Last year I tore through half a dozen of Courtney Milan’s books, finding them easy to read and with enjoyably modern, independent women, with similarly anachronistic men. After a fairly stressful Christmas/New Year, I turned to Ms. Milan for some comfort reading (and take advantage of the fact that my local library had gotten a new stack of her books).
Enter: the Turner series.
Turner #1 (Unveiled) is the story of Ash Turner (real name: And ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet Turner, which is the Bible verse Malachi 4:3 [excepting the Turner at the end]), who grew up comfortable, until his mother, heretofore a goodly woman, took her faith to unheralded (unhinged) depths, destituting the family through her devotion. (I will gloss over the implications of severe neglect and outright child abuse also visited upon her children by the mother. Because it is upsetting.)
Young Ash fled to India, determined to make his fortune and save his brothers. This being a romance novel, Ash somehow made his fortune, returned to England, put his brothers through Eton then Oxford, and has now decided that he would like to punish the man (a distant relative) that turned him away in his hour of need by stealing his Dukedom. The timelines for all this activity stretch credulity slightly, but again, historical romance.
Throwing a spanner in the works is a young woman, posing as a nurse to the ailing Duke, but actually his daughter and a spy for her brothers, who wish to keep a close eye on Ash Turner’s machinations.
Love, naturally, happens.
Milan’s books tend to be raunchy enough that I would not recommend reading them on public transport, but the raunch is pretty unnecessary: the heroines are clever, sometimes pretty, and imposed upon in some way; the heroes are clever, sometimes handsome, and driven. They are entertaining enough on their own.