Book Review

ARC Review: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for an ARC.


If you know from the get-go who the murderer is, is it really considered a mystery? Asking for a friend.

Besides that flaw, the beginning started off well enough. I didn’t mind the hero or heroine. The set-up was something I haven’t read before in a Victorian romance so sure! Call me interested. The further things went on the more and more I really couldn’t stand the heroine, Amelie. I think the impression was supposed to come off as strong-willed and capable, but all I saw was a woman in over her head that couldn’t follow basic instructions. Cue a few eye rolls. Michael was the lone savior of the story. I liked his dynamic and POV chapters. I love that his job was a detective and how he pursued the truth.

I found myself intensely skimming the last half because everything was TOO predictable. And based off of the title I thought the story would be a bit different. They didn’t match one another very well. So yes, this book was fine, but not one I’m going to remember.

Overall audience notes:

  • Victorian Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, murder of a pregnant woman, physical altercations, near drowning

NANCY CAMPBELL ALLEN is the award-winning author of eighteen published novels and several novellas, which encompass a variety of genres, ranging from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. Her most recent books, which include Regency, Victorian, and steampunk romance, are published under Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance brand, and the What Happens in Venice novella series is part of the Timeless Romance Anthology collection published by Mirror Press. She has presented at numerous conferences and events since her initial publication in 1999. Nancy loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time with family and friends. She nurtures a current obsession for true crime podcasts and is a news junkie. She and her husband have three children, and she lives in Ogden, Utah, with her family, one very large Siberian Husky named Thor, and an obnoxious but endearing Yorkie-Poo named Freya.

Instagram || Goodreads

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