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Publisher's Summary

"Fans of the Parish Orphans of Devon series will adore this final installment, reuniting the orphans and their loves." (Library Journal, starred review)

A USA Today best seller

She needed to be seen...

As a lady's companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that's precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it's far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a monthlong holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she'd hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He wanted to be heard...

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady's companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

©2020 Mimi Matthews (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Winter Companion

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Love story

Greyfriar’s Abby, Devon, Southwest England
1860s
Main characters:
Neville Cross: Suffered a brain injury, leaving a slowness of speech, lives on Justin's estate
Clara Hartwright: Forthright, small, lovely lady's companion
Bertie: An ancient pug belonging to Clara's last employer who passed
Childhood friends, some separated for 20 years:
Justin Thornhill, owner of the story's Greyfriar's Abby estate
Tom, a lawyer
Alex, a world-traveling gambler

An accident playing on nearby cliffs with his friends left Neville, then eleven, with a traumatic brain injury affecting his speech. He was separated from his friends for a lengthy recovery at a convent and remained there while his friends grew up and left the orphanage. Sixteen years later, as an adult, Justin retrieved Neville and brought him to his home to live. But, acting as a gentleman where socializing meant speaking to people was far too difficult, so Neville's joy was being in the stables with horses that had fewer social expectations.

At a sizable gathering where all the childhood friends were reunited to celebrate the Christmas holidays, Neville was left even more speechless by the tiny and beautiful Clara Hartwright, Mrs. Bainbridge's companion. Clara's objective in finding him that day was to see if her pug, Bertie, could stay in the stables. And this began the most unique friendship.

Observations:

Women of this era were often demure, quiet and had no aspirations of an education. It was refreshing that Clara was open, honest, asked poignant questions, enjoyed animals and the outdoors, and desired an education desperately.

The honesty in this book was refreshing! Characters that actually spoke their hearts and asked questions intended to seek truth! I loved it.

The main characters of this series were the orphan boys, now grown men, yet only women are on the covers. 🤔

For a secular book it was amazingly clean, but I guess many Victorian Regency books are like that. There were a few substitute swears using "devil" and "drat", but those don’t bother me at all. Those just let me know the author was working hard to keep it safe for all ages.

Like the previous book I read by this author the hero had a fairly serious physical flaw, but the heroine looked beyond that to their character and gave them their gift of acceptance and love.

As for the romance, oh my. I had to listen to the chapter before the epilogue three times because it was — what's a better word for poignant? It’s overused and I need a more descriptive word for that chapter. Well, anyway, it was that. Possibly because the narrator was that wonderful, or possibly because the chapter was just that sigh-worthy. For whatever reason....sigh.....😁

Delightful book I can highly recommend.

This narrator has a unique voice. I often wondered if his throat was sore after he finished reading it as it seemed low, quiet and a bit strained. But really, really good. Just different.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved the whole Parish Orphans series

Aaawe, this was such a sweet ending to the series. I will try not to give away any spoilers....
I fell in love with each of the Parish Orphans; Justin, Tom, Alex, and now Neville! A gentle giant, almost too dear and sweet to be true. ;-) Handsome and strong, protective and gentle, kind to animals, I mean, come on, what’s not to love?! I wanted a little more of the background and inner workings of Neville’s mind and heart because I just felt so fond of him before even getting to his story (since book 1)
The romance in this book was sweetly uncomplicated, (not as intense, passionate and fraught with drama as Helena and Justin’s story) though both Neville and Clara had their own set of obstacles to overcome to find their HEA. Their miscommunications were surprisingly easily overcome considering Neville’s speech difficulties, they were just so compatible and well suited to one another, and both rather guileless. Sweet is the word I keep using but it sums it up. Couldn’t give the book less than 5 stars as I’ve just developed such a fondness for all the characters in this series and of course I love Mimi Matthews’ writing! And Alex Wyndham is always in my top list of favorite male narrators, well done!

4 people found this helpful

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Dull, uneventful story :(

A gently moving, character-driven romance between two perfectly "nice" people with little conflict, past secrets that were easy to guess and which was, in the end, rather dull and unevenful. I appreciated the author's attention to detail and her grasp of the history and traditions of the period, but I'm afraid I was bored.

Also - what has happened to Alex Wyndham?! This is the second of his narrations I've listened to lately (the last one was the previous book in this series) and he's adopted this weird kind of "half-whisper" for narrative and character voices that means these recent narrations are not a patch on some of his earlier work on books by Lucinda Brant and Stella Riley. I hope it's just a passing phase.

2 people found this helpful

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Very Sweet Story

Neville Cross's story is so very sweet. Because this is the end of the series, I wish that the epilogue was longer and maybe had more of a storyline on each of the Parish orphans. I have a sense that even though they have gone their separate ways, they will be integral to each other and maybe their offspring will marry within the orphan's family. My favorite storyline is Justin and Helena's. My favorite couple is Alex and Laura. Hate to see the end.

Alex Wyndham does an excellent job. But that is what one expects of him anyway.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful ending to the series

Ms Matthews continues the series by developing a blossoming love amidst grief and fear from the past, as well as the judgements of even the couple’s closest friends. I loved Clara and Neville as a couple. Again, I’m not crazy about the narration, but found it a little less disconcerting because Mr Wyndham did a credible performance of Neville. This production easily earned 5 stars from me. I highly recommend the series.

1 person found this helpful

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Neville is the best of men

A story that tugs at the heart ❤️ Neville is, as Justin says, the best of men. He is an example of kindness and integrity in spite of a life marked by early cruelty and adversity. Would that we had more real-life examples in this angry world. However, all four of these former orphans (and their wives) are wonderful examples of rising above circumstance. I’m sad to have the series end and plan to savor these beautifully written books over again many times. (If one cannot enjoy reading a book over again, there’s no use reading it at all. -Oscar Wilde), and this book is very much worth reading/listening to over again. As always, Alex Wyndham provides a stellar performance! Thank you, Mimi. Looking forward to the next journey. 😍

1 person found this helpful

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Good ending to a good series

I enjoyed all the books in this series and this book was a nice ending to the series. It felt a little serious at times but I think it needed to be because of who the characters were. Definitely read the other books before this one otherwise you'll be missing out.

Mimi Matthews is a must read and Alex Wyndham is always great to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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Lovely ending to the series

What a delightful way to end the parish orphans series. The descriptions of the moors makes me want to go there and see where Neville took his ponies.

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LOVED IT!

Another outstanding book by Mimi Matthews! This fourth book in the Orphans of Devon series was just as great as the first three. I loved them all! And the narration by Alex Wyndham was just as wonderful as always. 10/10!

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Sweet and poignant

My second favorite book of the Parish Orphans series, so moving with a satisfying HEA. I love how Mimi Matthews portrays Neville's internal struggles as he cannot express himself as well as he'd like. I was worried initially that his disability would take away from him as a likable male hero, but I can say with 110% certainty that it only added a nice layer of vulnerability atop the "strong & silent" man.
Just the right amount of misunderstandings and unsaid feelings to get those elusive butterflies :) Lovely performance by Alex Wyndham as usual.

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  • Susan
  • 06-19-20

Sweet Sweet story

Love this book, I have listened to this a couple of times.It is such a sweet story of two souls that come together.
Alex Wyndhams narration is perfect and I can listen to his voice for a long time.

He goes from one character to another with ease, all very real.

I have given 5 stars everywhere and would gladly encourage anyone who loves romance to give this story a go and if you like this try the other three stories about the orphans of Devon.

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  • Morgan Window
  • 05-08-20

My goodness what a sweet ending to a series

Bar none the best in the series, and probably rivals my other favourite by MM’s The Work of Art. There was such an intense sweetness that MM conveyed throughout that I felt on the verge of tears almost the entire time. I especially liked that the story was no melodramatic or complicated. There was no great twist or some villain. It was just, simply, a love story. I loved that.

Neville and Clara are wonderful, and it was so satisfying to see all four orphans together and happy.

Can’t wait to see what Matthews and Wyndham do together next.

1 person found this helpful

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  • joomla girl
  • 03-28-21

My favourite of the series

Wonderful storyline - such a perfect end to the series - heartily recommend :) Mimi and Alex - the perfect pair!

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  • Book addict
  • 01-09-21

Best one of the series

I really enjoyed this one, and much more than the earlier books in the series. The Work of Art and Gentleman Jim by this author are great listens too, if you’re looking for inspiration.

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  • Coconut
  • 05-15-20

Beautiful, gentle love story

What a lovely ending to the series. Beautifully narrated by Alex Wyndham. I only wish he had narrated the first in the series as they are stories I could listen to again and again but I found the narrator of the first book utterly dreadful and although I loved the story I couldn't listen to it again.

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  • RomanticFool
  • 05-17-20

Thoroughly Enjoyable

What an unexpected joy this story was. I can easily recommend it to those who enjoy a historical romance. The main two characters were refreshingly different and the narrator did a wonderful job of Neville's impediment. Loved it 5/5.