Feminist Romance?The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
Series: The Brothers Sinister #4
Published by Courtney Milan on July 15th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 259
Format: eBook
Source: Library

An idealistic suffragette... Miss Frederica "Free" Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women's rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope...but she needs more rope, and she needs it now. ...a jaded scoundrel... Edward Clark's aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She's only a pawn to use in his revenge. ...and a scandal seven years in the making.

I haven’t read much romance lately. I do like a good historical English romance though as evidenced by my recent trip to Bath just to see the Austen stuff. I was going to read a Regency romance while I was there but didn’t get to it. Soon after getting home though I came across this book on a list of feminist romances.

Feminist romance, really? I thought the whole point of romance books was to find someone to take care of you. It seems that way in historicals. No matter how capable the woman is she gladly gives it all up for the man who saves her.

Then I read this.


Yes!  She followed that up with this fine speech.


“You should read more of my newspaper. I published an excellent essay by Josephine Butler on this very subject. Men use sexuality as a tool to shut up women. We are not allowed to speak on matters that touch on sexual intercourse — even if they concern our own bodies and our own freedom — for fear of being labeled indelicate. Any time a man wishes to scare a woman into submission, he need only add the question of sexual attraction, leaving the virtuous woman with no choice but to blush and fall silent. You should know, Mr. Clark, that I don’t intend to fall silent. I have already been labeled indelicate; there is nothing you can add to that chorus.”


The book is a bit more, shall we say – descriptive?, than I’m used to from reading my grandmother’s uber-clean romance books.  In her books people get married and then they may kiss and then magically babies appear.  In this book they got married halfway through the book and then they explained in detail how babies are made to appear.  I’ve said before how I feel about that.

Overall I liked the book.  It was a nice change from the traditional formulaic period romances that I’ve read before.


7 Replies to “Feminist Romance?”

  1. Interesting! I’ve read some feminist romance books, and have been disappointed before. I’ve found that, however “strong” the female character is, they still maintain certain sexist tropes: that dominating man, the woman who still needs to be saved, the powerful woman who’s never as powerful as the man in any way, etc. But that first quote you shared is amazing! It’s definitely one of my pet peeves that the woman always gets stupid over the attractive man while the man is still as charming and witty as ever regardless.

  2. I love when a Regency mentions Mary Wollstonecraft.There were women during that period of history who had thoughts and opinions about something other then men and husbands.

  3. I’m a big Regency romance addict, and I’ve loved Courtney Milan’s other romance novels that I’ve gotten my hands on. I’ll have to see if my library has a copy of this, it sounds perfect for me! I sometimes have a hard time reconciling my love of regency romances with my feminist sensibilities (although a lot of them do have feminist underpinnings, so I’m not saying that regency romance novels CAN’T be feminist). Plus I already know I like Courtney Milan’s writings, so that’s always a bonus 🙂

    (And the nice thing about the romance novels I tend to read is that they’re graphic – but if you’re not in the mood to read it, it’s pretty easy to skip over since you’re tend to get a good warning in advance that things are going to go down/it’s not essential to the plot/there’s usually only a couple scenes)

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