A new novel from Milan is always reason to celebrate: Her compelling, complex characters, combined with refreshingly original plotlines, are a breath of fresh air in a genre that often plays it too safe. Milan’s oft-prickly characters challenge the reader and each other, but the reward is a rich, emotional romance sparkling with wit and intelligence. Fans of the Brothers Sinister series who have been clamoring for a story starring roguish Sebastian Malheur will be happy to see him at his wicked best, bantering with his best friend and unrequited love, Violet Waterfield. But Violet proves to be Milan’s most challenging heroine yet: Stilted by shame and fear, her growth may come a bit too late in the story for impatient readers.

Sebastian Malheur has scandalized England with his research and speeches on inherited traits supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution, but he’s actually hiding an even bigger scandal: He’s not the author. For years, Sebastian has been presenting work done by his best friend, Violet Waterfield, the Countess of Cambury. When the strain of being England’s most infamous scoundrel begins to wear him down, Sebastian calls off his deal with Violet. But ending the bargain is more complicated than Sebastian anticipated, particularly when he begins to suspect Violet may share his feelings. But can he be the man she needs to help Violet recover from the trauma of her first marriage? (COURTNEYMILAN.COM, 250 pp., Dec., $3.99)

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Reviewed by: 
Audrey Goodson Kingo