Talk Sweetly to Me, the last installment of The Brothers Sinister series went up on NetGalley yesterday. I requested it and downloaded it before bedtime. Somehow, magically, the Bug and the Princess (who are we trying to kid here, Noah and Lauren) were both in bed asleep by 8:30. (Thank you back to school!) Instead of being productive and cleaning my house, or being a good friend and reading Outlander (sorry Trish!) I went right to bed and stayed up until I finished it. This sounds like a terrific feat of endurance (for me, I rarely stay up late) but sadly Talk Sweetly to Me is a mere novella. (I just wanted to throw in one more set of parenthesis here.)
So what is it about?
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.
All of the Milan books that I've read have some kind of social issue. I like this, it gives a depth to the books that most romances lack. The same is true of this one as well. I felt as though I really got the issue this time. Most of the Milan books I understand intellectually, but it seems that the issue may be a bit historic, something that is hard for me as a modern American to really grasp. Not so much this issue. (I am intentionally not telling you what it is, since the summary doesn't say.) My heart ached for Rose's dilemma. That said, in a novella of this length the issue kind of overshadowed the romance itself. I'd have liked to see more how they came to fall in love.
Like her other novels, the conversation hits it out of the park. This one is very mathematical. Rose is a math genius with a real passion for astronomy. I have no idea if Milan's facts are correct (I can't imagine they'd be wrong) but it's really fascinating to see how they developed a study of astronomy in that time period. Also, I really want to try out a slide rule now.
Stephen is possibly my favorite Milan hero. He KNOWS he's a modern day star. He's willing to play that persona when the situation warrants it, and Milan somehow manages to both play him straight AND poke fun at famous people. (Think Old Spice Man commercials.) Stephen is the first to be open about how he feels and he's somewhat hurt when Rose doesn't understand what he really means. Despite this, he comes to her aid when she needs it, even after she's walked away from him. I love love love that a man with Stephen's past (which you really have to read The Suffragette Scandal to see) is able to become what he is.
If anything, I'm mostly disappointed that we didn't get to see any of the characters from the other novels and I wish this had been a full length book.
Talk Sweetly to Me is on Amazon for $.99.