As you may know, Courtney Milan is one my absolute favorite authors and I think she’s also an amazing person. I am so lucky to be on her ARC team, but also she’s an auto-buy author for me so this one has already hit my Kindle by the time this review posts. Anyway, I’m telling you all of that up front so you know I got the book for free, but then I also paid for a copy. You know. The important thing is that this review was not paid for and is all honest, but I think the FCC cares or something about how I got the book. (Lol, I’m a lawyer.) Let’s get to the important part, shall we?
This beautiful cover cloaks the most incredible women getting revenge on Mrs. Martin’s terrible nephew and falling in love with each other along the way. And they’re much older than our normal 20 something romance heroines and that was delightful! More specifically, Mrs. Martin is in her early 70s and Miss Beauchamps is in her late 60s and where Mrs. Martin hasn’t wasted time being “nice” in many decades, Miss Beauchamps is caged by the need to be nice. See this amazing description of Violetta (aka Miss Beauchamps).
“I’m—how did you put it? I’m nice. At least, I do what people want. I don’t make trouble. I’ve been doing it all my life, and I’m used to it.” She seemed to catch herself, shaking her head and slicing cheese. “You say whatever you want, and I feel like I’m always screaming, deep inside where nobody can hear what I’m doing. It’s become so bad that I’m afraid I might start doing it out loud.”
But then Violetta is sacked, not long before her pension was to come due, and if she can just swindle Mrs. Martin out of the money for her nephew’s room in the lodging house she’s been managing, she’ll survive. Only Mrs. Martin won’t give a single penny to her Terrible Nephew. What she does instead is head off to London with Violetta to ensure her nephew has an absolute terrible time.
Courtney Milan said on Twitter that this was not her most nuanced book and while I’d say that’s true, it’s a book that gave me such joy. I help people get domestic violence protective orders in my day job and so I’m pretty much constantly dealing with people like Bertrice’s Terrible Nephew so I was honestly pretty gleeful as Bertrice and Violetta ruined his life. It was glorious. And I, honestly didn’t need nuance.
Also, this book and Courtney’s Author’s Note (make sure you read the AN) discussed the concept of “surplus women” and my blood pressure, y’all. It did lead to this line though:
“You’re not surplus,” Bertrice said. “No woman has ever needed a man to be enough.”
It’s such a beautiful line. I love it so much.
Honestly I could quote so much of this book at you, but like, that’s not the point of a book review so, I shall leave you with this one last line and encourage you to pick up the book ASAP.
“I never screamed aloud, and yet I lost my voice from disuse.”