Authors I Love: Courtney Milan

This is a series that’s just what it says on the tin: authors I love.

These aren’t just authors that I read; these are authors I follow, whose books I buy as soon as I get a chance. These are the authors for whom I’ll read everything they write just because they’re the ones writing it.

This edition features: Courtney Milan!

What does she write?
Historical romance.

How did you first hear about her?
The Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website, when they reviewed her novella Unlocked.

unlockedWhat was the first book of hers you read?
I bought Unlocked based off the aforementioned review because I was going on a relatively short plane trip and thought it would be a good length for that. Not only was I right, I ended up buying and reading the rest of the books in that series before the end of the summer.

How many of her books have you read?
All of them. I am not even exaggerating. Every novella, every novel: I own them all. All of them on my Kindle, plus one paperback I bought solely for the purpose of being able to physically give it to other people.

I might have a problem.

Why do you like her so much? 
One: She has written (thus far) two virgin heroes and done an amazing job of it. Virgin heroines are a dime a dozen in romance, but virgin heroes are so much rarer. (Oh my God, I didn’t know I needed to read awkward virgin sex until she had a scene like that in The Duchess War and it was so freaking good I just wanted to cry.)

Two: The conflicts that keep her characters apart are never, ever contrived. She forces them into corners where they have to choose between the person they love and something else that matters tremendously to them. There is always a part in her books where I’m thinking, “I know this will end happily, but I have no idea how.” You don’t run into the issue of “This could be solved in five minutes if the characters would just talk to each other.” No, even with the talking, these problems are not easily fixed.

Three: Her characters are fantastic. I can’t count the number of times I’ve finished one of her books and, when asked what I liked, replied, “(Character Here) was AMAZING.” Plus, she has a way of taking characters I didn’t like initially and turning them around so I’m sympathizing with them by the end of the series.

Four: Many of her novellas involve middle-class/lower-class heroes and heroines (The Governess Affair, This Wicked Gift, A Kiss for Midwinter). Since most historical romances involve the upper classes—throw a rock in the bookstore and you’ll hit a million books about dukes and earls—it’s a nice change to see a different class represented.

Five: She doesn’t shy away from social issues of the day, like the evolution of rights for women and lower-class men, racism, and the awful medical practices of the time, just to name a few.

In Trial by Desire, the heroine, Kate, is breaking laws by helping women get away from abusive husbands. In What Happened at Midnight, the idea of a divorce is a radical one. In the Brothers Sinister series, we see a huge focus on issues like voting rights and other extremely radical politics for the time (particularly with Robert in the first book). Milan knows how to do her research, also, and when she fudges stuff, there’s usually a detailed author’s note as to what she did and why. It adds so much richness to the books to see them taking place in a world of change like this.

What’s your favorite book of hers?
Novel: Unraveled. Smite’s probably my favorite hero.

Novella: The Governess Affair. I have read this, I kid you not, five or six times. (Here’s a bit of my flailing about it.)

What’s your least favorite book of hers?
Novel: Unclaimed. I loved the book right up until the very end. One of the fights near the end just didn’t make sense to me because there was just such a disconnect between what the heroine was thinking and what she was saying. Both made sense, but it just didn’t work as well for me.

Novella: This Wicked Gift, because I liked the hero’s arc much better than the romance itself. My favorite part—the one I reread about 3 times—was the climax with the hero at his job.

Where should a new reader start?
I would go with The Governess Affair. It’s a novella, so it’s short, and it’s the first of a new series. And I just love, love, love the relationship between the hero and the heroine. The letters between them? PRICELESS.

If you’re up for a novel, Unveiled, the first one in the Turner series, is also a great place to start. You can read my review of it here.

(Yes, a lot of these are Amazon links. No, they are not affiliate links.)