REVIEW of The Belle of Belgrave Square (Belles of London #2) by Mimi Matthews (BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY)


Publication Date: October 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 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, 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.



Julia Wychwood has led the life of an invalid for as long as she can remember. Her parents, obsessed with tonics and bedrest and bloodletting, refuse to let her live a normal life, and whenever her social anxiety causes her to seek solitude and a good book, she must then contend with the unsavory remedies of the family doctor.

Captain Jasper Blunt is in the market for an heiress. He has his sights set on the timid Julia Wychwood, but if his battle-scarred face doesn’t send her running, it’s possible that his rumored brood of illegitimate children or the desperate nature of his finances might do that very thing. Imagine his surprise when Julia is the one to propose marriage to him. In exchange for her freedom to live as she pleases, Julia will let him use her dowry to repair his ramshackle estate.

The marriage, however, is not quite the distant marriage of convenience as might be expected. Julia and Jasper seem to share similar tastes in–surprisingly enough–romance novels, and Julia discovers that Jasper is a far more sympathetic guardian to his “natural children” than she had anticipated. Yet even as Julia discovers Jasper’s kinder and gentler side, she also learns more about the atrocious acts he is accused of perpetrating on the battle front and begins to wonder what horrors lurk inside the closed study that he forbids anyone to enter? Can Julia reconcile these two versions of her new husband and discover the true person she is falling in love with?

A pastiche of classic tales like Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Bluebeard’s Wife, this story explores the blossoming romance of two people who do not fully understand the identity of the other with whom they have joined themselves in matrimony. The double life led by Jasper presents an intriguing mystery that keeps pages turning, and his willingness to rescue Julia through marriage (even when he thinks that her parents will strip her of all the money she has) leads the reader to hope that he’s not truly the beast that London society has painted him as.

Julia herself, although she enjoys horse riding, seems a much less active heroine than Evelyn Maltravers (from The Siren of Sussex). Her inner strength, however, is highlighted as she seeks to carve her own path in the world free from parental pressure and manipulation.

With the plot of the book hinging on some of the romance novels enjoyed by both hero and heroine, Mimi Matthews creates a sort of apologetic for her own genre of literature:

“Stories like the ones we read in novels help us understand the human condition,” he said. They teach us empathy. In that way, they’re more than an escape from the world. They’re an aid for living in the world. For being better, more compassionate people.”

Victorian historical curiosities like forced bloodletting, irregular marriage licenses, and contemporary novels add color and interest to the story as do the cameos of previous Mimi Matthew characters like (my personal favorite) Tom Finchley. One thing to note about this book is that the romantic scenes have become less “closed door” that in Mimi Matthews’ previous books, following the modern trend of showing more physical intimacy in romance novels. As usual, Mimi Matthews’ command of atmosphere, emotion, and period detail is exquisite, making this Gothic-style Victorian romance a pleasure to experience.

Keep reading till the end of this post for info on how to enter a GIVEAWAY of this book!

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.


“…you’ve been nothing but kind to me. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to see you this morning. I never got a chance to properly thank you for rescuing me last night.”

“That wasn’t a rescue. That was naught but a minor service.” Jasper’s eyes held hers, his voice dark with promise. “When I rescue you, Miss Wychwood, you’ll know it.”

– The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews


One lucky winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) will receives a paperback copy of The Belle of Belgrave Square, signed and annotated by the author with personal comments, underlining of her favorite lines, and other highlights by Mimi Matthews.

Giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 10/03/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 10/30/22.

The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog on 10/31/22.

Terms & Conditions:

Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. All information will remain confidential and will not be sold or otherwise used, except to notify the winner and to facilitate postage of the book to the winner. Void where prohibited.


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