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The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart

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Set in Victorian London from the Queen of Mystery Romance 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 H Set in Victorian London from the Queen of Mystery Romance 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.


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Set in Victorian London from the Queen of Mystery Romance 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 H Set in Victorian London from the Queen of Mystery Romance 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.

30 review for The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart

  1. 4 out of 5

    PamG

    The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen brings plenty of mystery, intrigue, and atmosphere to a tale that is part historical mystery, part police investigation, and part romance. It’s the first book in the Proper Romance Victorian series. Set in and around London in 1885, the main characters are Amelie Hampton, Harold Radcliffe, and Detective Michael Baker. When a dead body of a young woman is found in the Thames River, these three meet and the sparks fly in more than one way. A The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen brings plenty of mystery, intrigue, and atmosphere to a tale that is part historical mystery, part police investigation, and part romance. It’s the first book in the Proper Romance Victorian series. Set in and around London in 1885, the main characters are Amelie Hampton, Harold Radcliffe, and Detective Michael Baker. When a dead body of a young woman is found in the Thames River, these three meet and the sparks fly in more than one way. Amelie is an independent but somewhat lonely woman working for her aunt at The Marriage Gazette. She answers lonely heart letters, writes the occasional essay, and does some matchmaking through the personal ads. Her character comes through strongly as naïve, hard-working, intelligent, impatient, and outspoken, but she has successfully matched more couples than the rest of the staff combined. She does show some growth during the course of the book, but also makes some ill-advised choices along the way. Harold is charming and good looking, but he’s somewhat harder to get to know. Michael is hard-working and calm. A cast of secondary characters provides support, conflict, and interest. The author did a great job of transporting me to a different time and place. Quotes from different publications that were at the beginning of each chapter provided additional insight into the times and how women were perceived and treated. While this is not a time I would want to live in, it was fun to visit and spend time with Amelie and her friends, family, and acquaintances. While the plot was clever, suspenseful, and perfectly paced, it was the characters and situations that developed that kept me reading. However, I did wish that a red herring or two were thrown in the mix so that the villain wasn’t known so early in the book. Danger, suspense, and some twists crop up before you get to the heartwarming and satisfying ending. I was immediately drawn into the characters’ lives and enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the development of the romance. Themes include death, relationships, poverty, treatment of orphans, corruption, assaults, romance, family, institutionalization of those with certain disabilities, and much more. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which was suspenseful, engaging, and atmospheric. In both of the books I have read by this author, I had a connection with the writing style that I found relatable, vivid, and irresistible. I can’t wait to find out which of the secondary characters will show up in future books in the series. I recommend this to those that like historical mysteries with some romance. Shadow Mountain Publishing and Nancy Campbell Allen provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently expected to be September 7, 2021. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I am amazed that this is the first book I have read by this author. It appears that she has written heaps and is very popular. Having just finished The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart I can understand why. The book is set in Victorian London where Amelie Hampton is employed as a 'matchmaker' for the Marriage Gazette. This would be unusual for a young lady at that time but the paper is owned by Amelie's Aunt who is very much an independent woman. Amelie is a romantic with a good sense of humour and a lo I am amazed that this is the first book I have read by this author. It appears that she has written heaps and is very popular. Having just finished The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart I can understand why. The book is set in Victorian London where Amelie Hampton is employed as a 'matchmaker' for the Marriage Gazette. This would be unusual for a young lady at that time but the paper is owned by Amelie's Aunt who is very much an independent woman. Amelie is a romantic with a good sense of humour and a lot of common sense. Sometimes these attributes war against each other but fortunately sense normally wins. So the book is partly romance with a delightful situation developing between Amelie and a rather gruff policeman, Detective Michael Baker. There are also several murders and near misses even though the culprit is fairly obvious throughout. I enjoyed the humour between the two main characters and I was very happy with the conclusion. I look forward to the next book and in the meantime will also look up some other books by this same author. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This is part Victorian romance, part Wilki Collins, part Woman of Independent Means, and a bit Lonely Heart. Amelie Hampton is a sucker for romance, but independent as all get out. I really loved her meet cute with the handsome Detective Baker. Their comedic conversations add a light tone to what would have otherwise been a dark plot. There may be wife-murderer on the loose and his charming exterior has fooled many. With a swoon-worthy ending, this is just what I needed. I hope that Amelie's cou This is part Victorian romance, part Wilki Collins, part Woman of Independent Means, and a bit Lonely Heart. Amelie Hampton is a sucker for romance, but independent as all get out. I really loved her meet cute with the handsome Detective Baker. Their comedic conversations add a light tone to what would have otherwise been a dark plot. There may be wife-murderer on the loose and his charming exterior has fooled many. With a swoon-worthy ending, this is just what I needed. I hope that Amelie's cousins, Charlotte and Eva, will each be getting their own book in the future. Thank you to Shadow Mountain and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I probably shouldn't use the word delightful when describing a murder mystery, but this book was delightful. This story takes place in the late 1800s, and it was such a fascinating time in history and Ms. Allen did a great job of creating the setting and what life would have been like back then, especially for women who were gaining more rights and freedoms. Amelie such a likable and endearing heroine. She is a Woman of Independent Means, working at her aunts newspaper and living in her own apart I probably shouldn't use the word delightful when describing a murder mystery, but this book was delightful. This story takes place in the late 1800s, and it was such a fascinating time in history and Ms. Allen did a great job of creating the setting and what life would have been like back then, especially for women who were gaining more rights and freedoms. Amelie such a likable and endearing heroine. She is a Woman of Independent Means, working at her aunts newspaper and living in her own apartment. She is innocent in a lot of ways, but savvy and witty. Our hero, the serious and handsome Detective Michael Baker is also very likable and it as fun to see this hardened detective melt around Amelie. They were really cute together! I dont read a whole lot of mysteries, but I thought this one was well done. I loved the setting and how everything played out. Kept me engaged and turning the pages. I like the supporting cast a lot and hope Ms. Allen will make this a series and write about Amelie's cousins. Content PG13 for mild violence Romance: Kissing Language: None Violence: Plot surrounds a murder investigation(s), a kidnapping & attack, nothing overly graphic or gory.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I so enjoyed this! There is a reason Allen has been one of my favorite authors for 20 years:} A little mystery, a little romance and some fun characters. This Victorian setting was so fun to read. Woman were just gaining their independence. I can tell this is the beginning o,f at least the 3 girls stories. All are working and trying to navigate the new times that are happening in England. This is a sweet romance with some kissing, a little violence does happen. This is a murder mystery. Light on I so enjoyed this! There is a reason Allen has been one of my favorite authors for 20 years:} A little mystery, a little romance and some fun characters. This Victorian setting was so fun to read. Woman were just gaining their independence. I can tell this is the beginning o,f at least the 3 girls stories. All are working and trying to navigate the new times that are happening in England. This is a sweet romance with some kissing, a little violence does happen. This is a murder mystery. Light on the mystery, heavy on the murder.

