Review: The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews

Mimi Matthews has been a long time auto-buy author for me. I’ve read all her books and have loved each and every one of them. Watching her author journey from early on has been so exciting and rewarding but in some ways sad. For me she was my best kept secret in the historical fiction genre and now the secret is out about how amazing she is with this big publishing house release!

Matthews is a master at creating realistic female characters with charming heroes that come together with electric chemistry. I have raved about her books to friends, family, and all over my social media! She’s amazing and I cannot wait for the masses to read this book. No secret, I adored it and read it in one sitting (which is often the case for all her books!).

If you are looking for a book to fill the Bridgerton sized hole in your life, then you need to pick this one up. I am also thrilled to see this one is the first in a new series for Matthews so I can come back and revisit this charming world and characters she has created. If you love historical romances and well drawn characters you need to read this book! Plus THAT COVER!!! I am in love with the cover, it adds such pizzaz and would make me snatch it right off the shelf!

Summary

Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.

Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.

But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts? (summary from Goodreads)

Review

When I heard this one as coming out, besides all the obvious things like I love Mimi Matthews and the cover, I loved that it was about a horsewoman! I grew up dreaming of riding to hounds through the English country side. In fact I rode only English hunters from childhood until adulthood. I knew I would love this book based on that alone! I was also intrigued to see how Matthews created a seemingly unconventional romance for the era. In this book Evelyn is ‘no great beauty’ and has little to offer in the marriage market but what she lacks in marriage appeal, she makes up for in horsemanship. So off she goes to London to try and secure her future in another way. Here she meets Ahmad who is half Indian. Right off the bat it’s clear this is going to be a very different Victorian romance, but I am 100% here for it!

Evelyn was expertly drawn and given enjoyable traits as well as a strong voice, but there was a vulnerability about her that I just loved and felt invested in. She was realistic and relatable as a main character. Ahmad was everything a romantic hero should be—-loving, open, and sincere. He had his own loneliness and it paired well with Evelyn’s. They both had this feeling of not belonging but yet belonging to each other. It was a gem of a novel. I just loved them together and watching their romance play out was so fun and the thing I love about Matthews is her romances are less about the erotic elements and more about the sensual sweetness. In my opinion there is something way more hot about a well done sweet romance than a graphic bodice ripper.

I loved this book on so many levels and I cannot wait to read more of the series. If you love historical romances—-GET THIS BOOK! It’s so good and Matthews is a joy to read. The other thing I should note, it the attention to historical details! Matthews has a substantial knowledge of Victorian fashion. I believe she has a whole book on it. The attention to the textile and fashion world in this book is top notch! She does an outstanding job explaining the industry and how dresses and outfits as well as other things were created during this time. It was a fascinating and entertaining history lesson! Don’t miss this one, it’s just so good and I am thrilled that this book is sure to bring new fans Matthew’s way!

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 336 pages

Published January 11th 2022 by Berkley

ISBN0593337131 (ISBN13: 9780593337134)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: historical fiction, historical romance, Victorian

Book Tour Stops

The Siren of Sussex Book Tour Schedule

Jan 10    Cogitations and Meditations (Review)

Jan 10    Heidi Reads (Review)

Jan 10    Reading is My Superpower (Review)

Jan 10    Austenprose (Review)

Jan 10    Eli’s Novel Reviews (Review)

Jan 10    Robin Loves Reading (Review)

Jan 11    Culturess (Review)

Jan 11    Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

Jan 11    Syrie James (Review)

Jan 11    Wishful Endings (Review)

Jan 12    Amanda’s Book Corner (Review)

Jan 12    Quill Ink (Review)

Jan 12    Relz Reviewz (Review)

Jan 13    Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

Jan 13    Roses are Blue (Review)

Jan 13    The Lit Bitch (Review)

Jan 14    History Lizzie (Review)

Jan 14    Life of Literature (Review)

Jan 14    My Bookish Bliss (Review)

Jan 15    The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review)

Jan 15    Books and Socks Rock (Review)

Jan 16    Heather Moll (Review)

Jan 16    The Bashful Bookworm (Review)

Jan 17    Eleanor Lynn (Review)

Jan 17    Bookworm Lisa (Review)

Jan 17    Novel’s Alive (Review)

Jan 18    The Calico Critic (Review)

Jan 18    Nerd by Nature (Review)

Jan 18    Bobs & Books (Review)

Jan 19    The Secret Victorianist (Review)

Jan 19    Savvy Verse & Wit (Interview)

Jan 19    Captivated Reading (Review)

Jan 20    Vesper’s Place (Review)

Jan 20    Nurse Bookie (Review)

Jan 20    A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

Jan 21    Clarissa Harwood (Review)

Jan 21    Library of Clean Reads (Review)

Jan 21    Bonnie Reads and Writes (Review)

Jan 21    Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)

Jan 22    The Literature Chick Book Blog (Review)

Jan 22    Red Headed Book Lady (Review)

Jan 23    Inkwell Inspirations (Review)

Jan 23    Stacy’s Books (Review)

Jan 24    Elizabeth Mahon (Interview)

Jan 24    Jocelyne Reads Romance (Review)

Jan 24    One Book More (Review)

Jan 24    Lady with a Quill (Review)

Jan 24    From Pemberley to Milton (Review)

Jan 25    Confessions of a Book Addict (Review)

Jan 25    Stephanie Barron (Review)

Jan 25    Laura’s Reviews (Review)

Jan 25    Reading with Emily (Review)

Jan 26    Bringing Up Books (Review)

Jan 26    A Darn Good Read (Review)

Jan 26    Lis Loves Reading (Review)

Jan 27    My Vices and Weaknesses (Review)

Jan 27    Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Review)

Jan 27    Lu Reviews Books (Review)

Jan 28    The Reading Frenzy (Interview)

Jan 28    View from the Birdhouse (Review)

Jan 28    Austenesque Reviews (Review)

Jan 28    By the Book (Review)

Jan 29    Cup of Tea with that Book Please (Review)

Jan 29    Chicks, Rogues, & Scandals (Review)

Jan 29    Rosanne Lortz (Review)

Jan 30    Charlotte Brentwood (Review)

Jan 30    Leah Garriott (Review)

Jan 30    Just Another Teen Reading Books (Review)

Jan 30    Literary Time Out (Review)

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