The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart Summary
Lonely Hearts columnist Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic. As part of her job answering letters at The Marriage Gazette, Amelie decides to play matchmaker with two anonymous letter writers. When she decides to secretly observe the blind date, she discovers, much 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.
The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart Review
Nancy Campbell Allen has long been one of my favorite Proper Romance authors. In addition to her Steampunk fairy tale retellings, her heroines are strong, independent women. The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart is no exception.
In addition to being an incurable romantic, Amelie Hampton is by turns brave and reckless, sometimes simultaneously, and not always practical. After some critical scene setting, Amelie runs headlong—almost literally—into her first scrape with the law. She quickly manages to insert herself, along with her two equally bold and independent female cousins, into a possible murder investigation.
While set in Victorian London, this story feels in many ways much more modern, with what may or may not be a couple subtle anachronisms. While they made me wonder (though not enough to actually ferret them out), they did not detract from the story, but for me gave our main characters a progressive feel.
Ms. Campbell’s descriptive writing goes far beyond physical settings to help you feel the tone of the story and the personalities of the characters. She is masterful at building suspense, both through unexpected plot twists, and the addition of secondary characters who are intriguing enough to draw your attention and allow her a little literary magic.
The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart is a fun and suspenseful escape from everyday life. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a suspenseful mystery with a dose of clean romance.
About the Author
Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of many Proper Romance novels, including Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, Kiss of the Spindle, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower, and Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts. You can find my other reviews of her books here.She has been a speaker at numerous writing conferences and events. She has a degree in elementary education and is the mother of three children.
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