  6. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Victorian mystery / romance—the Scotland Yard Detective and a Woman of Independent Means! I so enjoyed this! Amelie Hampton is a columnist for the Marriage Gazette, a respectable Lonely Hearts publication that introduces perspective couples. Amelie is keen to see how two people she’s put together might hit it off. So, against all the Gazette rules, she decides to observe their meeting. Imagine her surprise when the man turns out to be not the Mr. Dashing he’d presented himself as, but Mr. Radclif Victorian mystery / romance—the Scotland Yard Detective and a Woman of Independent Means! I so enjoyed this! Amelie Hampton is a columnist for the Marriage Gazette, a respectable Lonely Hearts publication that introduces perspective couples. Amelie is keen to see how two people she’s put together might hit it off. So, against all the Gazette rules, she decides to observe their meeting. Imagine her surprise when the man turns out to be not the Mr. Dashing he’d presented himself as, but Mr. Radcliffe, the handsome widower who attended her book club, whose presence turns her knees to jelly and her thoughts to mush. When asked about this, Mr. Radcliffe gives Amelie a host of smooth and plausible answers to cover his subterfuge, at least to Amelie’s ears—but not for at least one of her cousins. Detective Michael Baker notices the young woman standing outside the restaurant in the rain, for at least thirty minutes, spying on the couple. He’s here because he believes the solicitor, Harold Radcliffe may have killed his wife. He’s gathering proof. Intrigued, Michael follows Amelie to question her which turns into something not quite that simple. After a rocky beginning Michael manages to persuade Amelie to take him to the next book club event to meet Radcliffe socially, as her guest. The book club features a host of interesting characters, including two rather risqué elderly sisters. Somehow Michael finds himself deputising Amelie and her cousins. This is all rather hilarious as Detective Baker’s world is turned on it’s head—and much to her dismay so is Amelia’s. Amelie is absolutely committed to being a working woman, a Woman of Independent Means. I love the depth of characterisation that Allen brings to her leads. Both Detective Baker and Amelie Hampton are well rounded, and as the plot progresses we learn so much more about them. They are alive and engaging. Similar growth happens with the secondary characters. We watch Detective Baker’s relationship with his new partner, Detective Nathaniel Winston develop, the small moments of them becoming a team. Michael’s former partner had not only been his long time friend, but also his brother-in-law. He’d been killed in pursuit of criminal. Michael is still grieving. And now a new partner. This is a huge step! How to move forward and trust someone you don’t know. Allen really capture Michael’s hesitancy. Nathaniel slowly wins Michael’s appreciation—and he wins me! Murder and nefarious doings lead to a highly charged last few chapters. Taut plot formation pushes the action along. A rather unexpected Victorian romance mystery that well and truly delivered. A Shadow Mountain ARC via NetGalley

