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Have I mentioned in the last 5 minutes that I love Courtney Milan? No? Okay, then it’s past time I talked (again) about how much I love Courtney Milan!

I love how she inverts tropes of the romance genre to make something surprising and new. I love how both her heroes and her heroines are feministy to the max. (Heroines that can stand up for themselves are great, but I especially love a hero who treats a woman like the equal she is.) I love how she brings together people from different backgrounds and social classes. I love how her characters face real problems, but things always turn out okay in the end. I love how she depicts people who are trying to live meaningful lives beyond just locking down a romantic partner. And I love the banter. God, the banter!

Before I artfully collapse to my fainting couch, let me talk specifics. I read the entire Turner trilogy in just over a week, and I didn’t even intend to start it, much less finish it. What happened was, one day I tragically forgot to bring my book with me to work, so I perused my library’s ebook offerings to see what I might check out to tide me over. They didn’t have a copy of the first Turner book, Unveiled, but they did have a massive “boxed set” ebook with all three novels. It seemed a little excessive since I was just planning to read the first book, but oh well, I thought, it’s not like it will be any heavier to carry around. So I started the first book, one thing led to another, you know how these things go, and then before I knew it I’d read the whole thing. It was a trilogy about three brothers, after all, and I had to find out what happened with each brother!

If I had to pick a favorite, Unclaimed wins, but each of the three is great in its own way. In case you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend all of Courtney Milan’s books. There isn’t a bad one in the bunch. And what’s better this time of year than a happily ever after?


Love stories are going to get me through this crazy year. Outside, the country may be losing its collective mind, but in here it’s warm and cozy and imperfect people still get happily ever afters. Courtney Milan’s books have become my new favorites because of how she incorporates real issues from history. It makes me feel like I’m getting an escape, without a guilt hangover afterward for wanting to disengage. Social class struggles, women’s suffrage, lady scientists, evolution—it’s all in there and it’s all awesome. And unlike a lot of series I’ve read, each book is better than the last. (Needless to say, I have high hopes for the fourth and final installment I just bought in audio!)

If too-good-to-be-true, perfectly beautiful, socially demure ladies are your jam, these books might not be for you. Milan’s characters buck stereotypes and challenge their men and the world around them at every turn. In The Heiress Effect, Jane is a big, curvy girl with ostentatious taste in fashion and a sizeable dowry that makes her a target of all manner of unsavory individuals. A relationship with an up-and-comer in government who is also the bastard son of nobility seems impossible, but…well, you know in Romance World, nothing is impossible.

In The Countess Conspiracy, Violet is a botanist and an expert on reproduction and inheritance, but as a woman she isn’t allowed to present her theories herself. For years, her best friend Sebastian has published her work as his own (and since evolution is such a scandalous idea in 1867, his speeches often result in vegetables being thrown at his head by crowds of angry skeptics). Will Violet ever be able to take credit for her groundbreaking work—and will she be able to overcome the painful baggage in her past and admit her true feelings for Sebastian? Swoon!

In both books, the male leads love their ladies because of their oddness, not in spite of it. Neither Jane nor Violet fits easily into polite society, but both are fiercely intelligent and loyal. Finding someone who loves you for you and doesn’t want to file off your rough edges, that’s the dream, isn’t it? Well, that, and discovering the chromosome.