The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London) - book cover
  • Publisher : Berkley
  • Published : 11 Jan 2022
  • Pages : 432
  • ISBN-10 : 0593337131
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593337134
  • Language : English

The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London)

A PopSugar and BookBub Most Anticipated Romance of 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?

Editorial Reviews

"What I love about Mimi Matthews is that in the crowded field of historical romance she always finds new and interesting slants for her plots and characters. That, along with her wonderful writing and meticulous research, makes every book she puts out a rare treat to enjoy and savor. Highly recommended!"-Kate Pearce, New York Times bestselling author

"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

"Lush, seductive, original-The Siren of Sussex drew me in from the first page, and wove its magic. A fresh, vibrant, brilliant Victorian romance, making it an unforgettable read."-Jane Porter, New York Times bestselling author

"A moving love story and a vivid recreation of Victorian life, The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews is a treat of a book for the historical romance lover."-Anna Campbell, award-winning author

"Impeccably researched, brimming with passion and chemistry, and a loving tribute to Victorian fashion and horsemanship, The Siren of Sussex is a page-turning, powerful, and endearing love story about two people rising above the pressures of society to follow their hearts. A five-star fantastic read!"-Syrie James, USA Today bestselling author

"A tender and swoonworthy 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 meticulouslyresearched details and an impossible romance made believable and memorable."-Booklist, starred review

"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

"An exquisite historical romance that is so captivating I had to force myself not to gallop through it at a breakneck speed, wanting to savor the author's obvious care and delicate attention to detail...A must read for lovers of historical fiction."-Meg Tilly, author of The Runaway Heiress

"Marvelously crafted, Evelyn and Ahmad's world is ripe with nuanced social perceptions and characters that winnow heart-deep. At times passionately intelligent and achingly vulnerable, The Siren of Sussex is destined to dazzle readers of Evie Dunmore and Harper St. George."-Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code

"Readers have learned to expect absorbing dramas from Mimi Matth...

Readers Top Reviews

Élodie Nicoli
Will these two beings from world apart be able to find a common ground to merge their future together… I can enough tell how much I love and praise Mrs Matthews’ talent to craft original tales all the while sticking to the historical facts, even more adding enlightening clues about details and events I did not even know about. After turning the last page of this tale, I am left with such a feel-good sense, I did not feel my usual need to search for my next read. I was just content and happy. How she was able to build together this tale of what should have been a star-crossed lovers story with such a low-angst level without overlooking the trials awaiting them. It requires a gift of such a level, and while it should have surprised me, I was not, being well aware of the author’s potency with words and historical particulars. Evelyn is doing her duty to her siblings, it should not have been hers but fate landed it at her feet. So believing she has few assets, she wagers everything on her one talent, but to stand out from the rest, she will need more than her horse, her flawless seat. An astonishing riding-habit to pinpoint her as more than the usual debutante. Ahmad has a dream, and he is well on his way to make it come true. If he can secure a patroness to reveal his work to the right crowd. So it should have been rather easy, but life has a way in disrupting even the best crafted plan. While not stranded somewhere with a tempest above their heads, this tale is a bit of a forced proximity trope as they must spend time together for the creation of her wardrobe. Time during which they will get to know one another. Evelyn and Ahmad are fated soulmates, each making the other whole, their differences bringing them together, as they see the other, really see one another on their entirety. And while they both have their own goal, with others depending on them succeeding, when they can not deny anymore the feelings between them, will they be able to merge both, as they are well aware of how their relationship will be disparaged because of him being different in society’s standard. I am just sad to not have the author’s knack with words to express how awesome Evelyn and Ahmad’s romance is, Mrs Matthews take care of them, with tenderness and brightness, she nurtures but also unsettles them, arming them with only the certainty of their feelings, the strength of their skill and their will to make it happen. 5 stars 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 sensual, lovemaking behind closed door. I have been granted an advance copy by the publisher, here is my true and unbiased opinion.