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    I read this for a historical romance vlog! https://youtu.be/Ja14Oap9rlU Grumpy/Sunshine historical romantic suspense that will probably make you laugh! I thought this was a thoroughly charming story with more modern sensibilities and interesting women who have no problem speaking up for themselves. And if you're looking for something that isn't too steamy but still gives you great chemistry, this definitely delivers! (and there are a couple of solid kissing scenes toward the end of the book). Amel I read this for a historical romance vlog! https://youtu.be/Ja14Oap9rlU Grumpy/Sunshine historical romantic suspense that will probably make you laugh! I thought this was a thoroughly charming story with more modern sensibilities and interesting women who have no problem speaking up for themselves. And if you're looking for something that isn't too steamy but still gives you great chemistry, this definitely delivers! (and there are a couple of solid kissing scenes toward the end of the book). Amelie is a bit naive and romantic, which makes her perfect for answering letters to the marriage gazette run by her aunt. She loves to play matchmaker and sets one correspondent up on a blind date with a widower looking for love. But the man who shows up is Harold, a charming, handsome member of her bookclub who just recently lost his wife. And as it turns out, Detective Michael Baker is investigating her death and suspects the husband of foul play. Amelie can't believe it, but agrees to help Mr. Baker with his investigation. Initially she's drawn into Harolds web, but grouchy Michael Baker just might make his way into her heart... This was really great! It had fun characters, suspicious deaths, investigation, and a really sweet romance. Highly recommend and I hope we get more in this series because I want stories about Amelie's cousins as well! I received an advance copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    It's a Victorian murder mystery! After a few years of steampunk/paranormal regency style mashup books from this author, we are delving into a new genre and I'm liking it! A lot! From the first pages I was interested which is always nice as a reader but what is even better? When that interest grows with every page and you become more and more invested as the story progresses. Things really ramped up in the last half of the book and by the end I was reading so quickly, desperate to find out how it It's a Victorian murder mystery! After a few years of steampunk/paranormal regency style mashup books from this author, we are delving into a new genre and I'm liking it! A lot! From the first pages I was interested which is always nice as a reader but what is even better? When that interest grows with every page and you become more and more invested as the story progresses. Things really ramped up in the last half of the book and by the end I was reading so quickly, desperate to find out how it would all work out. I really love when that happens. Amelie (I love that name) and Michael grew on me as I got to know them better. I'm glad that Amelie didn't stay in her delusional world too long but quickly caught on so Michael could become the star of her show (and mine too!). I would say that this book is slightly more plot driven but the characters were good and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. I'm really hoping that this is the beginning of a new series involving the cousins who all are a part of this book. Content: some violence (murders) described in some detail. Peril, kissing. - I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Merry Christmas Jewelhound

    The book started off with some witty banter between the main characters and a mysterious widower....did he kill his wife or is he innocent. The police detective Baker and Amelie are the main love interest with Harold Radcliffe as the suspected murderer. The story is a nice blend of romance and crime solving with an intrepid modern working woman in the Victorian era who reads murder mysteries and decides to help solve the crime. I do not know if this will be a series but I do hope so.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie Carpenter

