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?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Looking for a stylish Victorian romance with thoroughly modern sensibilities? Mimi Matthews’ fresh story revolves around Evie, a feisty young woman from a prominent family who isn’t having much luck in London’s high-society marriage market. Between her sharp intelligence, independent spirit, and intense love of horseback riding, Evie has only ever found one man who understands and appreciates her: her Indian British dressmaker, Ahmad. The sparkling connection between Matthews’ protagonists is magnetic, and we appreciate how the author doesn’t gloss over the obstacles a couple like this would face in 1862. As the pair tackles issues relating to class differences and racist bigotry head-on, they develop a relationship that’s refreshingly open and honest. (We also loved that Evie learns about Ahmad’s culture by seeking out books by Indian authors—not by British colonizers.) Matthews has written a beautiful and winning tale of forbidden love.
Matthews (Fair as a Star) opens her Belles of London series with a tender and swoonworthy interracial, cross-class romance in Victorian London. White British equestrienne Evelyn Maltravers is desperate for a successful London season; following the disgrace of her older sister, Fenny, it falls to Evelyn to make a match that will secure both their futures. Half-Indian, half-English dressmaker Ahmad Malik knows that the right society lady wearing his designs will secure him enough business to purchase the dress shop where he works. When Ahmad's client, Lady Heatherton, rescinds her order after Ahmad rejects her sexual advances, Ahmad pins his hopes on designing for Evelyn instead. As the necessary intimacy of dress fittings and consultations gives rise to attraction, Evelyn finds her prospects on the marriage market lacking compared to Ahmad. But confessing their mutual desire is just the first step in conquering the varied threats to their happiness. The societal obstacles to their relationship and thoughtful exploration of multiracial identity ground the romance, striking a delicate balance between grim period-typical attitudes and fluffy joy. Ahmad and Evelyn both marry impressive fierceness with understandable insecurities, making them a couple to root for. Readers will delight in this paean to women's fashion and horseback riding. Agent: Sarah Hershman, Hershman Rights Management.
I loved the Parish Orphans Of Devon books and the Siren of Sussex is a wonderful spin off of the series. I’m so happy that there is another book coming soon! What I love most about this book is the elaborate descriptions of amazing fashion creations. I wish I could buy a gown from Ahmad! A must read!