Last week I had a headache, and I turned off the TV, and turned on my Kindle, onto which I had previously downloaded The Governess Affair, at some point when Amazon was giving it away. And then I spent the rest of the day, and much of the night, reading the entire rest of the series. Which I know is Amazon’s sly marketing ploy – “Reel them in with one story and the simplest ‘One click here to buy the next book’ tactic” – but, what can I tell you? If the books are good, that definitely works. It is a good thing I had a leftover gift-card balance, is all I can say. (Also, I will tell you that as of this writing, The Governess Affair is still free, so if you’re interested, it won’t cost you anything to try it out. She says, playing right into their hands.)
These are regency romances, so dukes and countesses and heiress abound, along with plenty of misunderstandings, social mores that must be observed (or else there will be dire consequences), gossips, wallflowers, mistresses, mysteries and rakes. If you read the genre, you know the general idea, but these are well constructed and often slightly skewed versions of the same old stories. I really appreciated Milan’s ability to take well-tread territories (like the overly ebullient social outsider – as in The Heiress Effect –or the rake with a shocking secret – as in The Countess Conspiracy) and add a little twist to them. It’s nice to find, after so many years of reading the same types of books, that there are still surprises out there.
Including, but not limited to: sarcastic doctors who have Opinions about Things; Evolutionists who face some unique challenges; Panic Attacks in crowds that come from a realistic experiences and don’t magically disappear just because the heroine wants them to; virgins in unexpected places; and enough back and forth banter to fill any modern day rom-com.
My personal favorite of the lot was The Countess Conspiracy, in part because I am a sucker for pining for your best friend, and in part because there’s so much interesting Science! and who gets to do the science is just as interesting. There’s supposedly another two books to come in the series (according to Goodreads, anyways): The Mistress Rebellion & Talk Sweetly to Me, both with anticipated publication dates of this year. (Where there are already star ratings for both books, even though there weren’t any published reviews for either book, which confuses me.) Although I have no idea who that last book will be about, we have already been introduced to the heroine of The Mistress Rebellion (the younger sister of one of the Brother’s Sinister), and I quite liked her, so I’m looking forward to her story as well.
As a whole, the series gets 4 stars: mostly due to The Countess Conspiracy & The Governess Affair; the remaining books all get 3 stars. (These are reviews 7-11)