The Siren of Sussex is the gorgeous historical romance we’ve all been waiting for

The Siren Of Sussex by Mimi Matthews. Image courtesy Penguin Random House
The Siren Of Sussex by Mimi Matthews. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

Mimi Matthews’ The Siren of Sussex is the perfect prescription for anyone looking for a well-written historical romance with complex characters and a gorgeous love story that will have you swooning,

I’m not entirely unbiased though. I have been reading Mimi Matthews since she published the first book in her Parish Orphans of Devon series in 2018 and I’ve read and loved every book she’s come out with since.

The Siren of Sussex is the first in the new Belles of London series and it features everything I love so much about Matthews’ writing but also so much more.

But lets’ get to the story. The Siren of Sussex follows Evelyn “Evie” Maltravers and Ahmad Malik.

Evie is a young white woman who has come to London to find a husband. Her older sister threw the family into a scandal so now it’s up to her to save them all. As long as the man has money and can support her and her sisters and not be a complete tyrant, she’s fine with whoever.

But she’s not the prettiest girl in the crowd, so she needs a step up and all she has to recommend her is her horseback riding skills.

The Siren of Sussex is everything you could want from historical romance

So she figures if she can have someone make her a gorgeous riding habit, she can wear it while she’s showing off her horseriding skills in the park and attract an eligible gentleman.

Little does she know when she goes to the tailor shop that the man who makes the riding habits all the Pretty Horsebreakers are wearing (they are the fancy courtesans of the day), she is going to meet the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fit any of the parameters of what society says she needs in a husband.

Ahmad is working out of a tailor shop and one day hopes to own his establishment. He’s got the talent to burn and he caught quite a break-making riding habit for the most alluring courtesans. But he wants more. He wants to make gowns. He wants people to acknowledge his talent. He wants to be able to support himself and his cousin Mira.

Together, Ahmad and Mira have survived quite a bit and he wants to make her life as good as she deserves. They made their way from India to London at a young age and have been surviving on their own. They lived in a brothel where Ahmad made dresses for the women and Mira was allowed to be as much of a child as she could. Eventually, they had to move out, and Ahmad was able to get them both better employment

While it’s not love at first sight for Ahmad and Evie, the spark is certainly there from the first time they touch hands. They both feel it and it starts something neither of them could imagine.

If you didn’t think a fitting for a riding habit could make you blush, you would be wrong. While the heat level in this story is mild, in a society where touching bare hands is barely aloud, a scene with a woman in her undergarments and a man measuring her is pretty freaking hot.

As they have more fittings together and spend more time with one another, that first spark turns into something much more. But being together is not an easy choice. Ahmad is half-Indian and half- British/white and knows what society is like. Knows what society says about him and what they would say about Evie if they were to be together. And he doesn’t want that for her.

Evie believes she is strong enough to take on whatever problems come up, but she respects that she cannot fully understand what Ahmad has been through and what he experiences when out in public or even with his clients.

She is also aware of what is expected of her. While Ahmad is a genius in her eyes and bound to be one of the most popular dressmakers in the city, he doesn’t have the standing or the money she needs to help her family. And let’s be honest, he’s also not what her family is expecting. He’s not white.

But is love enough? In this case, it just might be. Especially for two characters who are willing to do just about anything for each other.

Beyond Evie and Ahmad, the supporting characters in this were also delightful. All of Evie’s new friends (who will get their books coming soon) are unique, fun, and so supportive. And Mira is not letting her cousin off the hook when she sees how much he cares for Evie. She has to tease him. It’s her job.

If you’re a historical fiction fan, a fashion addict (especially Victorian fashion), or in love with horseback riding, The Siren of Sussex is not a book you want to miss. It doesn’t disappoint. I cannot wait for the second book, The Belle of Belgrave Square.

Next. Merry Swiftmas: A romance book for each era. dark

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews is available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback formats.