What is your favorite fairy tale? My two favorite fairy tales growing up were Beauty and the Beast and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I loved fairy tales and reading all of the different versions of them. I still love them.
I was excited to review The Belle of Belgrave Square and discover it was a Beauty and the Beast story. I loved, loved, loved The Siren of Sussex and I felt the same way about The Belle of Belgrave Square. Although this is a series, these are standalone novels. The characters were first introduced in The Siren of Sussex, but The Belle of Belgrave Square is its own independent story.
Julia Wychwood is a sheltered heiress who has never left London. Her parents are always on their sickbed and her only escape is through reading novels or riding her horse, Cossex. When Captain Jasper Blunt starts to take notice in her, Julia is not sure what to do. He is hailed as a hero from the Crimea, but the tales of his treatment of his soldiers is horrifying. Since his return, the stories of his haunted estate and illegitimate children do not paint a better picture. As Julia gets to know him thought, she believes maybe he has changed. After her parents take bloodletting too far on her, she realizes she needs to make a change. Would marrying Captain Blunt be just the change she needs? What secrets is he hiding?
I felt like this was a perfect book for the fall. It had perfect Gothic vibes. Matthews had wonderful notes at the end to fill in the history of the Victorian times discussed in the novel. I also loved that she said it was also based not only on Beauty and the Beast, but also The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery which is another one of my favorite novels. After I read that, I connected the dots and saw how much it was inspired by The Blue Castle. I was able to figure out the twists in The Belle of Belgrave Square ahead of time, but that probably was because it was inspired by some of my favorite works. I enjoyed it just the same. My favorite scene was Jasper showing Julia his library for the first time. Now that is love!
I liked the inner look into Julia and Jasper as well. For Julia she had to deal with anxiety, especially at social events that she was required to attend. She was constantly working on ways to deal with her anxiety. Jasper is dealing with both the internal and external scars from being a soldier in the Crimea as well as a traumatic childhood. I love how they both had to build trust with each other and understanding through the novel.
This book has a very low level of spice at the end. It is a marriage of convenience trope – which I love.
I can’t wait for the next book, The Lily of Ludgate Hill, which is previewed at the end of this book!
Review Copy from Berkley Romance and Netgalley as 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 Belle of Belgrave Square
· Series: Belles of London (Book 2)
· Author: Mimi Matthews
· Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction
· Publisher: Berkley Romance (October 11, 2022)
· Length: (432) pages
· Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook
· ISBN: 978-0593337158
· Tour Dates: October 3 - 23, 2022
BookBub Best Romance of 2022
A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
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…
“A grand cross-class romance, a twisty mystery, and emotional internal struggles combine to excellent effect…fans and new readers alike will root for this well-earned love story.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[C]ombines deception, risk, and a resourceful heroine to create an intoxicating, suspenseful romance. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)
“If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast, this regency romance will rapidly become a new favorite of yours. Wallflower meets an infamous war hero in this fascinating and intriguing love story.”— BuzzFeed
“Mimi Matthews never disappoints, with richly drawn characters and couples whose individual shortcomings become strengths, when paired together. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, we get to root for two underdogs who get to rewrite their own stories.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here
“The Belle of Belgrave Square is such tremendous, good fun: a heroine with a big horse, an even bigger novel-reading habit, and a hidden anxiety; a hero with a crumbling estate, a trio of wary children, and a literary secret—what's not to love? Mimi Matthews paints Victorian England with vivid humor, and her Belles of London is set to go on for at least a few more much-anticipated installments. Julian Fellowes fans will rejoice!”— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
VICTORIAN READING ROOM
Join Mimi at her Victorian Reading Room Facebook Group for exclusive access as she shares her love of writing, historical romance, Victorian fashion, brooding heroes, independent heroines, and of course, her beloved pets
READ AN EXCLSUIVE INTERVIEW WITH MIMI MATTHEWS
Discover intriguing insights into The Belle of Belgrave Square and Mimi’s writing life in this exclusive interview at austenprose.com.Mimi has generously offered a fabulous giveaway that book tour participants can add to their post and on social media. Here are the details:
Giveaway period: October 3 – October 30
Terms & Conditions:
Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. All information will remain confidential and will not be sold or otherwise used, except to notify the winner and to facilitate postage of the book to the winner. Void where prohibited.
Giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 10/03/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 10/30/22.
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