Short Excerpt Teaser


London, England

March 1862

Evelyn Maltravers entered the dimly lit shop in Conduit Street. A modest sign above the door proclaimed the names and trade of the proprietors: Messrs. Doyle and Heppenstall, Tailors. The interior of the shop was equally modest-a small showroom furnished with a pair of plump leather chairs, a trifold mirror, and a tall counter of polished mahogany. Gas wall sconces cast a diffuse glow over the fabric shelved behind it. Rolls of superfine cloth in subdued shades of black, brown, and blue.

It was a quarter to seven. Nearly closing time. The murmur of a deep male voice emanated from the back room, drifting out through the curtained door that separated it from the showroom.

Evelyn's pulse quickened. A tailor's shop was a masculine domain. One in which a lady's presence was as rare as it was unwelcome. But she didn't let that fact deter her. Stiffening her spine, she approached the counter and rang the bell.

The voice in the back room fell silent. Seconds later, a thin, white-haired gentleman emerged from behind the curtain. His eyes were rheumy, his back bent, as if he'd spent a lifetime hunched over a worktable.

"Can I help you, madam?" His voice was as reedy as his figure.

"Thank you, yes. I'd like to speak with Mr. Doyle, please."

"I am Mr. Doyle."

Her spirits sank. She'd been expecting a man of fashion. Of vision. Someone with magic in his fingers. But the elderly fellow who now stood before her looked neither fashionable nor particularly capable. His fingers were gnarled with age, his hands trembling as if he suffered from some manner of palsy.

A hopeful thought struck her. "And Mr. Heppenstall? Is he at liberty?"

"Mr. Heppenstall passed away last autumn."

"Oh." Her spirits once again plummeted. The deep voice behind the curtain must belong to a shop assistant or one of the cutters. Someone of no account.

"Is there something I can assist you with?" Mr. Doyle asked with a hint of impatience.

She reminded herself that appearances were often deceiving. It was certainly true in her own case. For all she knew, the elderly tailor might still be a veritable magician with a needle and thread. "I sincerely hope so. You see . . ." She pushed her delicate silver-framed spectacles more firmly up onto her nose. "You were recommended to me by a . . . a friend."

Not entirely the truth, but not strictly a lie, either.

His bushy white brows lifted. "A client of mine?"

"Indeed," she said. "I'd like to commission a riding habit."

He gave her bespectacled face and plainly clad figure a dubious look.

A wave of self-consciousness took her unawares.

Perhaps she should have ordered a new dress before calling? Something from a fashionable modiste that would have lent her a bit of countenance? Instead, she'd worn an unembellished skirt and caraco jacket. A sensible ensemble cut and sewn by the village seamstress in Combe Regis. No doubt it made her appear thoroughly countrified.

But it was too late to second-guess herself.

Countrified she may be at present, but she wouldn't be so for long.

"Everyone with the slightest claim to fashionable dress knows that tailors make the very best ladies' riding habits," she continued determinedly. "And I mean to have the best."

"Understandably so, but if you'll forgive me . . ." He paused. "We don't design apparel for bluestockings."

Evelyn failed to suppress a flinch. She wasn't wholly surprised by the charge. She'd been called a bluestocking before. A wallflower, too, and any number of other unoriginal epithets applied to young ladies who failed to conform. Mr. Doyle's words nevertheless hit her like a dash of cold water. "You've mistaken me, sir."

"I think not, ma'am. Might I direct you to Mr. Inglethorpe in Oxford Street? He does a steady trade in ladies' habits, and would have no qualms about accepting your custom." Bowing, Mr. Doyle moved to withdraw. "I bid you good evening."

She opened her mouth to argue, but he was gone behind the curtain before she could formulate her words. She was left standing in the empty shop, her gloved hands clasped tight in front of her.

It took an effort not to let the old tailor's words pierce her armor. She knew all too well what people saw when they looked at her-if they saw her at all. It was the ...