    This is a book that I'm going to issue a warning with. It's a warning that I've issued before with several other books, but it stands very true for this well as well... Don't read this book unless you have carved out time in your schedule to read it from cover to cover. You will not want to set it down. I'm not kidding here people! 100% serious. I couldn't put it down. Ok, well I did once or twice, but only for a couple minutes each time. Haha! It is really that good! Nancy Campbell Allen is an a This is a book that I'm going to issue a warning with. It's a warning that I've issued before with several other books, but it stands very true for this well as well... Don't read this book unless you have carved out time in your schedule to read it from cover to cover. You will not want to set it down. I'm not kidding here people! 100% serious. I couldn't put it down. Ok, well I did once or twice, but only for a couple minutes each time. Haha! It is really that good! Nancy Campbell Allen is an author that I can't wait for her to announce new book releases! I've been eyeing this one since I first learned that it was going to be released and was so excited when I was finally able to clear my schedule and read it. See there, I knew I was going to need a day and I planned accordingly! I loved this Victorian era novel. And can I just say, that cover, GORGEOUS!!!! It's just so creative. The newspaper ads and the coloring. All of it is just so eye catching for me. The cover designer did a fabulous job! The characters were delightful as well. Especially Amelie, our intrepid report (well kind of), and our charmingly delightful (well kind of) Police detective Michael Baker. Hee hee! You'll have to read it to understand my little asides there. But in all seriousness, these two were truly fabulous characters. Well developed, and fabulous dialogue between them. I loved it all. We have our devious characters as well. The ones we're not quite sure about. Are they good or not? And the sweet and lighthearted characters who add humor and comic relief. The timing of it all throughout the book was well written and delivered. I found myself holding my breath a couple times during some of the suspenseful moments. And then releasing that breath in relief and happiness that everything was working out as I had hoped. Amelie is trying to find her place. She's a lovely character and just needs some wins in her corner. She has such a great support group that tag along with her escapades. Especially when she becomes "deputized." Hahahaha!!! Oh how I adore this book and these characters. I know I keep saying that, but it's true. Especially when I start to think about certain scenes or conversations. You're in for a real treat! This reminded me of a fun show I watched, Miss Scarlett and the Duke. Have you watched it yet? You should if you're a mystery/suspense/crime fighting fan. And DEFINITELY read this book! Content: Clean. This is a mystery and suspense, so there are moments of mild peril as well as death and murder. But it is all done tastefully and not overly graphic. Some kisses but nothing further. I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own. Happy Reading!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    It's hardly a secret that I'm a big fan of the Proper Romance line, so it's with great sadness that I have to report that I didn't care for this one. That's in no way because of the writing - Nancy Campbell Allen is comfortable with her time period and subject matter, and the romance and mystery plots do work nicely together. The issue is more that I didn't buy the couple, mostly because I could not stand the heroine. Amelie is meant to be a naive young Victorian woman trying to make her way in It's hardly a secret that I'm a big fan of the Proper Romance line, so it's with great sadness that I have to report that I didn't care for this one. That's in no way because of the writing - Nancy Campbell Allen is comfortable with her time period and subject matter, and the romance and mystery plots do work nicely together. The issue is more that I didn't buy the couple, mostly because I could not stand the heroine. Amelie is meant to be a naive young Victorian woman trying to make her way in a world that isn't sure she should be allowed independence. She's so excited to seize on any and every opportunity that she comes off as tragically TSTL - if this young lady has a sense of self-preservation, I didn't see it. Her willingness to see attractive people as good is somehow more excusable, but her inability to make a sound decision ruined the book for me. I will have to pick up a different one of Allen's books, because I enjoyed her writing style. Just not these characters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Barbara’s Rating: 5 of 5 Stars Series: No Series Listed Publication Date: 9/7/21 Period: Victorian London Number of Pages: 336 Wowzers! This is my first read by this author, but it will definitely NOT be my last. The writing is excellent, the plot is tightly woven and cohesive, the characters are exceptional, and there is excitement galore. There are several characters in this book that I would love to see in future books, but there is no mention that this book is part of a series – bummer. Detective Barbara’s Rating: 5 of 5 Stars Series: No Series Listed Publication Date: 9/7/21 Period: Victorian London Number of Pages: 336 Wowzers! This is my first read by this author, but it will definitely NOT be my last. The writing is excellent, the plot is tightly woven and cohesive, the characters are exceptional, and there is excitement galore. There are several characters in this book that I would love to see in future books, but there is no mention that this book is part of a series – bummer. Detective Michael Baker is part of Scotland Yard’s newly organized Criminal Investigation Division. Michael is a no-nonsense man who has vowed he will never marry. Not Ever. He’s seen what grief does to those left behind when a law officer dies in the line of duty and he would never inflict that pain on anyone he loved. His father died in the line of duty as did his best friend and brother-in-law. No, he’ll never leave those he loves to cope with the grief and life after he is gone. Michael is called to the banks of the Thames because a dead body has been found. A beautiful young woman whose life ended much too soon. Michael finally learns she is the wife of solicitor Mr. Harold Radcliff and undertakes the sad task of having the newly bereaved husband identify the body. Something just doesn’t seem right about Radcliff’s reactions. He does all of the correct things – but they just don’t ring true for Michael. Then, when Radcliff refuses to allow an autopsy – Michael is really interested in having one done. When Radcliff thwarts Michael’s wishes and whisks the body away to her family plot, Michael knows he’ll have to find other means to figure out what happened to Marie Radcliff. Amelie (that is AHmelie) Hampton and her two cousins, Charlotte and Evangeline are all working toward becoming ‘women of independent means’ by living in their aunt’s ‘boarding’ house and working at her newspaper, the Marriage Gazette. Amelie is neither smooth nor polished, but she is a hopeless romantic who firmly believes in finding her knight in shining armor. She performs a bit of matchmaking through her work at the Marriage Gazette – probably much more than her aunt Sally knows. She’s coordinated a potential match and is anxious to see how it is going. She’s met the lady but has no idea who the man actually is, so she hides outside the tea shop where her two matches are to meet – just so she can assure all is going well. But … Oh! No! … the man who shows up is Mr. Harold Radcliff, a man for whom Amelie has a bit of a tendre. While following Radcliff, Michael sees a young woman spying on Radcliff and another young woman. Hmm – Could this be an accomplice of Radcliff? Michael determines to follow her and confront her. After scaring her nearly to death and getting her story, Michael enlists her aid. Oh! She’ll aid him alright. She’ll prove to Scotland Yard Radcliff is totally innocent. I loved watching Michael and Amelie – first working at cross-purposes, and then united. Their own feelings for each other developed slowly and the realization came even slower. But, goodness, when that realization did happen. I definitely recommend this book and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. It is exciting and the resolution of the mystery will have your heart in your throat. I would really love to see future books with Charlotte, Evangeline, Aunt Sally, Detective Winston, director Ellis – and even Michael’s widowed sister, Clarissa. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    This Victorian Era read is everything I loved - it had romance, mystery and adventure. I was gripped from the very first page. I love the grit and the characters in this story. The historical mystery was a fun read for me as well as the police procedural and the romance was a bonus. The writing really transported me to the Victorian time period, with rich detail that gave this mystery a wonderful atmospheric read. I enjoyed Amelie as a character and all the other secondary characters as well. I e This Victorian Era read is everything I loved - it had romance, mystery and adventure. I was gripped from the very first page. I love the grit and the characters in this story. The historical mystery was a fun read for me as well as the police procedural and the romance was a bonus. The writing really transported me to the Victorian time period, with rich detail that gave this mystery a wonderful atmospheric read. I enjoyed Amelie as a character and all the other secondary characters as well. I enjoyed how we slowly uncovered the mystery and the well plotted story line. I found this book to be engaging and entertaining tor read. Fun historical mystery with a splash of romance.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    Victorian; murder mystery; romance; Nancy Campbell Allen! Yes please!! I loved her Victorian steampunk series and based on this book I'm going to love this new series too. I've loved mysteries since I was a preteen and discovered Nancy Drew. Amelie works for her Aunt Sally who runs The Marriage Gazette, giving advice on romance. Although single, she's successfully matched several couples. She sets up a young lady with a gentleman and spies on them from a distance to see how they're getting along Victorian; murder mystery; romance; Nancy Campbell Allen! Yes please!! I loved her Victorian steampunk series and based on this book I'm going to love this new series too. I've loved mysteries since I was a preteen and discovered Nancy Drew. Amelie works for her Aunt Sally who runs The Marriage Gazette, giving advice on romance. Although single, she's successfully matched several couples. She sets up a young lady with a gentleman and spies on them from a distance to see how they're getting along. This leads to a fun run-in with Detective Michael Baker, who's also watching the couple but for completely different reasons. Detective Baker suspects the gentleman of killing his wife! It turns out the gentleman, a Mr. Harold Radcliffe, is a member of the book club Amelie attends, and a fairly recent widower. Amelie doesn't believe Mr. Radcliffe killed his wife and sets out to prove it to Detective Baker. I loved this book. I love the Victorian era as women could have jobs other than housekeepers, maids and seamstresses; they could even have their own businesses. Amelie is spunky and doesn't always think things through before acting. I loved how close she is with her cousins she lives with in the boardinghouse. I liked Detective Baker and how he cared about his sister and her family since the death of her husband, his former partner who was killed in the line of duty. I liked the side characters who were just sketchy enough to make me wonder what they were up to, and if they were guilty. This story had me pulled in from the beginning and kept my interest the entire time. I thoroughly enjoyed Amelie and Michael's story and can't wait to read more about Amelie's cousins, Charlotte and Evangeline. I love when I have books in a series to look forward to. I also listened to the audiobook on Deseret Bookshelf and thought the narrator was wonderful. I received a complimentary digital copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kav

