RogerBW's Blog

The Siren of Sussex, Mimi Matthews 25 March 2023

2022 Victorian romance. Evelyn Maltravers has a Grand Plan: she'll wow fashionable London with her riding, then find a wealthy husband to pay for bringing out her sisters. But to do that she will need the right riding habit, and Ahmad Malik the tailor is her man for that…

It's an odd sort of Victorian setting; it feels in most respects like a Regency, only with the occasional omnibus and a general air of mourning because of the recent death of Prince Albert – and a bit spiritualism, which even provides a certain amount of plot driving.

The principals fall in lust with each other almost at once, but he's half-Indian (and in trade) and doesn't want to drag her down out of Society, while she's given up on the idea of love and needs to marry for money. So far, so standard romance. There's also the chap who nearly proposed to her back in the day, before her older sister and his older brother ran off together; which could have been a standard romance element ("now that you're fashionable, once more I want to marry you" followed by "no thanks, I've found true love") but goes in a rather more interesting direction. Even the older sister makes a brief appearance, and that isn't as straightforward as one might have imagined either.

Unlike most modern romances there are no bedroom scenes, but there are plenty of technical descriptions both of riding and of women's clothes.

Altogether, given that this was a Goodreads rather than a personal recommendation, it's rather less generic and more fun than I had feared.

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Series: Belles of London | Next in series: The Belle of Belgrave Square

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