Friday, January 21, 2022

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews (Review and Giveaway!)

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

I've read several books by Mimi Mattews but I think that this one may be my favorite so far!


Title: The Siren of Sussex: Belles of London (Book 1)
Author: Mimi Matthews
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley Romance (January 11, 2022)
Length: (432) pages
Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook
Tour Dates: January 10-30, 2022
Content: PG-13


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?

Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I've read several books by Mimi Mattews but I think that this one may be my favorite so far. Historical fiction with interracial romance at a time in history when class and gender were still not on equal terms  caught my attention. Ahmed is a half-Indian tradesman, a man somewhat jaded with his life experiences but who dreams of becoming his own man. Evelyn is a gentleman's daughter, orphaned and now tasked with the responsibility of marrying well so that her sisters could have a good life. I wondered how the author was going to pull off this complex romance. But of course, she succeeds beautifully.

Matthews knows how to begin her stories so that the reader's interest is quickly piqued. I was pulled along as she deftly created her characters and paced her romance just right. Both Evelyn and Ahmed are strong main characters supported by a good cast of secondary characters. The author knows how to create romantic tension and passion all while keeping it clean as a novel. Ahmed is swoothworthy and Evelyn knows her own mind. They make a memorable couple. And if you love fashion, the author describes such beautiful dress and riding habit creations and fashion trends.

Matthew's stories always have me googling stuff that she introduces in her novels, like the Pretty Horsebreakers and also the spiritualism movement, which I did not realize was so prevalent back then. As a Christian, I was grateful this aspect of the story is only part of the backdrop of what some in this Victorian era believed and not practiced by the main characters. However, there is a séance scene.

This was a great start to what promises to be another worthwhile series from an author who doesn't shy away from exploring topics that were once swept under the rug, misunderstood or stigmatized. I look forward to reading the next books in this series!


“…a tender and swoon-worthy interracial, cross-class romance in Victorian London…Readers will delight in this paean to women’s fashion and horseback riding.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Matthews brings the Victorian era to vivid life with meticulously researched details and an impossible romance made believable and memorable.”— Booklist, starred review

“Matthews deftly underscores racial and gender discrimination in Victorian London in this excellent start to ‘The Belles of London’ series; rather than overshadowing, it propels the romance. Romance aficionados who love fashion and animals will delight in this tender romance and will be excited to see Evelyn’s friends in future installments.” — Library Journal, starred review

"Unflinching, tender, and moving, the delicately crafted The Siren of Sussex might just be my favourite work from Mimi Matthews; it certainly is one of my favourite historical romance reads this year."— Evie Dunmore, USA Today bestselling author of Portrait of a Scotsman



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.

Connect with the Author:

Ends 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.

The Giveaway Package:

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.

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  1. what a fabulous giveaway and i loved your review. i love when an author pushes boundaries of any kind
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Laura. Mimi is such a talented writer. I loved the historical details and the characters. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, The Belle of Belgrave Square in October. Best, LA


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