    So. Much. Fun. Seriously hilarious (and, yes that's an oxymoron but it fits!) From the laugh-out-loud meet-cute to the amateur sleuthing to the dangerous undertones -- The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart delivers the perfect reading getaway! And I haven't even mentioned the romance yet! Witty dialogue, an intelligent heroine (who happens to have two equally intelligent cousins who I hope are featured in their own stories sometime soon), a detective who can't afford to be besotted but he is (I love how rat So. Much. Fun. Seriously hilarious (and, yes that's an oxymoron but it fits!) From the laugh-out-loud meet-cute to the amateur sleuthing to the dangerous undertones -- The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart delivers the perfect reading getaway! And I haven't even mentioned the romance yet! Witty dialogue, an intelligent heroine (who happens to have two equally intelligent cousins who I hope are featured in their own stories sometime soon), a detective who can't afford to be besotted but he is (I love how rattled he gets at times!) and a truly odious, conniving villain made this a rabid listening frenzy for me, enhanced all the more by Justine Eyre's captivating narration. Victorian romance + cozy mystery = one sublime read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren (thebookscript)

    This was a delightful read of Victorian Era proportions. A little mystery and a little romance all packed into one that made this one quite diverting. I've been watching Miss Scarlet and the Duke with my husband so I guess i've been in the mood for some mystery and female detective sleuthing. I also tend to love grittier historicals so when the book starts with a body of a young woman being pulled out of the Thames... it definitely had my attention. Amelie is a columnist for a Matchmaking Gazett This was a delightful read of Victorian Era proportions. A little mystery and a little romance all packed into one that made this one quite diverting. I've been watching Miss Scarlet and the Duke with my husband so I guess i've been in the mood for some mystery and female detective sleuthing. I also tend to love grittier historicals so when the book starts with a body of a young woman being pulled out of the Thames... it definitely had my attention. Amelie is a columnist for a Matchmaking Gazette and a hopeless romantic, when she's pulled into a case over a man she's been pining for, she seeks to prove the mans innocence. She's a little naive and hasn't been hardened by the world yet so it was nice to see her growth as she realizes the dangers and realities of what actually exists by helping in the case. Michael is a great character, hardened by his job that killed his best friend and vows to never marry to save others the heartache of his loss. When he meets Amelie his rough edges and her enthusiasm and innocence clash but in the best of ways. And as they grow closer to finding the killer, they also grow closer in matters of the heart. Like I said...mystery, romance and adventure all in one read, and I truly hope Amelies cousins also get their own stories as well. I feel like I saw some foreshadowing in there.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    This is a fantastic Victorian romantic suspense story! I don’t usually enjoy suspense, but there’s something about the way this author writes it. She makes it so believable. This had a slow build up, but then it grabs you and doesn’t let go. Amelie answers correspondence for her aunt’s magazine The Marriage Gazette. She particularly enjoys matching couples and watching them get their happily ever after. When she is surreptitiously watching a couple she matched anonymously in their first interacti This is a fantastic Victorian romantic suspense story! I don’t usually enjoy suspense, but there’s something about the way this author writes it. She makes it so believable. This had a slow build up, but then it grabs you and doesn’t let go. Amelie answers correspondence for her aunt’s magazine The Marriage Gazette. She particularly enjoys matching couples and watching them get their happily ever after. When she is surreptitiously watching a couple she matched anonymously in their first interaction, she is surprised to find that, not only is she acquainted with the fellow, but she is not the only one watching. Detective Michael Baker was suspicious of this fellow when he handled the questionable death of his wife and is now doubly so as he sees him moving on to find another one so quickly. He gets more than he bargained for as he enlists Amelie’s help. But, as they learn to trust each other, they find that they are stronger together. I loved everything about this novel. The Victorian setting is perfection. The characters are vibrant. The writing pulls you in. It’s a very satisfying romantic suspense read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie (Hiding in the Pages)

    The Victorian era is so fascinating to me and when combined with a murder-mystery, why, what could be better? The characters fit together so well and were a quirky mix of fun. I loved how each chapters began with a piece of advice. Amelie works for her aunt's newspaper and her role is intriguing, especially for her time. When she lands herself in the middle of Michael's murder investigation, the fun really begins and I couldn't get enough of their interactions and the trouble that ensued. Allen i The Victorian era is so fascinating to me and when combined with a murder-mystery, why, what could be better? The characters fit together so well and were a quirky mix of fun. I loved how each chapters began with a piece of advice. Amelie works for her aunt's newspaper and her role is intriguing, especially for her time. When she lands herself in the middle of Michael's murder investigation, the fun really begins and I couldn't get enough of their interactions and the trouble that ensued. Allen is a talented writer in bringing together many threads of a somewhat simple, yet simultaneously complicated plot, and weaving together an entertaining story. The slow start quickly gave way to a delightful tale with a good pacing. I was wondering at the outcome all along. The characters were wonderful and I hope they each get a story of their own. This book was very enjoyable and I'm hoping it's the start of a new series! Content: mild violence/death; mild romance *I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.*

