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?
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, 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.
Evelyn “Evie” Maltravers has no desire to have a London season, or to find a husband. She’s happy in Sussex, at the home of her aunt, living with her younger sisters, and riding her beloved horse. Yet, circumstances have caused Evie to abandon her comfortable life and head to town to seek a wealthy husband, one who can support the introduction to society of her younger siblings. Evie knows that the current rage is fashionable courtesans parading in their designer riding habits. If Evie can only have one of those beautiful outfits made for her, she knows that she can outshine any other woman on horseback, thus, perhaps attracting a suitor. Evie discovers that the man who creates the extraordinary riding habits is not the man she believed, but one behind the scenes.
Ahmad Malik is the offspring of a British soldier and an Indian woman. He and his younger cousin, Mira, made their way to England, where Ahmad did his best to support them. Over the years, Ahmad worked as a tailor, but discovered that he had a passion for designing beautiful clothes for women. His talent has led him to become a silent partner in a well established clothing business, an agreement which will allow him to take over the shop when the current owner retires. When Ahmad sees Evie, he immediately senses that she’s different from all the other English women he’s met. She treats him respectfully, and in a straightforward manner. After watching her ride, Ahmad knows that he must design an outfit for her. He also can’t help but feel a strong, but unwanted attraction for Evie.
Evie is very pragmatic in her search for a husband. She’s not looking for love, just a man who fills her requirements. There is something very special and different about Ahmad, though. There’s no doubt he is an extremely handsome man, but there is something else about him that seems to call out to her. Every time they meet for fittings, his touch causes her to feel things unlike anything she’s known. Ahmad has suffered from ignorant people’s bigotry, while at the same time, being subject to the secret advances from women who desire him as a plaything. He’s had to walk a fine line, trying not to insult the women who could greatly help his career, yet maintaining his integrity, and not giving in to sexual blackmail. Eventually, Evie and Ahmad enter into a partnership, one where he will provide her a beautiful wardrobe, and she will promote him as the designer.
As Evie and Ahmad spend more time together, he learns her true reason for seeking a wealthy husband, and he respects her decision. Though he never imagined he could have Evie for his own, his circumstances certainly dictate that he could never support her. Their longing for each other and their desire, which they both try to keep in check, just oozes off the pages. The chemistry between this couple is wonderfully written, and they are so likeable and sympathetic. Once again, Mimi Matthews has penned a beautiful story, which, while detailing the hardships of women, as well as the prejudice shown to Ahmad and others, shows the strength of genuine love, and how good and deserving people can prevail over adversity. I was totally lost in the story right from the start. Evie and Ahmad felt real to me, and I couldn’t wait for them to find their way to being together. Evie’s friends have their own appeal, and I eagerly look forward to their stories. I highly recommend THE SIREN OF SUSSEX for readers who enjoy history, as well as an encompassing, warm, emotional, and swoonworthy romance. ~Rose
Enter the Giveaway:
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 giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 1/4/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 2/7/22.
The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog – mimimatthews.com – at 8:00 pm Pacific time on 2/8/22.