...The Siren of Sussex is a well-written story, elevated by historical detail.


The Description

Belles of London: Book 1
Publication Date: January 11, 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?

The Review

The Siren of Sussex is the first book in Mimi Matthews’s new series, Belles of London. Evelyn Maltravers heads from Sussex to London with the goal of making a decent marriage so she can look out for her younger sisters. Evelyn possesses little to attract a suitor except for her superior horsemanship. She commissions some exceptionally attractive riding habits from talented tailor Ahmad Malik to draw attention to herself. The half-Indian, half-English Malik is an intriguing gentleman struggling to find his way as a designer of unique women’s fashions. Even though Evelyn and Ahmad have very different goals, they cannot fight the growing attraction between them.

The Siren of Sussex is a nicely crafted Victorian romance rich in historical detail. The author shares her love of horses and riding through the character of Evelyn. She also reminds us that prejudice takes many forms. It seems that there is always a group of people (sometimes many groups) that are not like the mainstream in appearance or heritage. Ahmad and his sister endure everything from sly comments to a boycott because they are of mixed heritage. 

Readers also get a glimpse into the seedier side of London. The historical information and perspectives make the book stronger than just a story about a girl that needs to marry. Prospective readers should know there is no sexual content. 

Overall, The Siren of Sussex is a well-written story, elevated by historical detail.Buy Links

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About The Author

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.


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Diane Peterson
Diane Peterson
Diane K. Peterson is a retired school library media specialist that promotes the romance novel industry as an analyst, speaker, and reviewer. She is currently compiling an analytic history of the romance genre. Diane leads classes and workshops for authors and older adults (Osher program). A compulsive “fixer,” she uses her status as a Goodreads librarian to correct and improve book records as well as assisting authors. Diane is a member of RWA and the Missouri RWA chapter.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Diane. Mimi is a gifted writer. I always appreciate her historical details and characters. I am looking forward to the next book in the series which releases in October. Best, LA


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4.5-STAR REVIEW: THE SIREN OF SUSSEX by Mimi Matthews...The Siren of Sussex is a well-written story, elevated by historical detail.