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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Drea’s Audio Review: Brothers Sinister 0.5 & 2

Title: The Governess Affair
Author: Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister, #0.5
Format: audio
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Length: Novella (110 pages/4 hours)
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased
Buy: Audible, AmazonBarnes & Noble
Rating: 4-stars 
She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

Drea’s Review:

I grabbed this on a sale because I liked the first Courtney Milan story I listened to (also narrated by Rosalyn Landor). Serena isn’t as strong a heroine as Milan’s other offerings, but that’s because she’s had it rough. And considering the rape she’s endured prior to the start of this book, she’s actually ridiculously strong. The main issue standing between them is that Hugo isn’t going to get the money he’s worked a year and a half for unless he gets rid of the Serena problem, and Serena isn’t forthcoming about her entire situation. Once all that comes to light, there’s a little bit of internal struggle and then Hugo folds. The resolution isn’t as Hollywood happy as you might want, but it’s realistic…and that might just be more satisfying.

Title: The Heiress Effect
Author: Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister, #2
Format: audio
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Release Date: April 21, 2012
Length: Novel (280 pages/12 hours)
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased
Buy: Audible, AmazonBarnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5-stars 
Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

Drea’s Review:

The general premise of The Heiress Effect is that Jane’s sister Emily has seizures (but’s not epilepsy), and their guardian Titus is a nitwit who lets every crackpot “doctor” do whatever they want to rid her of her fits. Jane is of age and despite being a bastard, she has a hefty dowry (that she apparently controls…). Her sister is only nineteen and can’t get away…not even to go for a walk. Jane must stay unmarried in order to remain in Titus’s house so she can bribe Emily’s doctors to leave her be. Given Jane’s insane dowry, every man would want to marry her…except for her deplorable manners and fashion style. What had begun as simply not knowing what was acceptable has turned into a weapon to keep the suitors away. She’s counting the days until Emily turns twenty-one.

Oliver knows what it’s like to be outcast, and so when he meets Jane, he finds it difficult to watch how she’s treated. Bold, outspoken, loud Jane doesn’t seem to notice. He has important political aspirations to worry about and no time to rescue a woman who dresses like she’s trying to out color a flower garden. The Marquess of Bradenton offers Oliver an exchange, put Jane in her place and Bradenton will get his parliament buddies to pass Oliver’s reform act. The reform act will pave the way for Oliver to get into parliament himself…and he plans to one day become prime minister. So why can’t he stop thinking about the one woman who could never be a politician’s wife?

This is the fourth Courtney Milan I’ve gotten into (three audiobooks and one novella e-book so far), and I liked it almost as much as my favorite, The Duchess War. In this offering, like with the others, there’s no easy finish for the pair…no Hollywood fairytale ending. Someone has to drastically change themselves in order to have their happily ever after. The realization comes late in the game, almost too late, but it’s a satisfying resolution all the same. I think that could be applied to all of the Milan books I’ve read so far (and probably loads of other authors/books, too).

The Heiress Effect has a secondary love story featuring Emily and her Indian barrister (I was listening to the book, so I can’t spell his name). This was cute and gave us a little more insight into Emily. We also get some set up for the third book in the series. But the thing that had me crying at the end (and so far I’ve cried at some point in every Milan book) was the bit about Aunt Freddie. I didn’t see it coming, and don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but it was bittersweet. Make sure you have some tissues handy if you start this.

Some additional notes, the Marquess of Bradenton had a very Steff from Pretty in Pink feel to him. I really dug that. What I didn’t dig was Oliver’s nickname for Jane being “Impossible Girl” and her being okay with that. I’m not sure how any woman could feel good about being called that when she’s been outcast for not knowing how to behave. Maybe I misunderstood the intent, but it bugged me everytime he said it.

The narrator, Rosalyn Landor is great as always in this. She takes some getting used to the first time you hear it, but after dialogue starts up, you’ll be sold.

All in all, I give this four and a half stars, because it wasn’t perfect, but damn near.

Grab this if you like your historical heroines bold, outspoken, and unafraid to be themselves (and the men who fall for them).

Challenges Update: The Brothers Sinister 0.5 & 2 is two books toward the 2015 Audiobook Challenge and the Historical Romance challenge. I'd started off with a goal of six, but it's pretty clear I need to up that to twelve on both ;)
Tally so far: Historical 4, Audiobook 3

Hot Listens/2015 Audiobook Challenge


  1. It sounds like a nice historical romance series. I think I asked a book by her so I'll surely try soon when I haveit. I'm curious to try one of her books!

  2. A love story with a business man, an Indian barrister, that sounds original and good :)

    1. Definitely original for a historical romance!

  3. I'm on a fantasy slump! I've been trying to read different books but nothing is grabbing my imagination. Maybe I'll give histrical romance a try. Hopefully that'll get me out of this funk.

  4. I really want to pick this series up again. I read one of her other books in the series (can't remember the name of it now, lols) but it was good too!