I decided to start reading this novel mainly because it features a character that first (?) appeared on the previous book of the series, "The Suffragette Scandal", namely one Stephen Shaughnessy who in that book was the target of a villain.
Stephen writes a column for Free's _Frederica's _ newspaper. He's the man behind the "actual man" column, in a time when propriety was still much alive:
“I’m Stephen Shaughnessy,” he said. “Actual Man.”
Stephen has all the elements to be a great character. The thing is, besides what we already know about his past _ something to which we became familiar with in the previous book _ in this novella, there isn't all that much characterization...
Apparently he acquired a bit of a reputation as a rake, and that's about it.
He is compassionate, and seems to have become somewhat smitten with Miss Rose since the moment he saw her, because that's how "insta" love works, lol.
Here's an example of his compassionate nature ( the lady in question had been forcefully institutionalized because she had refused to marry a cousin):
"Dear Not Mad,
Normally I approach my columns with a certain amount of jocularity. (Never tell this to my readers; they would never believe it.) But your situation has moved me to seriousness. You must work yourself up to your desires, bit by bit. Before you can dance on your uncle’s grave (I assume this to be on your list), you must first visit it and stand upon the grass. On the next visit, be sure to tap your toe and hum a ditty. Before you know it, you’ll be waltzing in the cemetery.
Should you need a dancing partner, consider yours truly.
He's a good man, and I am sure that he'll be a great partner to Rose, I just can't help wishing that their story had been made into a full length novel.
Rose is a black woman, she and her family are used to all forms of racism and prejudice.
She has managed however to rise a little above her station because she has a brilliant mind. She's an assumed nerd when it comes to mathematics, and you can see how much these two are meant to one another, because instead of running away every time Rose starts rambling about anything mathematically related, Stephen becomes even more smitten with her!
“You, I wager, do not dream timid dreams. You walk with your head in the clouds.”
“Oh, no. The clouds are in the troposphere. My thoughts lie well beyond the mesosphere.”
In fact, she manages to pull him into the geek/nerdy side of "tangents and parallels" and...*runs away screaming*
“That wasn’t difficult? There were sines. And arctangents. I didn’t think any problem should be thought easy if it involved arctangents.”
All I can say is that there is a little too much info about it! *Okay, I still have nightmares with geometry and trigonometry* so I may be a little biased.
The writing however is perfect as always.
Once again the author gives voice to characters who normally aren't given one in this sort of literary genre.
In the end I just wished that their romance hadn't felt so "insta", because I like both characters, and I really think they make the cutest geek(est ) otp couple!
But this is a novella, so one has to compromise somewhat, I guess :) and in the end it does have its positives for the diversity it brings to the novel genre.
Buy "Talk Sweetly To Me"