About the Book

Title: The Belle of Belgrave Square (Belles of London #2)
Published: 2022

First Impressions: Horse Girl Energy
Meet Cute: Before We Met
The Lean: Beauty and the Beast
Dirty Talk: Non-Existent
We Need To Talk: Historically Accurate
Was It Good For You: Unsatisfied

First Impressions: Horse Girl Energy

I think I’ve made my feelings quite clear about cartoon covers. That said, this one isn’t so bad. I like the title treatment and the finial detail used for the Belles of London in the corner. And I like the inclusion of Juila’s horse because she’s a horse girl, after all.

What’s Your Type?

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Modest romance
  • Marriage of Convenience

Dating Profile

Military hero Captain Jasper Blunt is known for three things: 1) his cruelty on the battle field, 2) his hoard of bastard children and 3) his falling-down estate in the countryside. At least, that’s what the never-ending rumors are about.

Julia Wychwood is known for three things: 1) her horse, 2) her crippling social anxiety, and 3) reclusive, sickly parents who are constantly boarded up in their home or off “resting” at the seaside and refuse to let Julia leave the house for too long in case they need her to take care of them.

Captain Blunt’s home is in disrepair, but he’s out of money. And Julia’s parents have become so overbearing, they’re quite literally killing her. Blunt needs a rich wife, and Julia’s got a dowry and a reason to get the hell out of dodge yesterday. No one can believe that Julia would runaway to elope with the cruel Captain Blunt – not even Julia. But once she finds herself in the countryside, Julia is free to do as she pleases – she can read as many books as she likes and ride her horse as often as she wants. Blunt has only one rule: Julia is forbidden from entering his office in the tower. A rule that Julia breaks sooner rather than later.

Meet Cute: Before We Met

Julia and Jasper actually met in Matthews’ first Belles of London book, The Siren of Sussex, which I have not read and do not plan on reading, for reasons I’ll expand on below. But from what I gather, Julia and Jasper were introduced and he’s been smitten ever since, with a plan to make her his wife.

Their first real conversation in this book is about, well, books – something they both love. This is a story about book lovers and that particular plot line is one of my favorite aspects of the story.

The Lean: Beauty and the Beast

Julia and Jasper have a real Beauty and the Beast dynamic going on. He’s tall, dark and brooding, with a reputation for cruelty and a secret past (and present!), but he needs a wife stat. Julia is bookish and quiet with eccentric parents. She’s intimidated by Jasper but intrigued by him too, especially since he seems to be a bit bookish as well. And peeling back Jasper’s layers gives Julia a surprising jolt of confidence.

The only problem with this Lean is that it kept leaning…and leaning…and leaning, until it flopped right on its face.

Dirty Talk: Non-Existent

And now we get to the crux of the matter. I waited for the sexy bits. I waited a long time. Julia and Jasper were MARRIED for crying out loud, what could possibly keep them from doing the deed??? About 80% into this book I realized something: there would be no sexy bits. Any potential sexy bits would happen off page. I’d been duped. This was a *DUM DUMMM DUMMMM* modest romance novel.

Now listen, there’s nothing wrong with a modest romance if that is they type of romance novel you want. Reader: it was not the type of romance novel I wanted. I want sex. On page. The more the better! And there was nothing that warned me ahead of time that I wasn’t going to get it here. So I kept reading and waiting, only to be disappointed in the end.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Zero prizes awarded. Sorry!

We Need to Talk: Historically Accurate

If you love a good Kleypas or MacLean novel, then you’ll love Matthews’ writing style – it has all the makings of a great historical romance novel. And just like real Regency times, sex is something that’s best left to the imagination.

Was It Good For You? Unsatisfied


Obviously, this book left me wanting more. But if modest romance is your thing, or at least, it’s a thing you like to read now and then, then you will probably enjoy this book. It has all the hallmarks of your fave historical romance writers, but without the spice.

FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the gross cranberry ones) for writing this review. The Belle of Belgrave Square is available October 11, 2022.

Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.