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    A very good read! This is a Victorian murder mystery romance and the setting is immersive and well done. Amelie works for her aunt as writer/matchmaker and is very keen on her independence. She's caught by detective Michael Baker watching a couple that she matched, and he asks for her help in a murder case. Michael is pretty convinced of Harold's guilt, but proving it is not as easy. As the case evolves, so does the friendship between him and Amelie. This is a story full of action and danger, espe A very good read! This is a Victorian murder mystery romance and the setting is immersive and well done. Amelie works for her aunt as writer/matchmaker and is very keen on her independence. She's caught by detective Michael Baker watching a couple that she matched, and he asks for her help in a murder case. Michael is pretty convinced of Harold's guilt, but proving it is not as easy. As the case evolves, so does the friendship between him and Amelie. This is a story full of action and danger, especially as the ending nears and the stakes get higher and more personal. It's also very romantic and I loved Michael and Amelie's relationship. Looks like it'll be a series and I'm looking forward to the next installment. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    3.5 stars. This story is part murder mystery and part romance. It starts off with a body being pulled from the Thames, and eventually there is more than one murder to solve. The main character Amelie Hampton works for her Aunt Sally’s Marriage Gazette, answering correspondence from young ladies looking for love. She meets Detective Michael Baker when he is trailing a murder suspect whom she happened to set up on a date with one of her correspondents. Although each has different motives, they beg 3.5 stars. This story is part murder mystery and part romance. It starts off with a body being pulled from the Thames, and eventually there is more than one murder to solve. The main character Amelie Hampton works for her Aunt Sally’s Marriage Gazette, answering correspondence from young ladies looking for love. She meets Detective Michael Baker when he is trailing a murder suspect whom she happened to set up on a date with one of her correspondents. Although each has different motives, they begin working together. I enjoyed their banter and Amelie’s quick wit. She is a smart girl, if a bit naive, but I never got the impression that she was actually pining for love as the title implies. She was all about working and being independent, things not so common for upper class women in Victorian England. The plot moved along at a quick pace. The supporting characters were great and I wonder if this will be a series featuring each of the cousins introduced here. It’s a sweet, clean romance with a little more violence than I’m used to seeing in a proper romance. If you enjoy historical mysteries then definitely check this one out. I received a free ebook from the publisher via NetGalley. A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    If I had to pick a favorite historical time period to read about, it might be the Victorian period. I love the way it’s okay for a woman to be almost anything she’d like in this time period. And Amelie proves that in this book by Nancy Campbell Allen. I love the way she not only works as a columnist at her aunt’s newspaper, but she also helps set people up as well. This gets her in a bit of trouble when she meets Detective Michael Baker as she’s spying on her latest matchmaking attempt. What she If I had to pick a favorite historical time period to read about, it might be the Victorian period. I love the way it’s okay for a woman to be almost anything she’d like in this time period. And Amelie proves that in this book by Nancy Campbell Allen. I love the way she not only works as a columnist at her aunt’s newspaper, but she also helps set people up as well. This gets her in a bit of trouble when she meets Detective Michael Baker as she’s spying on her latest matchmaking attempt. What she doesn’t know is that the man she’s set up, Mr Radcliffe, is suspected of killing his wife. I liked Michael as well. He goes out of his way to protect Amelie when she gets herself into all sorts of scrapes and trouble. And the way he cares for his family, that was one of my very favorite things about him. There is plenty of mystery and mayhem in this book. I loved how the reader gets to help Amelie and Michael figure out what is going on. The plot kept me engaged from start to finish. This is one of those books I didn’t want to put down! And I hope the author writes more like this one. I was sent a copy of The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa’s Bookshelf

