A Novella Collection Paperback – 15 Mar 2013
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This collection was my introduction to Courtney Milan, and it was good enough that I have since devoured everything she's published so far. The stories are set during the Victorian era, so in addition to dukes you have doctors and railroad barons and self-made men of all descriptions, which makes for a fresh and original round-up of stories.
The Governess Affair
He's a problem solver, she's a problem. There is no way this can turn out well, but I've never rooted so hard for two characters to find their happily ever after. This is really the standout here. This may be the best romantic novella I've read--certainly the best this year. If you read nothing else Courtney Milan has written, read this. The Governess Affair also serves as a prequel for her new series of novels, the first of which is The Duchess War.
A Kiss for Midwinter
This novella features Lydia Charingford, who we first meet as the best friend in The Duchess War. Lydia is an unconventional heroine who gets an unconventional hero. Neither of them are perfect, but as it turns out they just might be perfect for each other. This is the story of an extraordinarily awkward, but somehow perfectly sweet courtship. It's funny and sad and altogether adorable, and I love how the two main characters learn from each other as they fall in love.
What Happened at Midnight
This is the darkest of the four stories in this collection. When this story begins, you believe that both characters have hit rock bottom, but as it turns out the hole gets deeper. With so much to contend with, difficult circumstances as well as their own hurt and prejudice, it's heartwarming to watch both characters figure out how to dig themselves out and simultaneously give a hand up to each other and the people around them. This is a story where love really does conquer all.
The Lady Always Wins
All's fair in love and war--and in this story, sometimes it's not clear which is which. The characters here are playing some high stakes games, but as the title goes, the lady wins--and the hero learns that sometimes you have to lose in order to win the greater prize.
All in all, a great collection. The Governess Affair sets a high bar for this anthology, but the other three stories do their best to keep up, and the result is a great read that is sure to whet your appetite for more great work by Courtney Milan.
I have previously read the first story in this collection, The Governess Affair, and it is one of my favorite Regency romances ever. Like all of Courtney Milan's work, it is well written and both the H and the h are wonderful characters. The story is not your usual cliche ridden romance. The dialogue and back-and-forth between the H and the h is priceless. This is a prequel novella to the Brothers Sinister books by this author.
A Kiss for Midwinter is also a novella concerning people who appear in the Brothers Sinister books, although they are somewhat secondary characters. The H, the local doctor, comes off as rather a lout in the beginning. He's looking for a wife and has ranked the local girls based on how pretty he thinks they are. He's having a problem because he only wants to bother checking out the top ten, but number eleven (Lydia, the h) might actually be ten, he isn't sure. So he asks her out. He doesn't remember her from an incident years ago when she was fifteen and pregnant out of wedlock, but she remembers him as the medical student who attended along with the former local GP. He makes a complete muff of things and blurts out that she's number eleven on his “pretty” list. This gives Lydia, as they say in these books, “a disgust of him” and she tells him to move along to number twelve because number eleven ain't having any. Being contrary by nature (and a bit OCD and socially challenged as well) our H decides she's the only girl for him, and the chase begins.
This was pretty entertaining, and the doctor isn't as awful as he comes across. He's just his own worst enemy sometimes. Lydia also left something to be desired as an h, especially if you consider her behavior in the sequel novel, The Duchess War. Still, I warmed up to both of them.
What Happened at Midnight is the story of the rejected suitor who comes back to see the woman who married the other guy seven years ago and is now widowed. Both of them are aware they are playing a game, because back when Ginny didn't choose him, Simon made a threat. Quoted by Ginny upon Simon's return: “You claimed that when he passed away, you'd seduce me, and once I'd fallen love with you, you'd stomp on my bleeding heart and leave me weeping.” The two of them begin the game and he's the one who has something to hide, but she's the one who has something up her sleeve. Again, the dialogue sparkles.
These were three really well-written novellas and I enjoyed every moment of this collection.
What you maybe did not know about Ms. Milan is that she is a master of the novella form. A Governess Affair is the best novella I have read in the genre, and A Kiss for Midwinter is not far behind. What is missing from this collection is her third best novella, This Wicked Gift (published by Entangled Edge, not Ms. Milan, and available separately for $0.99). Just because the other two included in this collection—What Happened at Midnight and The Lady Always Wins—are numbers four and five does not mean they are not excellent in themselves. Ms. Milan does not write a bad novella.
What makes her novellas stand out from the pack? First, they have perfect story arcs for their length. How many times have you read a novella that an author felt she had to put out to introduce a series, but what she's really done is stretched a tiny (and often inconsequential) short story into 20,000 words? Each of Ms. Milan's novellas are tightly-written to fit their length perfectly.
Secondly, Ms. Milan manages fully develop her characters in this short form, even with the curtailed back story. In fact, several of these characters are the most memorable of all her works. (Oh, Hugo Marshall, you sexy man, you.) All the heroes and heroines are quirky, different, and real. The women are not flashy suffragists and scientists (as in the Brothers Sinister series), but in many ways they are stronger (and certainly more stubborn) women than those later characters.
Finally, the novellas are perfect because they can stand alone. While the characters of _Governess Affair_ and _Kiss for Midwinter_ do fit in the Brothers Sinister series, you can also simply read these novellas and enjoy them as is. She has not put any tricks in here, forcing you to buy a full-length novel to see how the story ends. (Same goes for This Wicked Gift and its role in the Carhart Series.)
Courtney Milan does not write novellas as an afterthought. I am a fan of all of her books, but I do believe her novellas are her best work.