Nobody knows who Miss Rose Sweetly is, and she prefers it that way. She’s a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper’s daughter who dreams of the stars. Women like her only ever come to attention through scandal. She’ll take obscurity, thank you very much.
All of England knows who Stephen Shaughnessy is. He’s an infamous advice columnist and a known rake. When he moves into the house next door to Rose, she discovers that he’s also wickedly funny, devilishly flirtatious, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But when he takes an interest in her mathematical work, she realizes that Mr. Shaughnessy isn’t just a scandal waiting to happen. He’s waiting to happen to her…and if she’s not careful, she’ll give in to certain ruination.
Talk Sweetly to Me is the final novella in The Brothers Sinister series. The other books in the series are:
½.The Governess Affair (prequel novella)
1. The Duchess War
1½. A Kiss for Midwinter (a companion novella to The Duchess War)
2. The Heiress Effect
3. The Countess Conspiracy
4. The Suffragette Scandal
4½. Talk Sweetly to Me
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Nice, but too idealistic...
The shorter length of this book didn't work. The complexity of an interracial relationship in this era needs a lot more exploration. Both in the character development, and in the explanation of the racial climate of the time.
I felt like I kind of knew Stephen from his appearance in the last book, but even then, he has obviously lived through his share of struggles. It's sweet that he is truly in love with Rose, but up until the very end, he seems oblivious to her day to day challenges. As a 'radical' journalist, one would think he would be a bit more in touch with reality. I don't think it would've harmed his 'happy go lucky' image for him to recognize how much Rose has to do to fit into the dominant culture.
Rose is amazing, but I didn't get a sense of who she is and why she fears what she fears. There are huge holes in her story that would've helped to round out her character.
Here are a few questions:
Why isn't her genius more of a big deal? There was a WHOLE book in this series about a woman scientist and all the controversy surrounding that idea; a Black, female astronomist/mathematician is equally amazing.
Why wasn't her history mentioned? Sure, her grandfather is talked about, but certainly there is a story behind how her family became shopkeepers--BLACK shopkeepers.
Why isn't there more of a description of her physically? Surely Stephen's attraction is physical as well as intellectual. Perhaps the author skipped past this in order to avoid the idea that he is only attracted to her exoticism. (kudos if that's the case)
I applaud Courtney Milan for attempting to tackle interracial relationships in this era and in this genre. However, as someone who lives the controversy of an interracial marriage everyday, the brevity of the book is almost an insult. I realize that historical romance is all about fantasy, but this story is a bit too unrealistic.
As always, Rosalyn Landor is great!
- H Daisy
- Maine Knitter