After running a rooming house for decades and getting sacked less than a year before her promised pension at her 70th birthday, Miss Violetta Beauchamps might be in trouble, but she has a plan. All she has to do is convince Mrs Bertrice Martin that Violetta owns the rooming house, that Mrs Martin’s nephew owes her money, and that Mrs Martin needs to pay her the debt owed to the house.
Bertrice Martin doesn’t suffer fools, even when they’re family. So, when Violetta shows up at her home talking about her Terrible Nephew owing money and refusing to leave Violetta’s rooming house, she knows what she needs to do. She’ll help Violetta force the Terrible Nephew out and give her the money NOT as payment of his debt, but as payment for helping her torture him.
Is there anything better than torturing a bad man? Not for Bertrice, who’s ready for the adventure of a lifetime at the age of 73, with the kind and lovely Violetta at her side.
Mrs Martin is as memorable a character as I’ve ever read. I adore how she says what’s on her mind, and ooh what a creative mind it is! Her ideas for driving the Terrible Nephew out of the rooming house (and her life) are wilder than I could have imagined and occasionally left me laughing so hard that I had to put my Kindle down because I was weeping and couldn’t see.
As sharp and untamable as Bertrice is, Violetta is admirable. Yes, she’s trying to deceive someone to get money, but she’s doing what she needs to do to survive. She’s not beautiful and is one of the “surplus women” of the 19th century, never having married and of a lower class. She’d put in her time working day in and day out for most of her life, only to be cast aside with nothing but the money she’d scrimped and saved over the years. I loved when she shows her backbone and how Bertrice helps her further develop that skill, and I was so happy for them in the end because of the joy and comfort they find in loving each other.
The Writing Style
I was a massive fan of Courtney Milan’s back when I was still reading m/f romance, so I was THRILLED to see she’d written an f/f one. When I heard it was about a 69 year old and a 73 year old messing with a total jerk? I was even more excited because it’s damn near impossible to find romances about women who are that old, let alone historical romances. Milan did not disappoint, because this book is SO much fun. Like I mentioned above, I laughed until I cried a few times, and I appreciated that the humour is balanced with some quieter, more poignant scenes between Violetta and Bertrice where they explore topics like the gap in their social standing and finances, and what that means as they age and become less and less visible.
The characters and their lovely romance, and the way they deal with the Terrible Nephew (who, seriously, is the WORST), were my favourite elements of this one. And honestly, in our world where awful men get away with some of the worst abuses and it’s constantly rubbed in our faces? It’s incredibly satisfying to see him get taken down a peg or thirty. Truly, that filled my cup.
For people who are looking for a historical romance that will immerse them in another time, this probably isn’t your book. There is some very good stuff going on, especially in terms of getting across the idea of surplus women. However, it feels like a very contemporary book because it really does deliver that satisfying “hey, you know the garbage men you’re seeing get away with stuff all the time? This will make you feel better.”
This is not a con as much as a note for our readers: it’s part of a series, but is the only f/f book in the series. If you want to pick up the others, that’s totally cool, we just won’t be reviewing them here.
I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun or laughed this hard while reading a story, and when I put it down, I was so excited I felt ready to burst. If you’re looking for something to take you away from it all for an afternoon so you can laugh, smile, and feel a bunch of great feelings, I highly recommend Mrs Martin’s Incomparable Adventure. I’m so glad Courtney Milan’s stepped into f/f romance and I seriously hope she comes back again soon!
Excerpt from Mrs Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
Surrey County, England, late autumn, 1867
Miss Violetta Beauchamps had made a terrible mistake. It wasn’t the taxing journey from London. Nor was it the coin she’d spent—money she could ill afford—on hiring a cart to come to this large country house that belonged to one Mrs. Martin. It had not been a mistake to have stayed in the parlor for half an hour, waiting to be heard, with her doubts eating away at her certainty, and wondering if the reason she’d not been offered tea or refreshments was because they already knew the truth.
No. She was beginning to think this entire scheme had been a very bad idea.
Well. Technically, she had known it was a bad idea the moment it came into her mind. It had just been the best bad idea out of a truly rotten lot. She should apologize. She should go. She should—
She heard steps behind her, finally, and her circling thoughts fled like a flock of geese rising from a pond at the crack of a shot. She stood slowly, her back cracking audibly as she did.
“Well? What do you want?” The woman who came into the parlor was not what Violetta had imagined. She’d expected someone around her age, but stuffier in every regard—her hair, her gown, her corset, her manners. The woman who stood in the doorway had hair of pale white, tugged up into an unpretentious bun. She wore a loose, pink gown, probably silk—comfortable and opulent all at the same time.
Violetta had done her research. She always did. Mrs. Martin owned this massive home and had a fortune in the tens of thousands of pounds stashed in the five percents. Apparently all that money wasn’t enough for her to purchase a little politeness. This comfortable woman had the gall to demand what Violetta wanted, without so much as an introduction or an exchange of polite talk?
True, Violetta was here to swindle the woman. But Mrs. Martin didn’t know that yet.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781075978418
- Publisher: Indie author
- Courtney Milan Online
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