Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan & The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan & The Blue Castle by L.M. MontgomeryMrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
Series: The Worth Saga #2.75
Published by Author on March 26, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 144
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.

Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.

Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.

If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.

Author’s Note: Sometimes I write villains who are subtle and nuanced. This is not one of those times. The Terrible Nephew is terrible, and terrible things happen to him. Sometime villains really are bad and wrong, and sometimes, we want them to suffer a lot of consequences.

Today I’m reviewing two books which, while vastly different, share a theme: women who think their life is over discovering that there’s so much more love and joy left for them. Both of these books made me smile in very different ways.

Somehow I managed to miss the news that a new Courtney Milan novella was coming out, which is shocking tbh because I basically stalk her GR page for updates. Dani told me about it, and I was SO EXCITED. For one thing, I’d be excited about ANY new Courtney Milan, but new f/f Courtney Milan? SIGN ME UP. Obviously, I signed my own damn self up by buying the ebook.

In case you haven’t followed along on my Courtney Milan journey, I’ve read everything she’s written, with mixed results. Some of her older romances simply aren’t really my style (more on the dark, melodramatic end of the historical romance spectrum, which is totally legit but not my thing), and I’ve generally been disappointed by her novellas. So I was really excited for this but also nervous, afraid it would disappoint.

You guys, it did not disappoint at all. Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure might just be Milan’s best novella ever. The heroines are 69 and 73, and they ‘re both running low on hope for the future for very different reasons. They rediscover hope and love through a joint effort in smashing the patriarchy. It. Is. Awesome.

The romance is adorable in basically all ways, but I think my favorite thing was just how funny and wild Bertrice is. She’s a spitfire, made of banter and snark, and I love her endlessly. Violetta’s always been very prim and proper, and it’s also fantastic to watch Bertrice rub off on her (oo er) a bit. They may be older ladies, but Bertrice has an energetic spirit that could defeat anyone. I also just love how she charges into everything. She’s not at all an old lady stereotype.

I absolutely recommend this novella. It’s fluffy and funny and involves patriarchy-stomping. What’s not to love about that? Answer: nothing; it’s perfect.

Tl;dr: Review in a GIFfy:

Bertrice to Terrible Nephew

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan & The Blue Castle by L.M. MontgomeryThe Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Published by Tundra Books on February 5, 2019
Genres: Classics, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The definitive paperback editions of L.M. Montgomery's beloved novels get a brand-new look for the next hundred years -- now with beautiful covers from renowned paper artist Elly MacKay!

At twenty-nine, Valancy has never been in love, and it seems romance has passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she finds her only consolations in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrives from Dr. Trent--and Valancy decides to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy does and says exactly what she wants. Soon she discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.

Obviously, I’ve read the first few Anne novels, though I always end up stalling out when she gets older and has kids, but I’ve never read anything else by L.M. Montgomery. I’m not sure why but I had the feeling they wouldn’t really be for me, which is nonsense sense I love the early Anne books because they’re the best.

The Blue Castle‘s a bit strange in some ways, but there was a lot that I really liked about it, and it even gave me a new story idea. While it is a romance technically, it’s not focused on that aspect. The Blue Castle really centers on Valancy’s character arc, which honestly feels like a coming of age, even though she’s already 29 at the start of the book.

At 29, Valancy’s single and never come close even to not being that way. She lives with her mother and an annoying aunt, and she’s basically become the whole nosy extended family’s favorite joke. All this Valancy has borne with kindness, escaping into her dream world. However, when Valancy sees a doctor secretly about a heart problem and discovers she’s going to die within a year, she decides it’s time to start living for herself.

Normally, I’d be checking out about the time the main character found out they would be facing death, but that’s actually when this book really came alive. Valancy, who has been such a pushover up to that point, starts sassing everyone back and it’s everything. She gets a job, she flirts with the bad boy, and she makes everything happen for herself. The whole book is testament to what happens when you are your true self and go after what you want, rather than trying to be what other people want you to be.

The romance is rather sweet, but it’s really only one example of the way that Valancy is changing and how she has altered her life. It’s frustrating in the end to see her make a bad call, but it’s also very understandable given where she started. Her emotional journey was powerful, and it’s still not a narrative I see much in fiction, so, despite obviously being antiquated in language, the book felt fresh.

While this isn’t at the level of Anne of Green Gables for me, The Blue Castle will definitely stick with me, and I suspect I’ll read it again sometime.

Tl;dr: Review in a GIFfy:

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