Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Sylvia Stafford is quite content working as a governess for two young girls in a middle class home. But that hadn’t always been her life. She was brought up in the upper class society, where young ladies sought marriages of privilege. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you looked at it, she fell in love with a second son of a wealthy earl. As the second son, Sebastian had no means to support a young lady in the style to which she was accustomed, his salary and life as a military man not being enough to meet with her father’s approval. Her father wanted her to marry money, to help him recover from his growing gambling debts. When she didn’t oblige, he took his own life and left Sylvia, quite literally, to fend for herself. She had written to Sebastian while he served in India, but her letters never reached him. So many questions confronted the two, making them challenge their beliefs and their right to resume a love that they thought they had lost.
Mimi Matthews’ novel, The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance, is a classic story of love lost and reignited and the complicated scenarios that come between the two young lovers. And, in the centre of the rising conflict, a letter Sylvia wrote in which she declares her undying love for Sebastian. This letter, the lost letter, never reached Sebastian. It is a mystery to both Sylvia and Sebastian until they realize that their plans to keep in touch had been thwarted by the one man Sylvia had loved and trusted the most; her father. The plot develops steadily, all centered on unknowns that ultimately lead back to this letter. Considerable back story is inserted effectively to provide the reader with a sense of what happened before and how it affects the characters in the present. A charming read.