REVIEW of The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews (BLOG TOUR)

 

Publication Date: January 11, 2022

About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library JournalPublishers Weekly, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. To learn more, please visit MimiMatthews.com

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MY REVIEW

Evelyn Maltravers has come to London aware that she can only afford to have one season and that she needs to make the most of it. While she would easily be outshone in the ballroom, her best asset is her horsewomanship (pretend that that’s a word). To accentuate her equestrian skills, she needs a riding habit with style and panache. She needs a riding habit to die for. She needs a riding habit made by London’s most up-and-coming tailor, Ahmad Malik.

Ahmad Malik first gained his talent with a needle while working as a doorman at one of London’s seediest brothels. Tall, strong, handsome, and half-Indian, Ahmad doesn’t fit into the world of either his dead mother or his unknown father. It’s an uphill battle to achieve recognition for his avant-garde Victorian designs, but when a group of high class courtesans known as the Pretty Horsebreakers commission riding habits from him, he catches the attention of a few society women. Sought out by Evelyn Maltravers, Ahmad realizes that she has the figure, the flair, and the enterprise to bring his work into vogue.

The creative process of the design and fitting of the new habits puts Ahmad and Evelyn in close quarters. As Evelyn comes to learn more about Ahmad’s world, she is drawn to him like a lodestone. But to lose her heart to a half-Indian tailor would be to fail in her mission to make a wealthy marriage, a marriage that can provide seasons for her younger sisters and security for herself. Ahmad’s own ambitions are similarly threatened by the growing attraction between them–Evelyn Maltravers, the darling of society, is in a position to advance his career in a way that Evelyn Malik, the wife of an immigrant tailor would never be able to do.

As the romantic tension between the two increases, all the things that stand in the way of a happily ever after–race, class, Evelyn’s family, Ahmad’s ambitions–pile together to make a seemingly insurmountable difficulty. But in the end, our hero and heroine find a way to demolish the obstacles together. The plot is a skillful unfolding of character as Ahmad and Evelyn learn to know and love each other in a way that still allows them to be true to their other obligations.

Mimi Matthews writes highly emotional and passionate romance, but without the sexual content found in most recent romances. This is probably the most sensual book in her canon, whether due to being picked up by a new publisher, or due to the fact that it is about a gentleman tailor fitting clothes for a lady, but it still fits the category of clean romance.

This book is the first in a new Mimi Matthews series called Belles of London. I assumed at first that it was an entirely new venture, but I was delighted to discover that it also ties into her previous series, Parish Orphans of Devon, where Ahmad was a supporting character in Jenny and Finchley’s travels to India. Readers of sweet and swoon-worthy romances will be delighted with The Siren of Sussex and wondering when the next title will arrive. Soon, please?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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“She had no intention of throwing her hat over the windmill. There was Hephaestus to consider. And her little sisters, too. They were more than obligations; they were as essential to Evelyn’s happiness as Ahmad was himself. She wouldn’t forsake one to have the other. What she needed was a new plan….”

– The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Blog Tour Schedule

The Siren of Sussex is on blog tour from Jan. 10-30. Check out these reviews at other literary blogs around the interwebs.

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)

 

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rosanne. Mimi is such a talented writer. I have read many of the reviews you wrote of her previous books and always appreciate your insights. I adored the heroine and her riding friends, who will all have their own novels. We can look forward to the next in the series, The Belle of Belgrave Square which will be about Julia. October can’t come fast enough for me to read the next one!

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