinary and relatable heroines that you will ever meet, and she is one that spoke to me more then most, after her father’s death she is left caring for her sick bother, trying to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and coal in the fire, she deals with every aspect of their life and is loyal and protective of her brother, she is a stubborn lioness hiding in meek mice clothing, she is resilient and as savvy as hell with their finance. This is a character’s that doesn’t suffer fools easily even if she has always held a tender for a certain neighbour. She is the finest, strongest and independent woman I have met in a historical romance for a while, one of the reasons I liked her so much is that Ms Matthews has done this incredible job at creating a character that 99% of women can relate to. Alex, oh my word! He had me hooked like a fish on a line from the first peacock-esque swagger and roguish twinkle, I fell completely, he is by far the sexiest and swoon-some of all of Mimi’s Matthews heroes – if ever there was a time for a #DoubleSigh then this is it, the way Mathews has so perfectly created this character is a testament to just how incredible a writer she is, he tries to be the bad boy he thinks himself to be, and some of his actions may make people think that true, but like Laura you can see beneath his manipulative, villainous mask to the unwittingly good heart and there are moments when he makes me sigh and go weak and the knees. I utterly loved that very first moment these two met, and it is a little on the scandalous side than what we are used to with Ms Matthews, it sets up the relationship between them perfectly, yet they are an adorably sweet couple, the chemistry smoulders beneath the surface, it’s electric the atmosphere around them crackles. Ms Matthews has a brilliant gift at hinting at things that makes the reader really think and imagine, I loved that style of writing it enhances the reading experience. There are some truly beautiful moments between these two there is a scene where Laura tells him that all he wants deep down is a family and not money or property, that really spoke to me it’s a simple very normal truth that so many can relate to. I have to mention the ending, without giving away any spoilers, it is perfection, it’s heart-warming and so good to see all the Orphan’s together, I cannot wait for the fourth and final book; I know that that one is going to be a tear-jerker, but that man needs a happy ending too. This is a truly beautiful story of second chances, of moving from your past and embracing the future, it will enchant you from the moment you open the first page. I have said it before, and I am not ashamed to say it again, but Ms Matthews really does have a beautifully rare gift at writing the most enchanting and magical stories. She is the queen of the Victorian romance there are no others that can compare to her mastery, as ever I am enthralled by her sparkling words.

  21. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Loved the opening. Loved Alex referring to Laura as looking like some sort of demented Ophelia. Ha!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    This was excellent! I loved Laura and Alex's story as I have been curious about this mysterious Alex Archer who has been mentioned in the two previous books of this series, and finally, I got to meet him! What could I say that hasn't already been said? I thought ( and think) Alex Archer was my favorite of the four men, but I realized I need to wait until Neville Cross has his say, so until then Alex is my favourite of this series!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B for narration and a C+ for content at AudioGals, which puts this between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I've rounded up. A Convenient Fiction is book three in Mimi Matthews’ Parish Orphans of Devon series, and the first of the set I’ve listened to (I read the first book, The Matrimonial Advertisement), and I confess I picked it up for review principally because Alex Wyndham is the narrator (the earlier books in the series were narrated by someone I don’t care to listen to). The autho I've given this a B for narration and a C+ for content at AudioGals, which puts this between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I've rounded up. A Convenient Fiction is book three in Mimi Matthews’ Parish Orphans of Devon series, and the first of the set I’ve listened to (I read the first book, The Matrimonial Advertisement), and I confess I picked it up for review principally because Alex Wyndham is the narrator (the earlier books in the series were narrated by someone I don’t care to listen to). The author has a reputation as someone who pays attention to historical detail and accuracy in her novels, and her characters speak and behave in a way that is very period-appropriate - which isn’t something I can say about a lot of the historical romances published recently. Her writing is smooth and engaging and she has the knack for creating nicely simmering romantic chemistry between her protagonists – but if you’re someone who likes a bit of on-page action between the sheets in your romances, then you won’t find that here, as Ms. Matthews closes the bedroom door very firmly once the characters make it that far! You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Mimi Matthews might be my favorite historical romance author. Her settings are so thoroughly and deftly rendered, so immersive-- and she treats her characters with such care. This book is dense with interpersonal and individual nuance, as well as several enjoyable changes of scenery, and the reader is sold on the eventual romance basically from the first pages. I have loved every book in this series so far-- this might be my favorite-- but I can't wait to return to the seaside cliffs of Devon fo Mimi Matthews might be my favorite historical romance author. Her settings are so thoroughly and deftly rendered, so immersive-- and she treats her characters with such care. This book is dense with interpersonal and individual nuance, as well as several enjoyable changes of scenery, and the reader is sold on the eventual romance basically from the first pages. I have loved every book in this series so far-- this might be my favorite-- but I can't wait to return to the seaside cliffs of Devon for the final installment.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marguerite Gray

