Mimi Matthews returns this fall with the second installment in her Belles of London historical romance series. The Belle of Belgrave Square hits shelves on October 11, 2022 and features a bookish heroine readers are certain to see themselves in. We Are Bookish has an exclusive reveal of the cover, but first, read our mini-interview with the author.
Tell us about your book cover! What was the cover design process like for you?
The cover for The Belle of Belgrave Square was designed by the amazing Farjana Yasmin. She was the cover designer for The Siren of Sussex, the first book in my Belles of London series, so had a good feel for what I—and the rest of my team at Berkley—had in mind for book two.
It was very much a collaborative process. On my end, authentic Victorian fashion was a must. I also suggested that my heroine, Julia Wychwood, have her nose firmly in a book. She suffers from crippling social anxiety and reading and horseback riding are important coping mechanisms for her. I love how both are incorporated into the design. There’s also a gorgeous rose-printed blue background—a subtle nod to some of the fairytales that inspired the story.
What inspired you to write The Belle of Belgrave Square?
The love story of wallflower Julia Wychwood and the sinister, battle-scarred Captain Blunt owes a lot to myths and fairytales, particularly the stories of Hades and Persephone, “Beauty and the Beast,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and the tale of Bluebeard’s wife. I also drew inspiration from three historical novels: The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins, Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.
In three words, what can readers expect from The Belle of Belgrave Square?
Books. Bravery. Love.
Cover design is constantly changing and evolving. What’s a current trend in covers that you enjoy? What do you think is the secret to a good book cover?
I’m really loving illustrated covers at the moment. They allow for so much creativity, not only in the illustrations themselves but in the use of beautiful colors. When done right, the combination never fails to catch my eye. That’s the secret to a good cover, in my opinion: Something eye-catching and evocative that beckons you to take a closer look at the story inside.
What books do you recommend we pick up while we wait for The Belle of Belgrave Square to hit shelves in October 2022?
To get in the Victorian mood, you can’t go wrong with Evie Dunmore’s novels. Her latest, Portrait of a Scotsman, is a particular treat. I also love Harper St. George’s Gilded Age Heiresses series, which feature American heiresses who marry into the Victorian aristocracy. And… if you want to know a little more about some of the characters who appear in my Belles of London books, you can always read my Parish Orphans of Devon series!
Now, let’s get our first peek at The Belle of Belgrave Square!
Here’s the official summary for The Belle of Belgrave Square:
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…
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.