REVIEW: THE SIREN OF SUSSEX by Mimi Matthews
About the book: 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?
REVIEW by Christina Boyd:
The Siren of Sussex, Book 1 of “The Belles of London” series, opens with Evelyn Maltravers, fresh on the London marriage mart, entering a modest tailor shop. An accomplished horsewoman, Evelyn is intent on making a successful match and has a mind to do so by making a dazzling debut upon her horse on Rotten Row. Thus, her plan begins with commissioning a tailor to create an incomparable riding habit because “Everyone with the slightest claim to fashionable dress knows that tailors make the very best ladies’ riding habit.” —Chapter 1. But before she is turned away after being perceived a bluestocking, she meets a talented assistant tailor, Ahmad Malik—who she eventually (secretly) persuades to create an unforgettable wardrobe for her come out season while helping him build a stellar reputation to start his own shop.
Unsupervised stretches of quiet exchanges during measurements and fittings lead Evelyn and Ahmad to an intimacy neither anticipated but had me breathless from almost the first.
Evelyn stood still as a statue as Mr. Malik applied his cloth measuring tape to her waist, hips, and bust. Any embarrassment she felt at the intimacy was overshadowed by the memory of his words; phrases that still circled merrily in her dumbfounded brain. A singular beauty, he’d called her. A diamond of the first water. –Chapter 4.
As a half-Indian in London, Malik knows his work must be unparalleled; Evelyn has money for but one season to make a good match. Unspoken wants are tried and measured in tender moments, but as both their goals are within their grasp, dare they reveal their true hearts and risk the future?
“Have you truly thought about this? About what it might mean for your future? Pinning all of your hopes on my making a success of things?” –Chapter 13.
As in her “Parish Orphans of Devon” series, Matthews creates a story as rich and imaginative as the tailor’s workroom, all the while skillfully, almost effortlessly, drawing attention to the ethnic and gender prejudices in Victorian London. In Siren of Sussex, USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews’s cast of fascinating young women sets us up for another vibrant, stimulating series. I’m all anticipation!
PURCHASE LINKS AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP
AUTHOR BIO: 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.
enter her via RAFFLECOPTER.
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
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 - mimimatthews.com – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22.