Friday, January 28, 2022

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews (Austenprose PR Book Tour) Review and GIVEAWAY


What are your favorite outdoor sports or hobbies?  I love to go for walks, hikes, and bike rides.  When I was younger, I also loved to climb trees and read in them.  In this novel, the heroine loves horseback riding.

Evelyn Maltravers knows that her future hangs by a thread.  She is an orphan and the family hopes had all been placed on her beautiful older sister.  After her sister has scandalously run off with a neighbor, Evelyn knows it’s up to her to find a suitable match to help out her younger sisters.  She travels to London to stay with her uncle.  She decides to stand out from the crowd, that she will order a beautiful riding habit and show off her riding skills.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has made a name for himself designing beautiful and unique riding habits for the Rotten Row’s infamous “Petty Horsebreakers.”  His dream is to own his own shop and he is trying to get unique gowns worn by someone in society to market his skills.  When Evelyn Maltravers stops by his shop to order a new riding habit, he realizes that she may be the person who can market his designs.  As he gets to know her, he discovers that he has feelings for her.  Will these two be able to pass the hurdles that society places on them to find their destinies?

I LOVED this novel.  In particular items I enjoyed included:

-        The cover is gorgeous, and it also matches that description in the novel.

  • -        Evelyn is an independent and unique character. As I also wear glasses, I love that she wears them and tells people the truth that she actually wants to be able to see.
  • -        Speaking of glasses, I love that Ahmad designed Evelyn’s dresses with pockets so that she could put her glasses in them.  I want functioning pockets on all of my clothing now and can’t always find them!
  • -        Ahmad Malik is a unique and honorable character.  I loved his artistic vision, but also his caring for his family and friends.
  • -        The book faces the fact that as a half Indian man in Victorian England, Ahmad faced prejudice and had a harder time trying to build a business and find love. 
  • -        Evelyn also makes it clear that trying to catch a husband is a serious affair.  She is not just a giggly girl.  Having a husband is the only way she as a woman during the Victorian era, can make sure that her and her sisters have support.
  • -        The book also looked at double standards.  Her neighbor, Anthony, ran off with her sister, Fenny, and hasn’t married her to keep his inheritance. Anthony’s family won’t let him marry her because she has lived with a man that is unmarried – Anthony! The hypocrisy with the situation is shocking, but also sad because this was how things worked in that time.
  • -        Evelyn loves to ride horses and trained her horse herself.  She is proud of it and doesn’t shy away from her strengths.
  • -        Lady Heatherton was a great villain.  She only thinks about herself and her needs and is ruthless.
  • -        The spiritualism subplot was interesting.  I know it was very in vogue during that time period in England and the United States.  Poor Evelyn is not amused by her uncle’s obsession with it.
  • -        I loved the author’s note which detailed the real history that was used in the novel.  I also thought the discussion questions looked interesting.  This would make a great book club book.
  • -        This is the start of a new series, the Belles of London, and I want to read more.  Evelyn’s friends were all interesting and unique and I want to learn more about them.  I in particular also loved the mysterious Captain Blunt in this novel.  I was excited to see in the excerpt for the new novel (The Belle of Belgrave Square) found at the end of this book, he will be prominently included!
  • -        The Siren of Sussex is a clean read. 

Overall, The Siren of Sussex is an engaging new historical romance with great characters, romance, historical details, and conflict.  I highly recommend it.

Book Source: Review Copy from Berkley Publishing as a part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Thank-you.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


·       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


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?


“…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.




Mimi has generously offered a fabulous giveaway package that book tour participants can add to their posts and on social media. Here are the details:

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.

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.

: a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Laura. Mimi is a gifted writer. I really enjoyed the historical details and the love story. I am looking forward to the second book in the series, The Belle of Belgrave Square in October.