Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan

20325481Title: Talk Sweetly to Me
 Courtney Milan
 Courtney Milan
Publication Date: 2014
romance, historical romance, victorian romance

The Premise

From the find folks at Goodreads:

Nobody knows who Miss Rose Sweetly is, and she prefers it that way. She’s a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper’s daughter who dreams of the stars. Women like her only ever come to attention through scandal. She’ll take obscurity, thank you very much.

All of England knows who Stephen Shaughnessy is. He’s an infamous advice columnist and a known rake. When he moves into the house next door to Rose, she discovers that he’s also wickedly funny, devilishly flirtatious, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But when he takes an interest in her mathematical work, she realizes that Mr. Shaughnessy isn’t just a scandal waiting to happen. He’s waiting to happen to her…and if she’s not careful, she’ll give in to certain ruination.

This novella is a the finally book Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series.


  • She blinded me with science! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). Rose Sweetly works as a “computer” doing mathematical computations for a physicist. She loves space. The hero finds it super hot when she talks about science. Not because he’s into science, but because the passion and intelligence and excitement he explains is basically the hottest thing ever. “She looked like a woman talking about astronomical parallax, and that made her brilliantly beautiful.”
  • Math puns. Not just bad math puns, flirting via bad math puns. Him: “Set me another problem, Miss Sweetly. My resolve is firm and my angles are acute. But beware–if I have to draw another diagram, things may be graphic..” Her: “No more mathematical jokes.” Him: “Why? Afraid we might go off on… a tangent?“And still later: “I’m afraid my calculus jokes are derivative.” This brings such joy to my heart.
  • Diversity. This is a historical romance set in England in 1882 with a black heroine and a white hero. I can’t speak to how realistic a portrayal of an interracial relationship in that era it is, but Milan doesn’t sugarcoat the racism and prejudice that Rose faces in her life or the challenges that it will create for their relationship.
  • Love based in like. After reading and being really disappointed by Sarah MacLean’s The Rogue Not Taken, in large part because the hero and heroine spent the entire book being awful and mean to each other, it was so refreshing to read a romance where the attraction grows out of just really liking everything about the other person. It was also super refreshing to have a hero who just really likes women.


  • My only real complaint is that this was a novella. It didn’t feel as forced as the two earlier novellas in this series felt, but I really would’ve enjoyed a full length version of this story.

The Verdict

4/5 stars. This was a really nice way to end to what is probably one of my favorite romance series.

At 98 pages long, this book satisfies the “Read a book under 100 pages” task of the Read Harder Challenge.

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