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The Muse of Maiden Lane by Mimi Matthews

Book Details

The Muse of Maiden Lane

A silver-haired equestrienne and a charismatic artist turn a scandalous bargain into a vibrant portrait of love.

Stella Hobhouse is a brilliant rider, stalwart friend, skilled sketch artist—and completely overlooked. Her outmodish gray hair makes her invisible to London society. Combined with her brother’s pious restrictions and her dwindling inheritance, Stella is on the verge of a lifetime marooned in Derbyshire as a spinster. Unless she does something drastic…like posing for a daring new style of portrait by the only man who’s ever really seen her.

Aspiring painter Edward “Teddy” Hayes knows true beauty when he sees it. He would never ask Stella to risk her reputation as an artist’s model but in the five years since a virulent bout of scarlet fever left him partially paralyzed, Teddy has learned to heed good fortune when he finds it. He’ll do anything to persuade his muse to pose for him, even if he must offer her a marriage of convenience.  

After all, though Teddy has yearned to trace Stella’s luminous beauty on canvas since their chance meeting, her heart is what he truly aches to capture….

Hello Book friends!

Today I’m reviewing The Muse of Maiden Lane by Mimi Matthews. In this historical romance, we follow the young Stella Hobhouse, who is in desperate need of a marriage of convenience. After encountering the handsome up and coming artist Edward “Teddy” Hayes, she may find her solution after a series of unfortunate events.

What I Loved About it:

Mimi Matthews continues her series in the Belles of London, featuring the final horsewoman whose situation is rather dire. With a verbally abusive clergyman for a brother, who tries to retain her inheritance, Stella is in need of a husband. And marriage of convenience can be a fun trope to use when a character is in a sticky situation. When they are desperate to marry possibly anyone to get away from an already unpleasant situation.

Enter Teddy Hayes.

I loved that Mimi took a chance and had a main character who has a disability. Giving voice to people who are capable of more than their disability including finding happiness and love.

What Didn’t Work:

Stella’s situation seemed similar to Julia’s in The Belle of Belgrave Square. Where Stella and Julia both had family members who did not fully see them or empathize with their feelings or needs. The difference between the two characters though is Julia is privliedged where Stella is not. I understood the challenges Stella would face trying to break free from her overbearingly orthodox brother, but all four women Matthews wrote in her Belles of London series were independent, forward thinking, strong willed individuals. Who all went against the social norms of a woman’s place in the world.

I felt Stella lacked that internal strength. To be able to do things on her own without someone having to step in and save her. Had there been more flushed out scenes towards the beginning of the novel, where Stella doesn’t hide away, but takes the plunge to be in Teddy’s orbit, solidifying the spark and the idea of a marriage of convenience earlier on.

A Few Last Thoughts

But overall, this is a historical romance, romance readers will enjoy.

If you’re looking for a marriage of convenience, grumpy + sunshine, and disability representation, then give this one a try.

Happy Reading ~ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blot – Satisfyingly Inked

Author Photo: © Vickie Hahn

About the Author

Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library JournalBooklistKirkus, and Shelf Awareness, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine.

She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. Visit her at

publication details

Pub DateISBNPage CountPublisherAge GroupSource & FormatReview Posted Online
19-Nov-24978-0593639276384BerkleyAdult NetGalley, Digital ARCMay 26, 2024

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Welcome Reader!

I’m Cecelia and I’m so glad you’re here! You’ll find honest reviews, book recommendations, along with other bookish essentials. So happy you stopped by!

– C

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