Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind
While this novel is most definitely a Regency romance, its title character, Jane Milton, is not caught in a standard love triangle. