The Words Shimmer by Jenn Matthews

(6 customer reviews)

$9.99 / E-BOOK

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Read an excerpt here: pdf | epub

Author: Jenn Matthews


A sweet, lesbian romance about growing something unexpected and wonderful from the roots up.

Yorkshire anatomy lecturer Ruby Clark considers her life low-maintenance. She teaches at the local university, has two well-behaved teenage daughters, and what she doesn’t know about human anatomy isn’t worth knowing. Unfortunately, that knowledge doesn’t stretch to plants, and she’s been asked to help out on a school garden project.


Being a paramedic doesn’t do Melissa Jackson’s back or knees any favours, so she’s looking into university courses to try a less strenuous line of her work. But the brash, proudly out, down-to-earth woman’s biggest challenge is keeping her dyslexia a secret. That, and living down the stigma that follows her when people find out.


A university open day throws the two women into each other’s orbits. When Mel, an expert green thumb, makes a few helpful suggestions on Ruby’s garden project, Ruby convinces her to team up to make it a success.


Personality-wise, they couldn’t be less compatible. Mel’s brazen attitude, cocky jokes, and affinity with earthworms immediately rub the hyper-professional, straight-laced Ruby the wrong way. Can they ever find common ground?



Additional information

Publication Date

August 2019


epub (for Kindle Reader/Kindle Apps, for iBooks, Nook etc.), mobi, and pdf


80,000 words




978-3-96324-244-1 (mobi), 978-3-96324-245-8 (epub), 978-3-96324-246-5 (pdf)


Ylva Publishing

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6 reviews for The Words Shimmer by Jenn Matthews

  1. Betty Harmon


    I have mixed feelings about The Words Shimmer by Jenn Matthews. I did enjoy reading the book, and there are quite a few elements that I like. However, if you asked me to choose between this novel and Ms. Matthews’ first book, Hooked on You, I would have to pick her debut novel as my favorite.

    The Words Shimmer does have some really good qualities. It is a character driven tale which is one of my favorite types of books. The two main characters, Ruby Clark and Melissa (Mel) Jackson are both mature women in their forties which, for me, is refreshing. I loved the fact that the author made these two almost a lesbian Odd Couple. Ruby is very prim and proper, who likes everything to be in its place at all times. She is also a very private person. Mel is almost the complete opposite, being very open and out there with a “take me as I am or leave me alone” type of personality. This is a great conflict element, and I wish the author had used it more in the story. It seemed to become less noticeable as the story progressed, though it did not completely disappear.

    I admired that the author included a disability in the plot. Mel has dyslexia, and this is something she wants to hide from Ruby and others, even though she has done well in her life in spite of it. Both main and secondary characters are well-developed, and are easy to connect with. The slow-burn romance is really too slow in this novel. The story actually dragged for me after a while, and I think this was part of the problem. Despite this, I did like this book overall, and will definitely be looking for more from this author.

    I received this as an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

  2. Karola


    ***free ARC
    Ruby and Mel met in the cafeteria of the University and didn’t like each other at all. A few months later they met again while Mel needs help with her crutches and broken leg and Ruby, as a nurse is always trying to help, is there to offer it. Their connection starts from that moment and is getting stronger by the week. The disability Jenn Matthews describes (dyslexia) is sure a tough one, nothing a normal reader can imagine. But I sometimes wished for, I don’t know, something more in the dialogues, descriptions?
    All in all a good book.

  3. petra


    I liked this book because it is a little different. A realistic opposites attract romance. Both Ruby and Mel are likeable well developed characters who slowly make their way from an initially reluctant friendship to romance. They both have normal everyday jobs and have to work through issues and hangups (mainly Ruby). The storyline is interesting and Ruby and Mel have plenty to work through as they join forces for a school garden project.
    The school children, Ruby’s daughters and one of her students add another layer, humour and depth to the story.
    I received an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  4. Miira


    Ruby, a university lecturer, is roped into a gardening project with young school kids. She’s the opposite of a green thumb. Mel, a down-to-earth paramedic, would be an ideal partner for the project but Ruby and Mel are complete opposites and don’t like each other.

    In the mix: some prejudice, dyslexia (what’s that got to do with anything? read and find out), relatable situations with children and older students and – wow.

    Super entertaining but also thought-provoking read, this is a slow-burn romance peppered with interesting facts; I could hardly put it down!

  5. payanke_



    That’s in exchange of an honest review that I received an ARC of Jenn Matthews’s « The Words Shimmer » from Ylva Publishing …
    Thank you for providing me this book. It’s the 1st time I read Jenn Matthews’s work.

    My rating : 3 ⭐️

    So, here is what I have to say about this discovery …

    The story focuses on Melissa « Mel » Jackson’s a forty-seven year old paramedic and Ruby Clark, a forty-two year old nurse and anatomy lecturer at the university where Mel’s looking into courses to try a less strenuous line of her work. They meet during a university open day in July but don’t see each other again before 3 months have passed. One morning, Ruby helps Mel who struggles to exit a taxi because of her casted leg and, then, stays with her going through the Uni campus to reach the building where Mel takes her Masters courses… The uni develops some projects to help some charities. Ruby being late to the unexpected staff meeting because of the hand she gave Mel, she now has for mission to lead a garden project for young school kids whereas she doesn’t know a single thing in this field and says she doesn’t even like children… At the end of the same day, the women meet again by chance in a pub. Ruby explains Mel what’s bothering her. Mel is quite an expert green thumb &, after she made a few helpful suggestions on Ruby’s garden project, Ruby convinces her to team up to make it a success …

