The Suffragette Scandal is the last in the Brothers Sinister series. The connection to the brothers themselves is pretty slim, since the plot revolves around the sister of one of the brothers, Frederica “Free” Marshall.
Having received a generous inheritance from her novelist aunt, Free becomes “owner and editrix-in-chief” of the newspaper, Women’s Free Press. The paper reports on issues important to women, of all classes, including suffrage. Free isn’t afraid to get down in the dirt to get a story. She’s posed as a prostitute to gain access to a government run hospital for an expose. She’s a force of nature.
Edward Clark, if that’s his real name (it’s not), has returned to England to save a friend and settle a score. The Women’s Free Press is a part of his plan. He convinces Free, through blackmail, to help him foil the schemes of James Delacey, the man responsible for feeding her own writers’ stories to other newspapers. It’s a convoluted plan. I’ve read this part twice now and still don’t know why he came up with this particular idea.
Free isn’t just going to let Edward do whatever he wants, especially if her business is involved. She gets right in the middle of things, always a step ahead to make sure he doesn’t double cross her.
Of course, Edward falls head over heels for this strong willed woman who knows exactly what she wants. Of course, she falls for him too, in spite of the fact he keeps telling her he’s a bad, bad man. Edward protests too much. He says he’s a bad guy, while doing everything that proves the contrary. He’s got a past, and some issues to work out before they can live happily-ever-after.
Even though I couldn’t follow what Edward was planning to do to protect his old friend and get revenge, I still found the story entertaining. Free is a capable heroine, but she isn’t dirty enough to take on Delacey. That’s what she needs Edward for. He can shake out a mole and blackmail someone into doing just about anything. Free is still imprisoned by her place in society as a woman.
Free’s experiences as a woman in the media then aren’t much different from some of the experiences of women working in media today. Free is sent threatening letters. Some men want her to shut up. It’s obvious that Milan is drawing parallels to our own world.
I liked Edward as a hero too, though I thought the obstacle in the way of their happiness was a bit of a stretch. In the end, it wasn’t that big of a deal. There is a subplot with one of Free’s lady writers and the secretary of Free’s sister-in-law. It’s doesn’t take up much room in the novel, which is good because I had a hard time following the main plot. It was a sweet little distraction though.
I thought the previous books were stronger plotwise, though I enjoyed the characters in The Suffragette Scandal more. I’m glad the Brothers Sinister series is finished. It’s time. I was just thinking that I want to take a break from historical romances, when I learn that Milan has a new contemporary out: Trade Me. I’ve already bought it!
If you have a better attention span than I do, enjoy strong heroines, and good “bad boys,” you’ll like The Suffragette Scandal.