The Siren of Sussex

· Belles of London Book 1 · Sold by Penguin
11 reviews

About this ebook

A PopSugar, Oprah Daily, 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?
11 reviews
Wendy Williams
January 11, 2022
Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews is the first book in her Belles of London series, and I’ll be first in line to read the rest of the books in this series, as I’ve enjoyed this first one very much. This book was just a lot of fun to read. Evelyn Maltravers moves to London from her small village in Sussex to secure a husband and improve the future for herself and her sisters. She knows she’s not the attractive beauty her older sister is, but her sister has run off with the neighbor and has brought disgrace to the family. In order to save her family and provide a future for her sisters, Evelyn must find a rich and titled husband in the London season. Evelyn knows she’s not a great beauty, so she takes her stallion to Hyde Park to ride and hopefully meet potential husband material. She decides she needs a new riding habit and goes to a famous tailor who makes the most beautiful riding habits for women. When she goes to the shop she finds the man behind the beautiful designs is a man named Ahmad Malik, a half Indian, half English man who doesn’t feel at home either in India or in London. He’s working at the tailor shop with an agreement to take over the business once the owners are retired. When Ahmad meets Evelyn, and he agrees to make her riding habits, they end up working together to make an entire wardrobe for Evelyn to wear during the season. Evelyn and Ahmad find themselves in an impossible situation as their attraction grows. Ahmad can’t support a fine woman like Evelyn, and she needs a wealthy gentleman in order to save her family. The Siren of Sussex is a delightful look at regency England with a spirited heroine. I loved learning about the horses and the fashion of the day. The love story between Evelyn and Ahmad is a slow-burn and beautiful romance. They have an impossible road to romance. Evelyn wants and needs a wealthy husband to help her and her sisters are accepted into society. Ahmad is half Indian and half English and is a tradesman, not a titled or wealthy gentleman so he knows he’s not a suitable match for Eveyln, despite his growing feelings for her. I kept trying to figure out how they could be together, but until the end, I couldn’t find a satisfactory way for these two people to find a path to romance. These characters’ motivations were very strong. I love reading romance because I know that the main characters will end up together in the end, but what I enjoy more is the journey the main characters take to get to their happily ever after. In The Siren of Sussex, the journey of both the main characters is powerful and moving. The author wrote a beautiful and angsty romance with the gorgeous backdrop of regency England. I highly recommend The Siren of Sussex to anyone who loves historical romances. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Andrea Romance
January 8, 2022
Bluestocking Evelyn is in town for her first season, hoping to make a match that will help her and her younger sisters find financial security. But the men she meets don't stir her interest—except for Ahmad, the tailor who creates her riding habit. Not only is he the wrong class, many in society refuse to look beyond his half-Indian heritage. Will choosing love put her sisters' futures at risk? I'm always wary of historical romance featuring characters from different classes. But I love Mimi Matthews and I love this cover, so I gave the book a chance. :) It's very well done. It ends up being quite believable (I didn't roll my eyes once). Evelyn is courageous and determined, while Ahmad is cautious but ambitious. I loved them both separately and together. Including elements of Spiritualism and tying those themes to Prince Albert's death made the plot inventive and a lot of fun. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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Vesper Meikle
December 17, 2021
March 1862 London Evelyn Maltravers, knows she has nothing to offer a rich well-connected husband but her horsemanship. Naively she believes this will be enough to overcome her lack of accomplishments and her scandalous connections. So to marry well she must shine as a horse-rider, wearing haute couture. To this end she visits tailor Ahmad Malik, half-Indian.The designer of riding habits for the infamous Pretty Horsebreakers of Rotten Row. To suceed he needs a patron to launch his designs on society. But what is he prepared to do to obtain this end. And what of the attraction between Evelyn and Ahmad, and all the obstacles they must face indiviually, and as a partnership. An entertaining and well-written Victorian romance with its cast of varied and likeable characters. A good start to this series.
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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 Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, 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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