    Beautiful story of forgiveness.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    I Love It All!! I just cannot get enough of this band of brothers, these orphan boys who survived the worst and are rising above the hell they started life in. This author is expert at giving me a balance of darkness and light, struggle and reprieve. The characters draw me in and make me love them. I feel so attached to them! I love the authors attention to detail, especially in the historical sense. It all just comes together so wonderfully. I love it. I love Alex and Laura- separately and toget I Love It All!! I just cannot get enough of this band of brothers, these orphan boys who survived the worst and are rising above the hell they started life in. This author is expert at giving me a balance of darkness and light, struggle and reprieve. The characters draw me in and make me love them. I feel so attached to them! I love the authors attention to detail, especially in the historical sense. It all just comes together so wonderfully. I love it. I love Alex and Laura- separately and together. Watching Alex realize love was so very satisfying. I cannot wait for the next book!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Piper

    “I want it all. A home, a family, the perfumery, and the sea. And I want it with you, Alex. I want it all with you.” This grin may never leave my face. I loved this sweet, romantic story from beginning to end. It was indeed a lovely third installment to the Parish Orphans of Devon series. I dare say I don’t want this series to end. Alex Archer and Laura Hayes we’re destined to find each other and although I’ve said it many times before.... Alex Wyndham‘s narration was brilliant. “I want it all. A home, a family, the perfumery, and the sea. And I want it with you, Alex. I want it all with you.” This grin may never leave my face. I loved this sweet, romantic story from beginning to end. It was indeed a lovely third installment to the Parish Orphans of Devon series. I dare say I don’t want this series to end. Alex Archer and Laura Hayes we’re destined to find each other and although I’ve said it many times before.... Alex Wyndham‘s narration was brilliant.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ronie

    LOVED this installment in the Parish Orphans. I was smitten with Alex after the first few chapters, and I loved his story and journey with Laura.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Fresina

    I love Mimi's work and this has to be my favourite so far. Her characters are multi-dimensional, truly likeable, memorable, and have great chemistry. Dropped into situations that don't feel forced or unlikely, you can't help but cheer for them to get their happy ending. Of course, I adore the Victorian era and Mimi writes it like no one else, with perfect little details that put the reader right back in time. For those of you wondering why I always give Mimi 5-stars, read her books and then you' I love Mimi's work and this has to be my favourite so far. Her characters are multi-dimensional, truly likeable, memorable, and have great chemistry. Dropped into situations that don't feel forced or unlikely, you can't help but cheer for them to get their happy ending. Of course, I adore the Victorian era and Mimi writes it like no one else, with perfect little details that put the reader right back in time. For those of you wondering why I always give Mimi 5-stars, read her books and then you'll know! She never lets me down. (Actually, if I dont like a book, I simply don't review it. But when I find real pearls, I think it's only fair to let people know about them.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    Another engaging story in a highly-addictive series! I loved Laura's family dynamics in this one, and I always love redemption stories, so I was delighted with how Alex Archer's tale unfolded. Looking forward to reading Neville's book next!

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