Friday, January 21, 2022

Review: "The Siren of Sussex" by Mimi Matthews

I swear, Mimi Matthews can do no wrong! I've enjoyed every single one of her books that I've read, and The Siren of Sussex is no exception. This is a Victorian romance that both brings the romance (oh, my, does it bring the romance) and makes me more interested in learning about the time period.

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?

I suppose I should begin by saying that I do not know or care about a) fashion or b) horses - two things that are integral to The Siren of Sussex's plot. But somehow, I found myself wishing I could see Ahmad's creations and really caring about whether Evelyn would be able to keep her horse! That's the mark of great writing. I also loved the "forbidden romance" aspect of the plot; Ahmad and Evelyn are of different classes and races, making a union between them unconventional and ill-advised. Evelyn's determination to make it work - just as she was determined to provide for her family and have a season on her own terms - made her a very endearing heroine. And the chemistry between Evelyn and Ahmad was palpable! 

There is a spiritualist subplot here, and I tend to be very leery of anything supernatural. This, however, didn't make me uncomfortable as it wasn't something the main characters put much stock in, and it was a reflection of society at the time. It also led to what I thought was the most humorous moment of the novel.

This is the first book in Matthews' new Belles of London series, and I'm already eagerly awaiting book two! 5 stars.

Read my reviews of other Mimi Matthews books.

Enter the giveaway: Timeframe: Jan 4 - Feb 7, 2022

Terms & Conditions:

Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. Void where prohibited.

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 - – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Becky. Mimi is such a gifted writer. I really appreciate her historical details and the relationship between the characters. I am looking forward to The Belle of Belgrave Square, the next novel in the series which releases in October. Best, LA


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