Book Review and Giveaway: The Siren of Sussex
I thought I was the last historical romance fan who hadn’t read Mimi Matthews, so I was eager to read an ARC of her latest release The Siren of Sussex.
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.
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After a family scandal, Evie decides to marry in order to put her horse to stud and to improve her sisters’ marriage prospects. Her intention of attracting a husband in London–finely dressed atop her horse–leads her to entrepreneur half-Indian tailor Ahmad.
I loved the world building in this new series set in 1860s London. The clothing, the horses, the city, the spiritualism. The use of historical detail to enrich and not oppress the reader really spoke to me.
Ultimately, there was an easy resolution for two people who had so much against them. There were no real external conflicts with the suitor who jilted Evie, the shamed older sister, the lady who wanted to seduce Ahmad, and no societal or family repercussions either. Evie thinks she needs to marry into wealth to keep her horse and set up her sisters, but then decides she doesn’t have to sacrifice her happiness. Ahmad is reluctant to marry Evie because of his growing business, and their racial and class divide, but then he decides it’s not insurmountable.
It was very much an internal story about one’s identity, and Evie and Ahmad choosing one another. The downside to that is we never see the couple face any racism or classism together. Those significant, valid concerns that gave them pause for so long are never seen or addressed as a couple, which felt like a disservice, especially to Ahmad's experience.
This is a kisses-only romance and for all the physical attraction between Evie and Ahmad, I wanted a bigger romantic pay off. I wanted to end with more conversations, more declarations, and then more kissing or more steam. They talk so much about how they can’t be together, and have a few longing touches and glances, so I wanted them to share a few more meaningful conversations and to see some of that chemistry that was hinted at.
After a story that kept me rapidly turning the pages, I struggled with the pacing at the end. The the trip to Sussex felt a contrived conflict after Ahmad had already decided he loved Evie enough. I was frustrated that Ahmad only came to Sussex after he got career-making work. I wish he had come for Evie before he knew she had set up his business for success.
The writing style is visceral, I was invested in Evie and Ahmad’s personal contentment as well as their happiness with one another, and the setting comes alive on the page. The Siren of Sussex certainly makes me want to visit Mimi Matthews’s other books. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I read an advance reader copy of The Siren of Sussex from Netgalley.
The giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 1/4/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 2/7/22.
Terms & Conditions: Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. Void where prohibited.
1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives the following:
Signed print copy of The Siren of Sussex
Pewter sidesaddle brooch (made in Sussex, England!)
The Siren of Sussex tote bag
Three candles in scents: Fresh Hay, New Saddle, and Winter Ride
Box of Ahmad Tea (60 count, assorted flavors)
The Siren of Sussex bookmark
The winner will be announced on Mimi's blog - mimimatthews.com – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22.
If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please click the link here to enter.