Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Matchmaker's Rogue by Regina Scott

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Matchmaker's Rogue
(Grace-by-the-Sea #1)
By Regina Scott
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 272 Pages
January 8th 2020

Grace-by-the-Sea: Where romance and adventure come home.

Polished Jesslyn Chance has one of the most enviable positions in the little Regency coastal village of Grace-by-the-Sea. She is the hostess of the spa, arranging introductions and entertainments and playing matchmaker to the ladies and gentlemen who come to take the waters, promenade through the shops, and dance at the assembly. But when a rogue returns from her past, Jess finds herself suddenly at sea.

Always an adventurer, Larkin Denby left Grace-by-the-Sea to right the wrongful death of his father. Now he’s back on a mission: to identify the mysterious Lord of the Smugglers who allegedly sails from Grace Cove and takes England’s secrets to France. But Grace-by-the-Sea is the perfect little spa town, run by the still oh-so-perfect Jesslyn Chance. When the village’s future is threatened, Jess must work with Lark to solve the mystery and protect the town’s own. In doing so, the matchmaker of Grace-by-the-Sea may just find that the best match for her is the rogue who stole her heart years ago.

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My thoughts

Whether it’s historical or Regency romance, Regina Scott always delivers an entertaining, solid story. Regencies are a strong suit for her, however, and I loved The Matchmaker’s Rogue, which begins a new series set on the Dorset coast.

The year is 1804, during the Napoleonic Wars, the setting is the idyllic town of Grace-by-the-Sea, a quaint coastal village built around the healing mineral waters of a local spa, and whose very name calls to me. There’s a perfect blend of history, romance, mystery, and humor,  with the action being steady rather than fast paced – which I loved, as it gave me time to know the characters well. Certain aspects of this story, such as the Dorset setting and smuggling theme, reminded me of the writing of one of my favorite gothic romance authors, Victoria Holt.

Lark and Jess are appealing lead characters, so easy to connect with. Jess, who finds fulfillment in helping others, is an ideal hostess for the spa and its guests. She has a natural feel for people, and uses that intuitiveness to arrange friendships and sometimes even courtships … “On any given day, she kept as many as three dozen people healthy and happy.” Yet for all her interaction with people, at times she seemed to be the type of person who finds themselves alone in a crowded room. Lark, who grew up in the area and cares for Jess, returns after eight years with the assignment of capturing a smuggling ring suspected of operating out of Grace-by-the-Sea. Memories resurface for both of them, with Jess sensing that “Lark was a storm cloud on the horizon, promising wind, rain, an upset to conditions.” I loved the sweet romance and chemistry between them, as Lark found the home he didn’t realize he’d been missing.

The Matchmaker’s Rogue is filled with charming and sometimes quirky secondary characters. I adored Jess’s aunt, Maudie, and always felt her folklore allusions to trolls, mermaids, fairies, etc., might hold a little truth. In addition to the criminal element of smuggling, there’s also the concern of spies and passing of England’s secrets to Napoleon. The author skillfully aroused this reader’s suspicion of almost all of Grace-by-the-Sea residents, including the local vicar, magistrate, and even Jess’s own brother. There’s also some interesting history involved in the political aspects of the conscripting of soldiers and the value of small-town militias.

The ending arrives at a very satisfying conclusion, with the village coming together in a unique way. Very little is quite as it seems on the surface! I hated to leave Grace-by-the-Sea and its many endearing characters, but there’s the promise of much more to come.


I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than forty-five published works of warm, witty romance.

She loves everything about England, so it was only a matter of time before she started her own village. Where more perfect than the gorgeous Dorset Coast? She can imagine herself sailing along the chalk cliffs, racing her horse across the Downs, dancing at the assembly, and even drinking the spa waters. She drank the waters in Bath, after all!

Regina Scott and her husband of 30 years reside in the Puget Sound area of Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. She has dressed as a Regency dandy, learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course. Learn more about her at her website.

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Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive print copies of all six books in Fortune's Brides series (Never Doubt a Duke, Never Borrow a Baronet, Never Envy an Earl, Never Vow for a Viscount, Never Kneel to a Knight, and Never Marry a Marquess)

US only
Ends January 29, 2020

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  1. Thank you for being part of the tour, Carole! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Maudie is one of my favorite characters too. :-)

    1. You've got a winner with this series, Regina. I loved everything about The Matchmaker's Rogue and hope there will be several more Grace-by-the-Sea stories.

  2. I can't believe this was a price that I could afford. It is now in my library. Thanks, Carole

  3. I love Historical romance so I’m sure I would love these. Thank you for sharing.