Wonderful Novella! This is my first time reading Courtney Milan, and I can guarantee it will NOT be my last. Usually I don't go for historicals, but I LOVED this story. It was a fast read, and a wonderful introduction to Courtney Milan's work. Thanks goes, yet again, to Sarah at Smart Bitches for recommending this.
Evan, in his youth, teases Elaine to the point of cruelty. She becomes a laughing stock of society, and remains unmarried and taunted after 11 Seasons. Evan, for his part, left and became a mountaineer, the entire time regretting his behavior towards Elaine and never imagining what he started so long ago would continue over a decade later.
This Novella is wonderfully written. You really believe Evan's remorse is honest and his love for her is real. He proves it again and again by groveling, both privately and publicly. YAY! Finally! A hero who knows how to really grovel! I also loved that he understands how wrong he was, and that he won't get Elaine's immediate forgiveness. In fact, he expects it to take a time, and proves to her again and again that her feelings are more important to him than his own. The timetable for forgiveness is hers. He behaves like a gentleman in every sense of the word.
Elaine, for her part, doesn't make it easy, but neither does she dismiss him outright. She makes him earn her trust, as she should, and she confronts him with his poor behavior and what it has done to her life, but she doesn't take it to an extreme, either. Each time Evan proves he's not the callow lad he was before, Elaine trusts him a little more.
Ms. Milan very deftly walks the line between having real conflict for the characters to overcome, without having conflict just to move the story along. She made her characters jump through appropriate but not excessive hoops. Best of all, I feel like I got a complete story, and if it had been a full length novel, it would have dragged on, but as a Novella it's a perfect length.
Off to check out her backlist and load up the Kindle…