The Belle of Belgrave Square
Grade : A-

Mimi Matthews’ excellent The Belle of Belgrave Square is a romantic, well-researched and intriguing novel that adds a feather to the writer’s cap.

Book-loving horsewoman Julia Wychwood prefers her solitude and horse riding to gossip and tea dates. Suffering from social anxiety which leaves her feeling frozen with fear, she doesn’t like the whirl of the ton but finds it hard to avoid.  It’s not that Julia doesn’t want to be loved, as she’s a total romantic who wants to be swept up in a fellow’s arms. When she bumps into Captain Blunt, the hero of Crimea, while riding on Rotten Row, she doesn’t expect her life to change.

Captain Jasper Blunt is the gothic hero of Julia’s fantasies. Scarred from war, leaving a trail of lovers behind him, scandalous whispers plague him everywhere he goes, especially because his mistresses tend to disappear.  Now, however, he’s hoping to find a wife and mother for his illegitimate children, Charlie, Alfred and Daisy, a wife who will settle those rumors and move with him to Yorkshire, where his tumbledown home suffers from rumors that it’s haunted.

Julia and Jasper each enter into their marriage of convenience with requests for the other.  Jasper must never limit Julia’s access to books or horses; Julia must never explore the uppermost rooms in the house nor meddle in his affairs.  Julia will escape her hypochondriac parents (who will continue to have the benefit of her living nearby and able to orchestrate their care) and Jasper will get a dowry with which he can repair the estate and ensure his children’s’ futures.  Naturally, the course of true love never does run smoothly… especially when little Daisy tells Julia that her mother is outside, sleeping in the garden.

A touch of Beauty and the Beast here, and a touch of Bluebeard there, but naturally Mimi Matthews manages to bring about a story that’s entirely unique.

Julia goes through on-page anxiety attacks and on-page bloodlettings thanks to her parents’ obsessive concerns over her health; the poor girl suffers mightily before getting her happily ever after.  But all the while she is strong-minded and aware of what makes her happy.  Jasper is your classic tortured hero, whose bark is much worse than his bite and whose children are looking for a way to better connect to him.  He’s harboring a secret romantic side – and a literary secret, which is revealed in a delightful way. This man is mysterious, and you will never in your life be able to figure out what he’s hiding.

If you love bookish people, this book is for you.  You can smell the dust lingering on disused library shelves and feel the brush of paper beneath fingertips, and note happily all of the references to Victoriana that Matthews laces throughout the book.  And if you love mysteries, Matthews has a bunch for you; I guarantee you’ll never see the final twist coming. And if you’re truly into romance – well, there’s sexual and romantic tension to spare.  Impeccable research and wonderful friendships also light the book.

The Belle of Belgrave Square is wonderfully romantic and comes in only a notch below The Siren of Sussex, one of my favorite romances of the year.  It’s wonderfully romantic and continues what’s proving to be a smashing début series for Berkley.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop!

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: A-

Book Type: Historical Romance

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : October 11, 2022

Publication Date: 10/2022

Recent Comments …

  1. I read Ulrich’s book several years ago,it was excellent. American Experience on PBS did an adaptation of the book, it…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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