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A Fan's Playground
Brothers Sinister: Heiress Effect, Suffragette Scandal, and Talk Sweetly To Me, by Courtney Milan 
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Tiiime for the rest of the Brothers Sinister series!

The Heiress Effect, by Courtney Milan

So I loved this book and all but throughout the whole thing I was terribly distracted by the fact that Victorians frickin' LOVED them some wild colours in their fashion statements. Especially since this book is set not long after aniline dyes started to be a thing. Saying that Jane in her intensely colourful and over-the-top clothes is being strange and standing out from the crowd is incorrect! She would have fit in super well with her fuchsine and virulent greens and eye-searing patterns! Even the excess quantities of lace on that first described dress don't really stand out to me that much given the astonishing amount of frillery some Victorian fashion plates wear. And given that Jane's fashion choices are a fairly major plot point I just....I'M SORRY, I couldn't appreciate this book to the degree I ought!

Okay but actually it is a super great book, despite my pedantry. I adore Jane so much, she's so great, and I love that Oliver's character arc is to get over himself and stop accepting being pushed into his "proper place".

And I LOVE the b-plot with the romance between Jane's sister Emily and the Indian barrister Mr. Bhattacharya, hello acknowledgement of the complicated results of colonialism in a romance novel set in upper-class Victorian England, plus also stuff about how terribly people with disabilities are treated sometimes, plus also they're just so cute together.

Also I am delighted by background character Genevieve's total disinterest in men and marrying and how Jane facilitates her being able to do what she wants in her life. Go Genevieve go! And I really appreciate that the book didn't do the thing I was expecting from the beginning, of Geraldine and Genevieve being just generally awful people. They turn out to be perfectly nice, and once they and Jane mutually admit they've been using each other, the fake awful friendship transmutes into real friendship and it's amazing, though it gets tragically little time onscreen after they become real friends.

And Serena's sister Freddy from many books ago makes a reappearance here (she is after all Oliver's aunt) and I continue to love her a lot too. You have no idea how delighted I was to discover she's the author of those amazing/terrible adventure books that Emily was reading.


The Suffragette Scandal, by Courtney Milan

So many things to love about this book!! Suffragettes! Lesbian b-plot! More stuff about family - I really appreciate Courtney Milan's interest in portraying various platonic relationships as well, not just romantic ones!

(re: the b-plot lesbians, I am mildly disappointed that Genevieve is not asexual after all, but hey, lesbian b-plot, I'm still super happy! And she and Amanda are great together. Also Courtney Milan does have a plan for a book with a lesbian a-plot at some point in her future and I CAN'T WAIT, I just wish it was a historical lesbian a-plot!)

And the lead romance is super great as well. Free is AMAZING and I love her to bits, and I am charmed too by her charming scoundrel Edward.


Talk Sweetly To Me, by Courtney Milan

It's sweet, and I did mostly like it, but idk, something about the very strong way Stephen keeps flirting with Rose when she's not giving him a lot of encouragement back makes me kinda uncomfortable. Also him importuning her at her place of employment.

I did like the stuff about the realities of being black in England in the era, and also I loved how into astronomy and numbers Rose is! And I like Stephen's thing with being Stephen Shaughnessy, Actual Man. But the romance felt like it needed to be handled differently in the first half of the book for me to actually like it. Sigh, too bad.

But you know, I keep on not liking Courtney Milan's novellas as well as I like her full novels - I wonder what is about how she writes to a shorter length that doesn't work for me.

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