Her Every Wish (Worth Saga 1.5) by Courtney Milan

This novella is the second entry in the  new “Worth Saga” series, and its characters were first introduced in Once Upon a Marquess (reviewed here). Daisy is Judith’s friend in poverty, and Crash is her former lover.

her every wish

Her Every Wish Front Cover (Independently Published)

THE PLOT: When Daisy enters a contest that will be awarding startup capital to the person with the best business proposal, the crowd mocks and belittles her. Just because the rules didn’t specifically state the entries must be male doesn’t mean a woman should try to take a job from a man. But when people start throwing things at her, Crash steps in to stop the violence.

Daisy and Crash had a brief affair that ended abruptly. She’s not sure why he wants to help her win the contest, but having him around unnerves her. As for Crash, he’s still smarting from their breakup. But as Crash works to build up Daisy’s confidence, they forge an emotional connection that was missing the first time around.

MY TWO CENTS: I feel that no one gets to the heart of human emotions like Courtney Milan. For me, that makes her work more than romances. They’re like studies in human nature. The characters learn more about themselves, and that allows them to become romantically involved.

I’ve seen some reviews claim that Daisy and Crash had a “big misunderstanding.” I don’t agree with that. A lack of understanding, maybe; but I characterize a “big misunderstanding” as something like: “a couple were in love, but her father told the hero she wasn’t interested, and told the heroine that he only wanted her for her money.” This is more like, Daisy doesn’t understand how she insults Crash by insinuating that he should apologize for who he is…a multiracial former thief of uncertain parentage. In response, Crash lashes out at Daisy, hitting her in her weakest spot: her very worth as a human being. Yep, these two have a lot of work to do to mature, learn about themselves, and other people’s points of view.

Also, I love how Courtney is making a point of writing for all people, all kinds of romances. To a lot of people today, an interracial romance is probably no big deal, yet the vast, vast majority of romance is focused on white straight people. Courtney’s got some very interesting stories coming up in her contemporary “Cyclone” series, and I’ll definitely be checking them out.

BOTTOM LINE: This novella was just about the perfect length to tell a complete story without getting overly long or being too short. I love the way these characters grow to maturity before they can connect emotionally.

TEACUP RATING: Four-and-a-half out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: The novella is now available in e-formats and paperback.

NEXT UP IN THE SERIES: After the Wedding, about Judith’s sister Camilla, should be out around the end of the year.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Once Upon a Marquess (Worth Saga #1) by Courtney Milan

Happy 2016! I hope all my readers enjoyed lovely holidays. I’m finally ready to return from my vacation. (Well, okay, I’m not ready, but it’s time anyway.)

At last, we have the first book in Courtney Milan’s new historical series. And even though the series is presented as a historical romance series, remember that Courtney Milan is never what you could call “traditional” (and I for one am glad of it).

Once Upon a Marquess Front Cover

Once Upon a Marquess Front Cover

THE PLOT: Once upon a time, Judith Worth was the pampered daughter of an earl, innocently flirting with her brother’s best friend, Christian, Marquess of Ashford. Then her life changed drastically. Her father killed himself after being convicted of treason, and her oldest brother, Anthony, disappeared while being transported for the same crime…all based on Christian’s testimony. Poor Judith was left alone to care for her younger brother and sisters. She did her best, but the family can barely afford to eat; her young brother is being bullied at Eton; her sister Camilla hasn’t spoken to her for eight years; and her youngest sister Theresa is “difficult.”

Then Christian returns to her life. Judith doesn’t even want to see him, but she needs help with a legal/financial matter, and her solicitor is feeding her a line. She needs the backing of a male to get some answers, and a marquess would be particularly helpful.

Christian is haunted by what he did to the Worths, but still believes he was in the right. He wants Judith to loan him Anthony’s journals so he can get to the bottom of the treason.

As the two reluctantly spend time together, their natural personalities begin to overcome anger and awkwardness and rekindle their friendship. But it’s going to take a whole lot of openness to really reach an understanding. Judith’s pride and Christian’s secret demons throw up some serious barriers.

MY TWO CENTS: This is not a “traditional” romance. It’s the story of a family struggling to survive after heartbreak and scandal. Judith has taken a huge burden on her shoulders: she wants her siblings to have “normal” lives despite whatever happens to her. Her very selflessness is a burden and she doesn’t even realize it. Her only outlet (and secret source of income) is working with clockwork items, a fact Christian recognizes and encourages even in young Judith.

I don’t know enough about Autism Spectrum Disorder to absolutely diagnose Theresa, but I’m fairly sure that’s what explains some of her behavior. Theresa is both darling and exasperating, and Judith’s refusal to abandon her to save herself strengthens her character.  The situation also giving us hints of Camilla’s character.

Which leads to…what on earth is Camilla’s story? I’m so glad her book is next. Judith has been writing to her for years, assuming that Camilla just won’t speak to her. When Judith discovers the truth, she is helpless, shocked, and appalled.

Back to the romance: Christian has some quirks himself, such as an obsessive compulsion to put items in order. He also has a somewhat Pythonian sense of humor, which Judith matches (see the hilarious conversation between “Fred” and “Bill,” complete with many puns). It’s not that they can’t be romantic; it’s just that Milan understands that to build that bridge, they must be friends first. And their friendship is beautiful, realistic, and relatable.

BOTTOM LINE: “The Worth Saga” is off to a promising start. I’m looking forward to Her Every Wish, the novella about Judith’s friend Daisy, and I wish Camilla’s book, After the Wedding, was out RIGHT NOW.

TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: Available now in paperback and e-formats.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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