Short Stories 366:11 — “Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure,” by Courtney Milan

coverEvery now and then you bump into a novella that collides with you at just the right moment for it to be read. I read this one last year, during some pretty frustrating times with organizations devoted to romance who seemed to be going out of their way to actively make many of us feel like we didn’t deserve our own damn stories, and then… Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure happened. Boom. Mood adjusted up all the way back to eleven.

So what do we have here? We have a sixty-five year old woman who has been left in the lurch after dutiful service to a family for her entire life decides a little lie and a little fraud is a small price to pay to replace a pension that she should have earned fairly. A very wealthy seventy-three year old woman is her path to these ends—that would be the Mrs. Martin from the title. A historical women-loving-women romance set in London between these two women that’s just… I mean… Magic. And the terrible nephew is just such a perfectly horrible character and his comeuppance is such a riveting freaking delight in the face of more sober realities.

This was an absolutely perfect example of what I love in novella-length romances. It’s not a word too long nor too short, has enough wrinkles and tangles and turning points and emotional moments to carry the reader along at a tidy pace, and then wraps it all up with a lovely epilogue that had me settling back into my chair and forgetting I’d been ready to burn all of romance to the ground an hour earlier. Thank you, Courtney Milan.

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