    Nancy Campbell Allen is definitely a favorite author. Whether it’s her steampunk fairytale romances, time travel romances, or her fabulous historical series, she delivers well crafted enjoyable stories in any genre. This new Victorian era romance set in England has all the great elements: a feisty humorous heroine, a dashing police detective, a suave evil villain, a compelling mystery, and a slow build swoon worthy romance that kept me reading late into the night. Amelie writes a matchmaking colu Nancy Campbell Allen is definitely a favorite author. Whether it’s her steampunk fairytale romances, time travel romances, or her fabulous historical series, she delivers well crafted enjoyable stories in any genre. This new Victorian era romance set in England has all the great elements: a feisty humorous heroine, a dashing police detective, a suave evil villain, a compelling mystery, and a slow build swoon worthy romance that kept me reading late into the night. Amelie writes a matchmaking column for her Aunt Sally’s society paper, The Marriage Gazette. She’s young, unmarried, and a bit naive when it comes to love and romance; yet, she has a successful track record of matching couples. Her latest project involves Mr. Harold Radcliffe, a handsome, charming widower who also happens to be a member of her book club. Even though his wife was recently found dead in the Thames River under suspicious circumstances, Amelie still finds him sympathetic and attractive. Detective Michael Baker has assumed a lot of responsibility since he was a child and is not looking for a wife. He’s handsome, intelligent, and dedicated to helping his brother and sister. Finding Radcliffe’s dead wife shakes him, and he’s determined to prove his suspicions that Radcliffe killed her. When he finds Amelie spying on the suave widower and his date, he thinks he may have found Radcliffe’s accomplice. Instead, he finds a beautiful, spunky, determined woman who does have connections to Radcliffe that might just help him in his investigation. As the two work together, their attraction and admiration grows. However, when another person is murdered and Amelie’s doubts about Radcliffe increase, the smarmy widower begins taking a romantic interest in her, but what are his motives and can Michael keep the intrepid Amelie whom he’s developed feelings for safe? I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters including the side characters. Amelie and Michael were a fabulous couple whose relationship was built on mutual admiration and respect. Their banter and interactions always left me anticipating the next chapter. The villain was especially delicious and one you love to hate. The two enjoyable main characters are assisted by several delightful minor characters. There’s Amelie’s bluestocking Aunt Sally, her lovely cousins, Michael’s fellow detective and partner Nicholas, and a likable street urchin named Sammy. These engaging characters add to the charm of the story. I’m excited to see these characters’ stories developed further as the series hopefully continues. All in all, this was a fantastic read that completely hooked me from the beginning. With rich characters, an intriguing mystery, a sweet romance, and plenty of twists and turns, this compelling story was thoroughly satisfying. Highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical mystery romances. I gave this 4 1/2 stars. I received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for a copy of this ARC. Opinions are my own. This story follows Amelie, a shy newspaper columnist/matchmaker and Michael, a detective looking into one of the bachelors Amelie is pining for/trying to match with an eligible lady. The basics of the story are convoluted - she writes a match making column? An advice column for single women? A Dear Abby kinda column? I honestly couldn't figure it out by chapter 8 at which point it seemed less important Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for a copy of this ARC. Opinions are my own. This story follows Amelie, a shy newspaper columnist/matchmaker and Michael, a detective looking into one of the bachelors Amelie is pining for/trying to match with an eligible lady. The basics of the story are convoluted - she writes a match making column? An advice column for single women? A Dear Abby kinda column? I honestly couldn't figure it out by chapter 8 at which point it seemed less important. Amelie and Michael meet and form an odd partnership trying to find out the truth of Harold Ratcliff, with Amelie convinced he is a perfect gentleman, and Michael convinced he's a murderer. There are some sassy ladies, both old and young, dangerous hiking and a HEA. It takes a while to get into the story, and as I said I found her job distractingly confusing for about a quarter of the way through. There were some sweet moments between Michael and Amelie, including her visiting his family, but when the "I love you"s came I was actually surprised... They went from dislike to grudging respect to love without a stop on the way. If you enjoy historic romantic suspense, you may enjoy this one. #TheMatchmakersLonelyHeart #NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna (The_Reading_Pantry)

    My head is still reeling from this one. 🤯🤯 I am sooo glad I was given an advanced copy of this book because it is an absolutely MUST read! My friend was sweet enough to buddy read it with me and that made the twists and turns that much better. There were so many times that I had no idea where the story would go and it kept me up late falling for the just one more chapter trick. This is a murder mystery with some good, slow burn romance and I was there for it. I’m still giddy after reading the en My head is still reeling from this one. 🤯🤯 I am sooo glad I was given an advanced copy of this book because it is an absolutely MUST read! My friend was sweet enough to buddy read it with me and that made the twists and turns that much better. There were so many times that I had no idea where the story would go and it kept me up late falling for the just one more chapter trick. This is a murder mystery with some good, slow burn romance and I was there for it. I’m still giddy after reading the ending and thinking of Michael and Amelie together. Like, WOW! 😍😍 I’m not usually one to go for suspense because I can’t handle not knowing. Anyone else have that problem? This was perfectly mysterious without being too gory. Plus, I LOVED that the characters didn’t act in the typical way. They were mostly level headed which made it that much more enjoyable to read. This was a five star read in my book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    This Victorian Proper Romance was a delight to read. I found myself chuckling at Amelie Hampton’s hopeless romantic notions and it was fun to watch her perspective change. When she encounters police detective Michael Baker, the twists and turns of mystery and intrigue that Allen is known for enter this love story. With the perfect dose of mystery and developing romance, this book is one of my favorite genres. I did have a little trouble with how quickly the travel between Marseilles and London w This Victorian Proper Romance was a delight to read. I found myself chuckling at Amelie Hampton’s hopeless romantic notions and it was fun to watch her perspective change. When she encounters police detective Michael Baker, the twists and turns of mystery and intrigue that Allen is known for enter this love story. With the perfect dose of mystery and developing romance, this book is one of my favorite genres. I did have a little trouble with how quickly the travel between Marseilles and London was portrayed because it seemed much simpler than it would have been in Victorian times. That aside, the full cast of characters kept me intrigued and I really hope we’re going to see more novels with Amelie’s cousins playing the lead role. I’ll definitely be passing this book along to my family as it is suitable for all ages to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    Amelie writes an advice column and loves to match couples on the side. When Detective Michael Baker comes to her for help with one of his cases, she’s thrilled. It will be just like one of the mystery novels she reads, right? The chemistry between Amelie and Michael was delightful. The mystery and romance were well timed. I couldn’t put it down! I have a list of characters I want to read about next and I really hope this will become a series!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rita Deodato

