Title: Talk Sweetly to Me (Brothers Sinister #4.5)
Author: Courtney Milan
Publication Date: August 18th 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
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.
“I don’t want to dream timid dreams.” Her voice was soft, with just a hint of a catch in it. “I want to dream large, vivid ones. I want to dream that you’ll fall in love with me. That…” She bit her lip, but continued on. “That I could dare to reach out to you, that I needn’t fear what would come.”
Typically, Courtney Milan is hit or miss with me. I can go from loving one book in a series by her and then fail to be enchanted by the next one. Talk Sweetly to Me, which follows a brilliant black mathematician working for an observatory, falls somewhere in between.
Overall, I enjoyed Stephen and Rose as individuals and a couple. They were cute. It is very much a suddenly reformed rake meets innocent girl narrative. However, I do I wish there were more interactions and development between them individually and together.
The thing I really enjoyed about Rose was her love of math and astronomy. There are a lot of romances out there with STEM heroines that don’t really feel they are about STEM heroines. That was not the case with Rose. Her passion for the universe was at the forefront and she talks about it constantly (and accurately too. Thank you Courtney Milan). I enjoyed that a lot.
I loved how much astronomy was focused on in the story. When I first decided to read Talk Sweetly to Me, it was because I was looking for more books to add to my forthcoming STEM Heroines in Romance Masterpost. I knew astronomy was going to be an aspect but I also saw that Rose was a mathematician so I didn’t know what to expect. I’ll go ahead and say that the story is much more about Rose as an astronomer than Rose as a mathematician because of how much astronomy is focused on. There’s a lot of cool context and dialogue about actual things that astronomers did like finding the parallax of objects (which is math but for the purpose of astronomy). Because I’m an astrophysicist major it was entertaining to see those conversations, but if you’re not interested in astronomy I don’t know how engrossing a lot of the story will be because of that.
I liked a lot of the bare bones to Talk Sweetly to Me. So, why didn’t I rate it higher? Well, I wanted more. I rarely rate novellas highly. I’m a development person and achieving deep, meaningful development over the course of a hundred pages or less isn’t realistic. Since I liked a lot of aspects of the story, it was disappointing that the components weren’t taken advantage of in a full length story. That being said, I have only read one other book in the series and there might be more backstory in the other books in the series which I didn’t get because I haven’t read them. Even then, there still could’ve been more on the character side, especially with Stephen (who did like. I simply wanted more from him!!)
If you want a short romance read and like astronomy and seeing racists get punched, then I would recommend Talk to Me Sweetly.