    The Pros :
    ° the British settings … It’s good to be back in the UK for a while.
    ° 2 mature MCs over 40 (47 and 42) without a perfect toned body, including one who’s edging on the throes of menopause …
    ° A MC (+ a secondary character) with dyslexia, which is the most common « learning disability ». I liked the way the author allowed us to learn some things about this trouble.
    ° some interesting secondary characters.
    ° the author’s good humour …

    The Cons :
    ° the confusing cover … the picture on it gives the idea that the novel is a medical drama (more paramedic oriented since it’s written « ambulance » on the work clothes), BUT, even if both the MCs are medical professionals (one is, indeed a paramedic and the other one a nurse who also lectures anatomy at uni), it’s not a medical romance, at all … It’s more a teacher/student one.
    ° the confusing and changing tropes chosen by the author about Ruby and Mel’s relationship … Ruby has a Ice Queen side when they 1st met so we could think this trope would be followed in the same time than the « enemies-to-lovers » one. BUT, in the end it’s the « friends-to-lovers » genre which wins the trope battle … All this makes the relationship quite unbelievable the way it is told right now. Why ??? => Because it’s disturbing (usually the trope last all the novel long) + there isn’t enough drama between all those phases to allow us to understand the changes : one day they hate each other, and the « next » they go on a date (nope, not a date, they say !!!) and become « friends ». + Personally, I didn’t really feel a lot of natural chemistery between them … so when the emotional « love related » moments come, it doesn’t feel right.
    ° the lack of the MC’s real background. Not knowing a lot about them doesn’t help when it comes to like and/or feel for them … it could have been great to have some intense medical work scenes for both of them … On Ruby’s side it’d have helped to show her human side (so helped the reader to « connect » with her) and on Mel’s side, it’d have helped to see why her back and knees could appreciate a less physical job and (mostly) witness her daily struggle because of her dyslexia.
    ° important topics like dyslexia, homophobia and bullying are mentioned in the novel but I think they weren’t treated with enough depth….There’s no real drama. Maybe it’s because there were too many things the author wanted to cover in the same time … too many subjects … so, we just have a snippet of each whereas, from my POV, it’s an intense dose which would have been required. Here are the points where, I think, being bolder by adding some real development would have allow the author to make a stronger and way more mature story. :
    = > we don’t see Mel struggling whereas she takes some heavy courses at the uni, while still working full time (once she’s out of her cast and back to work, of course). Tiredness is not known to be helpful, emotions either… I think that Mel’s « peculiar » journey should have been one of the main focal points of the novel. It would have given the title of the book a lot of more sense…
    = > we don’t really get how « wise » Ruby can miss, during a so long period of time, the fact that Francesca struggles and why, she never excluded the turbulent student from her lecture : it doesn’t make sense to me … + doing such a thing could have been a good start point to help Francesca + having some real brainstorming would have helped the MCs to come closer to one another.
    = > More confrontations between Ruby & Mel and the homophobic bully teacher would have been great : Mel should have stand more to show her pride of being gay (creating a bit more drama in the relationship … to make it more believable) … Ruby should have stood by the kids, even more when they were clearly bullied by their teacher. It would have shown another aspect of her humanity and helped the resolution of the problem because it could have shown the dean that her staff follow the Uni policy no matter what …
    = > the resolution of the bigot problem on the Uni & kids’ school side was too smooth. I think this issue should have been developed ‘cause bigots are a real threat for the kids …

    ° the style … I found there were a lot of monologues, thoughts, etc coming from Mel (a bit less coming from Ruby). Because of this (even if I still prefer the 3rd-person narration), I think that, maybe, the author should have narrated the novel in the1st-person, in Mel’s POV … this way all the internal « debates » would have been a part of her narration and made the story more fluent. It would also have been a great way to connect to the character and help us to understand what she lives daily because of her dyslexia (and her battle to keep her trouble a secret). All this would have even been better with the above-mentioned development suggestions.
    ° the surprising moment chosen by the author to inform the reader about one of the MCs is edging on the throes of menopause … and the clinical aspect of the lovemaking which followed. I confess that’s it’s a turn-off just after the tender moment shared by the MCs.
    ° 2 surprising mistakes which, yet, are obvious & a couple of other lil things (the publisher will be informed about all this, of course …)
    ° the lack of a proper epilogue.

    If I had to make a very short and quite different version of my review, it’d be something like this :
    – Did I enjoy this book? => Yes and no… it had a lot of potential but a lot of things weren’t developed enough.
    – Did I find the characters believable? => Not completely …
    – Is this book now included in my « must be re-read »-list? => Maybe someday
    – Will I purchase the paperback? => Maybe someday
    – Would I read another book by this author? => Yes … I just hope the author will be bolder and develop more the important topics in her next books …
    – Would I recommend this book => Yes … because people will judge by themselves.

    Guys and gals, now it’s your turn … So … Grab your own copy and make your own opinion …

    Enjoy (or not) your reading …


  6. stephasselin


    Mel Jackson is a paramedic. She is attending a class to perfect and expend her line of work.
    Ruby Clark is a teacher at the same school. Their cold first meeting was a pure hazard, leading them to dread having to work together.

    As much as I usually love Jenn Matthews’s work, I feel like this one wasn’t up to the standard I was expecting since I’ve read Hooked on You. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the story and its character, but I do feel like there was something missing. There was a lot of great subjects touched in the book, like dyslexia, and homophobia, which I found very interesting to see and read about in this novel. The writing is as good as her other book is.

    The main character’s chemistry, once it builds up enough, is impressive (at least after their first meeting was horrible).

    Overall, this book is worth reading. I do believe I didn’t find it as good as I planned because I wasn’t ‘’in it’’ emotionally while I read it. I will give it another try later this year when my head is more relaxed and not as filled with everything filling it when I read it.



    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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