    Review Published at: https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpre... The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart is a Victorian romance which will delight readers with its fascinating characters and action-packed storyline. The heroine in this book is Amelie Hampton, a naïve girl who is focused on being an independent woman and therefore works as a columnist for the Marriage Gazette. The story starts when she decides to secretly observe a blind date between two people who are meeting due to the Gazettes matchmaking ad Review Published at: https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpre... The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart is a Victorian romance which will delight readers with its fascinating characters and action-packed storyline. The heroine in this book is Amelie Hampton, a naïve girl who is focused on being an independent woman and therefore works as a columnist for the Marriage Gazette. The story starts when she decides to secretly observe a blind date between two people who are meeting due to the Gazettes matchmaking adds and discovers one of them is none other than Harold Radcliffe, a gentleman she has been pining over at her book club. It is when she is spying the couple that she meets Michael Baker, a strong and dashing detective who is investigating the suspicious death of Mr. Radcliffe’s late wife. The narrative will explore the investigation that will see Michael Baker and Amelie Hampton join forces to solve the mystery behind Mr. Radcliffe’s character, but it is not the unknown that will keep the reader glued to the book’s pages. This book is unputdownable due to the electrifying dialogues and scenes between Michael and Amelie. Their romance captivated me from the very first scene until the last one and it was the main reason why I couldn’t put this book down. In this story, there is much more happening then a romance between two characters, so its pace is quite fast, but also extremely satisfying due to the banters between Michael and Amelie. Their dialogues and reactions to one another made me laugh, sigh and even cheer out loud for their happiness. I loved their arguments as much as I loved their romantic gestures, and I couldn’t wait to read the next scene as soon as the one I was reading was over. As mentioned before, for me the mystery was secondary in the sense that it existed to allow the romance to be built, but I also liked the way it was written. Even if there was no surprise in the end, I enjoyed every step taken by these characters to solve the mystery because every scene was beautifully written, entertaining and surprising. The reader may know who did it, but he never knows what will come next in the investigation. The writing in The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart is excellent as it made me visualize every scene and every character. This was the first time I read anything from Nancy Cambell Allen but it will certainly not be the last. Summing up, The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart is an entertaining mystery where the romance takes a predominant role and will captivate most readers. The main characters are enticing, and the secondary make the reader want to see a sequel. I highly recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    A Victorian murder mystery! This is the first book that I have read by this author and it completely captivated me. I felt immersed in the time period and loved following the intriguing investigation into a man who seemed like a grieving widower simply searching for a new love to heal his broken heart. Right from the beginning, it was clear that Detective Michael Baker felt that Mr. Radcliffe may have been involved in his wife’s demise. It was interesting to watch as he, with the help of Amelie H A Victorian murder mystery! This is the first book that I have read by this author and it completely captivated me. I felt immersed in the time period and loved following the intriguing investigation into a man who seemed like a grieving widower simply searching for a new love to heal his broken heart. Right from the beginning, it was clear that Detective Michael Baker felt that Mr. Radcliffe may have been involved in his wife’s demise. It was interesting to watch as he, with the help of Amelie Hampton, began an undercover operation to find anything that could indicate that Mr. Radcliffe was guilty. Amelie began the story as a smart career woman, yet she was definitely still very innocent in the way she viewed men. She saw only the outward appearance and the veneer that Mr. Radcliffe wore. It was satisfying to see her eyes begin to open to things that did not add up. There was a light and gentle romance that grew throughout the pages between Michael and Amelie. It was just the right amount of romance for the story to provide a solid connection between the two and heighten the emotion and danger they found themselves in. I enjoyed this novel from start to finish. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  29. 5 out of 5

    ColleenIsBooked

    The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart was a fun, sweet romance with a twisty mystery. I enjoyed Amalie and Michael as our couple. They are super cute together and it was nice to see Amalie struggling and Coming to terms with her feelings. I do feel like the “I love yous” could have waited a bit longer, but it was a really nice scene. Though we know the answer to the mystery relatively early in the book, I liked that we got to follow them connecting the dots and figuring out the motives. I would recommen The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart was a fun, sweet romance with a twisty mystery. I enjoyed Amalie and Michael as our couple. They are super cute together and it was nice to see Amalie struggling and Coming to terms with her feelings. I do feel like the “I love yous” could have waited a bit longer, but it was a really nice scene. Though we know the answer to the mystery relatively early in the book, I liked that we got to follow them connecting the dots and figuring out the motives. I would recommend this historical mystery/romance. *Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    Where to begin with this one. I didn’t even read the full synopsis before I started this book. I LOVE Nancy Campbell Allen’s steam punk proper romance series and knew I needed to read this one. Whoa! This book is so fun, and so different. This book MUST be on your fall read list. It’s a little bit spooky and a little bit terrifying in such a fun suspenseful way! This book kept me up turning pages, but still let me sleep once I finished. If you have read the steampunk series it’s maybe a tiny bit Where to begin with this one. I didn’t even read the full synopsis before I started this book. I LOVE Nancy Campbell Allen’s steam punk proper romance series and knew I needed to read this one. Whoa! This book is so fun, and so different. This book MUST be on your fall read list. It’s a little bit spooky and a little bit terrifying in such a fun suspenseful way! This book kept me up turning pages, but still let me sleep once I finished. If you have read the steampunk series it’s maybe a tiny bit more suspenseful than those, but just as AMAZING. Amelie is so funny. I imagine I would be just like her if I found myself placed in the middle of a murder mystery. I love that she relies on what she has learned from reading. Again, she handles things just as I would. It’s humorous and adds a nice balance to the suspense. Michael Baker is a great grumpy hero! His exasperation with Amelie really sold this book for me. It was perfect! This book twists and turns that it almost felt like a historical version of the board game Clue. If you like suspense, romance and comic relief you should definitely check out this book! There are murders involved in this book, but not explained in great detail. On a scale of 1 to hunger games (10), it’s possibly a 1.5. This is an excellent, excellent book and will now be part of my yearly fall lineup! Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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