I recently read the first two books in Mimi Matthews’ Belles of London series. I had received an ARC from Netgalley for book 2 and when I saw book 1 on sale, purchase it. I loved both of these, so I have a couple of quick reviews for you today.
Review of The Siren of Sussex
I was drawn to the cover of this book. And happy to find inside, a story as lovely as the cover. Evelyn is a skilled and daring equestrienne who intends to use her riding skills and stunning costumes to attract a husband. Instead, she finds the man she is attracted, her tailor, is all sorts of wrong for her.
A humble tailor from India, Ahmad should stay away from Evelyn. He is still trying to make a name for himself in an intolerant society. Only his skill as a designer and tailor can set him on the road to success.
Evelyn and Ahmad end up in each other’s company so much that they cannot ignore their feelings. The story is about overcoming racial and class prejudices, jealousy and their personal pragmatism. I was cheering for this couple to make it and make it big! One of the best Happily Ever Afters I have read in a long time!
About The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews
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?
Review of The Belle of Belgrave Square
As with the first book in this series, I love the cover of this book. But the real hook was the heroine. I could absolutely relate to Julia as an avid novel reader. While her home life was less than ideal, Julia was able to escape to books. I hate to use the term ‘evil’ when describing her parents, but they absolutely failed in the loving, supportive parent category. Plus, they thought novels were bad for her. How disturbing is that? In an era of rampant book censorship, that really resonated.
When she meets Captain Jasper Blunt, his reputation has Julia wary. Jasper is looking for an heiress to save the estate where he is raising a family. But Jasper allows a glimpse at his compassionate side, through a mutual admiration of an author. They form a marriage of convenience.
The couple has many obstacles to overcome: children, parents, meddling friends, and secrets. It’s the secrets that make the story intriguing and provide a few surprises that will delight the reader. I enjoyed seeing the couple fall in love and form a family. One of my favorite chapters was when Julia set her ‘evil’ parents straight.
The Belle of Belgrave Square is the second in the Belles of London series. The historical romances set in the Victorian era stand alone, but also, quite nicely, fit together.
Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book. My review is my honest opinion.
About The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
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