Blog Tour Book Review: The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

I’m so pleased to be on the book tour for The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews. This is a wonderful historical romance with great characters and a compelling love story. Let’s check it out!



About the Book:

Title: The Siren of Sussex

Author: Mimi Matthews

Series: Belles of London #1

Page Length: 336

Publication Date: Jan. 11, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis: 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?

PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS


My Review:

In this first book in the Belles of London series, Evelyn Maltravers comes to London in search of a husband. More skilled on a horse than in a ballroom, Evie needs a tailor who can design eye-catching riding habits, which is how she meets Ahmad Malik. Ahmad is a talented dressmaker who designed beautiful riding habits for some notable courtesans. So, when he meets Evie, Ahmad sees the perfect opportunity to further his career and get his designs in front of the societal elite. The pair agrees to help each other – he will design her clothing and help her get a husband, and she will help introduce him into polite society. However, neither expected to develop feelings for each other. Both have so much at stake, but can they resist their ever-growing connection?

Evie and Ahmad are both dynamic characters, and I totally rooted for their happily-ever-after. Torn between family duty and her own desires, Evie faces many difficult challenges, and it’s interesting to see how she deals with them. Evie is so lovely – kind and caring, she has a lot of responsibility and pressure on her to marry and help pave the way for her younger sisters. As she lives predominantly in the country, Evie feels like an outsider, and she struggles with her bluestocking label. She is also a talented equestrian, and her connection to her horse is so lovely. I love how confident she becomes when riding, and this is often when her personality really shines. It also shines when she is with Ahmad.

Ahmad is also pretty fantastic. He’s so talented, hard-working, and honorable, and I love his growth throughout the story. Ahmad is half-Indian and half-English, and because of blatant racism and social prejudices, he has never quite fit in. However, he never stops fighting for what he wants, especially since he is also trying to provide for his cousin Mira. Ahmad has had a tough life, and he has seen many injustices. Part of the reason he works so hard is so he can make other people’s lives better, which makes me love him even more. He is also a super talented designer who really understands how to accentuate a woman’s best assets. This is especially evident when he begins designing for Evie.

Evie and Ahmad have a wonderful, chemistry-filled romance. Though they come from different worlds, they find they share a lot of common ground, and their slow-building love story is delightful. The scenes when Evie goes to Ahmad for fittings are super swoon-worthy and show just how much their feelings are growing and changing. This couple faces many challenges, including their differing social classes, her need to marry into wealth, his business plans, and feelings of not being good enough. I enjoyed seeing how they dealt with their ever-growing feelings and the obstacles that stand in their way.

I also liked many of the secondary characters and was particularly excited when I heard a certain enigmatic military man was the subject of the next book in the series. I was so intrigued by this character and can’t wait to read his story! I also really liked the group of women who befriend Evie. They are all such unique and compelling women, and I love how they so willingly bring Evie into their fold. I love that these women will be the focus of future books in the series, and I’m excited to learn more about each of them.

This romance offers an insightful look at Victorian England, and I was so impressed with the author’s knowledge of the time period. The story includes so much rich detail, from the styles worn and designed to the equestrian standards of the time. The book also explores the popularity of the occult, the effects of British colonialism, the racism, prejudices, and social inequities of the time, and more. I love how seamlessly Matthews weaves these significant and historically accurate elements into the story. It made for an interesting and thought-provoking read.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy slow-burn, closed-door historical romances. It has interesting and well-layered characters, a lot of fascinating information about Victorian England, and a lovely romance. I’m so thankful to the author and Austenprose PR for including me in this blog tour, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The history.
  • The secondary characters.

Favorite Lines:

It was the differences in a person that gave rise to true beauty.

I’m not afraid of the opinions of strangers.

We ladies are dropped into a churning sea and forbidden from revealing we know how to swim.

I don’t wish to be filed away in a neat little category, labeled and dismissed by society as if I weren’t a person full of mysterious complexities. I don’t even know the full depth and breadth of what I am yet – or what I’m capable of. How can a man? How can anyone?


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.

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Giveaway:

1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives the following:

  • Signed print copy of The Siren of Sussex
  • Horse scarf
  • Pewter sidesaddle brooch (made in Sussex, England!)
  • The Siren of Sussex tote bag
  • Three candles in scents: Fresh Hay, New Saddle, and Winter Ride
  • Box of Ahmad Tea (60 count, assorted flavors)
  • The Siren of Sussex bookmark

The giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 1/4/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 2/7/22. The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog – mimimatthews.com – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22. Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Book Tour Stops:

17 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Julie. Mimi is a talented writer and I have enjoyed all of her books. I loved the historical details and the romance in Siren and am looking forward tot he next book in the series, The Belle of Belgrave Square in October.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful review Julie. I like the sound of this one, with the race theme, female treatment and romance. I think I would enjoy this one. I just added my name to the list at my library.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. So, I requested it from two different libraries and this afternoon, it came available at the other library, so, now to get it read within the next three weeks.

            Liked by 1 person

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