Courtney Milan, $2.99
Historical Romance, 2016
Well, to folks who often complain that the author would highlight social injustices facing women back in those days, only to then wrap everything up neatly in her stories, they may be interested to know that Her Every Wish actually stays true to the time of that era and doesn’t have everyone cheer and place the heroine Daisy Whitlaw on a throne after her stirring speech about women who deserve better. Okay, there is a convenient solution that pops up to solve the heroine’s problems, but it’s a different kind of convenient, so… yay?
Oh, and this is a novella, and on my part, I have always found the author to be more consistently entertaining when it comes to longer works. It’s the same thing here – this one doesn’t generate in me those “heavy” intense feelings that I normally experience reading the author’s longer works.
Daisy Whitlaw’s mother is not exactly altogether upstairs anymore, her father has departed the world, and they could all use more money. When someone died and left behind some money for the locals to start a business, therefore, she sees an opportunity to start her own emporium. Unfortunately, it is “understood” by the people managing the fund-giving that only men have the capacity to run a business, and therefore, only men should apply. They let her pass the preliminary applications, but mostly because they see her as entertainment, kind of like the guy at the pillory on that day when rotten vegetables are handed out for free.
Incidentally, this story has no nuances. The men who are mean and nasty to Daisy are really mean to the point that the only reason they didn’t twirl their moustache is that they lack the necessary amount of facial hair to do so. Not that this is a happy read for people who want to see the patriarchy gets the shaft, though – see my first paragraph. I hope this isn’t going to be a trend on the author’s part – the author is, to me, someone who is capable of doing better than inserting caricatures into her story to make a point.
Anyway, the romance. She once had a thing with Crash Override – oops, wrong story, I mean Nigel “Crash” Not-Sure-What-His-Last-Name-Is. He is from the wrong side of the streets, and his CV includes cheating in cards, showing many women a good time, and dreaming of big things, such as opening a velocipedes business of his own. In many ways, he and Daisy are well-matched: both are dreamers who want to make it despite being told by too many people that they are not good enough.
Unfortunately, these two are also touchy people. After they made love a while back, she inadvertently said something that hurt him, so he said things that hurt her too, and everything went downhill from that point. By the last page, I’m still not convinced that these two wouldn’t break up again due to something one felt to be a slight from the other person. In a way, these two are completely wrong for one another too – I feel that they would be walking on eggshells most of them in their lives together.
A big part of the story is devoted to Crash and Daisy reconnecting, and here’s the thing: the story isn’t long enough to fully develop this aspect of the story into something tender and impactful, and I’m actually far more interested in Daisy’s efforts to start a business of her own. I feel that the story would have resonated more with me if the romance is played down a bit more and Daisy is given more opportunity to do her thing. The epilogue just underlines my dissatisfaction. All of a sudden, everything is up and running smoothly for those two. How did that come about? The author boils all of that down to “after months of hard work”. Yes, and years of disappointment on my end.
There is a good story in here somewhere, but it doesn’t come out as I feel that the author ends up focusing on the less interesting aspects of the story and shortchanging me of the amazing what-could-have-been stuff.