I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews organized by Laurel @Austenprose PR. This is refreshing, swoon-worthy, heartmelting, and most romantic historical fiction.
The Belle of Belgrave Square (Belles of London #2) by Mimi Matthews
Publication Date : October 11, 2022
Publisher : : Berkley Romance
Read Date : October 6, 2022
Genre : Historical Romance, Historical Fiction
Pages : 432
Tea for this book : Indian Masala
Disclaimer- Many thanks to Mimi Matthews, Berkley Romance, and Austenprose PR for review copy and tour invite.
A BookBub Best Romance of 2022
A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
- “A grand cross-class romance, a twisty mystery, and emotional internal struggles combine to excellent effect…fans and new readers alike will root for this well-earned love story.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
- “[C]ombines deception, risk, and a resourceful heroine to create an intoxicating, suspenseful romance. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)
- “If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast, this regency romance will rapidly become a new favorite of yours. Wallflower meets an infamous war hero in this fascinating and intriguing love story.”— BuzzFeed
- “Mimi Matthews never disappoints, with richly drawn characters and couples whose individual shortcomings become strengths, when paired together. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, we get to root for two underdogs who get to rewrite their own stories.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here
- “The Belle of Belgrave Square is such tremendous, good fun: a heroine with a big horse, an even bigger novel-reading habit, and a hidden anxiety; a hero with a crumbling estate, a trio of wary children, and a literary secret—what’s not to love? Mimi Matthews paints Victorian England with vivid humor, and her Belles of London is set to go on for at least a few more much-anticipated installments. Julian Fellowes fans will rejoice!”— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
Previous book in this series
The Siren of Sussex (Book 1)
The Belle of Belgrave Square is heartwarming and swoonworthy second book in Belles of London series that focuses on Julia and Captain Blunt’s love story. The story is about marriage and women’s position in time of Victorian era, marital and criminal laws, moral conduct and justification, manipulation, trust, betrayal, family, friendship, and love.
The writing is gripping and vivid that takes us back to the Victorian era of laces, coaches, and society gossip, where ladies has to depend on men to save them and make life safe and secure. The story is written in third person narrative from Julia and Jasper’s perspective that gives their character more depth.
Plot is super interesting. From the first book of the series we know Jasper has taken interest in Julia and while Anne and Evelyn are on trip for four days, Jasper is going to marry Julia and take her to his estate in York. If you haven’t read first book I think this will be super interesting to read and will make you more curious to know what’s going to happen next that means you can read this standalone but I suggest you read this in order as you get to know about Julia’s friendship more in first book.
It was interesting to see how exactly Jasper managed to convince Julia to marry him when she almost fainted at sight of his scared face in first book. But as synopsis says it was Julia who proposed Jasper and that makes it even more intriguing.
I loved both main characters in this book. I loved reading about their personalities, their strength and vulnerability, their passion not just in each other but individually.
It was easy to root for Julia. She is a wealthy wallflower of London society with social anxiety who loves novels which makes her look odd and ecentric in people’s eyes. To spare herself from crowd and keep anxiety at bay she fakes sickness leading to endure her parents’ doctor in whose books bloodletting is only cured and keeping ladies away from novels. The situation becomes too much when her father saw it fit to marry her to old Earl Gresham.
I hated her parents. They were hypochondriac, uncaring, unloving, selfish pair who kept Julia in the gilded cage of their house and society they see fit and was ready to throw her in another controlling prison of Earl Gresham without caring about her happiness.
I admired Julia for having her own opinion and not judging Jasper from rumors she heard. In fact, she preferred to talk about her doubts and dilemma directly to him and coming to conclusion when she was sure she can believe him. She was taking huge risk and putting lot of trust in him by proposing him first. It was amazing how she took matters in her own hand to find her freedom and happiness. I loved her even more the way she accepted Jasper with his past.
As much as I loved Julia, her monologues, dilemmas, worries, anxieties, will and determination it took for her to fight her parents and society I found Jasper Blunt most interesting.
There is lot behind Jasper‘s ruthless, stern, mysterious and brooding demeanor. Like Julia, it was hard to believe the person who flogged insubordinate soldiers and fought ruthlessly in Crimea is the same person who write adventurous and emotional romance. It’s easy to see he is so very romantic person, the way he saves Julia, cares for her, and his work in tower writing novels and make his connection with Marshalnd whose books Julia loves. I had my theories and I wasn’t very wrong in it but at the same time I wasn’t completely right and that made the revelation about him a little surprising. After knowing him and his secret, it was inevitable to fall in love with him.
Romance is the best part of the book. It’s slow building, very swoonworthy and magical with marriage of convenience arc. Jasper’s connection with Julia through their love for literature, saving her from Gresham and her parents in first half; and courting her and winning her by sharing biggest secret of his life in second half is utterly heart-melting. Their attraction is magnetic and all the scenes with their physical and emotional closeness felt quite sexy without involving sex. I loved the way they helped each other overcome their fears. Many obstacles in their romance made it even more interesting to see if they have their happily ever after.
There are many layers in the story that gives a glimpse of Victorian era, culture, customs, and social stigma, how people reacted to his insistence on raising illegitimate children, what most people thought about Julia’s passion for literature, bloodletting process and how common it was in that era, race to secure a husband for safe and secure future. It was interesting know more about these layers in author’s notes in the end.
Climax is tense and emotional. I admired Jasper for what he did for children and at the same time it broke my heart along with him when he saw how his secret has hurt Julia. Julia’s dilemma over what she understood and where that leaves heris genuin and realistic. I loved how author showed what is true heroism through Jasper’s secret. I was so happy to see Julia overcoming her fears and getting what she was hers. End is so lovely and uplifting.
Overall, The Belle of Belgrave Square is refreshing, swoon-worthy and heartmelting historical fiction. I have to say this is most romantic book I have read so far.
I highly recommend this if you like,
Marriage of convenience arc
Clean and yet swoon-worthy romance
Brooding mysterious hero
Damsel in distress
Theme of true heroism
Layer of marital and criminal laws
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.
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READ AN EXCLSUIVE INTERVIEW WITH MIMI MATTHEWS
Discover intriguing insights into The Belle of Belgrave Square and Mimi’s writing life in this exclusive interview at austenprose.com.
Mimi has generously offered a fabulous giveaway that book tour participants can add to their post and on social media. Here are the details:
Giveaway period: October 3 – October 30
Terms & Conditions:
Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. All information will remain confidential and will not be sold or otherwise used, except to notify the winner and to facilitate postage of the book to the winner. Void where prohibited.
1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives a paperback copy of The Belle of Belgrave Square, signed and annotated by the author with personal comments, underlining of her favorite lines, and other highlights by Mimi Matthews.
Giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 10/03/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 10/30/22.
The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog on 10/31/22.
Rafflecopter Form:a Rafflecopter giveaway
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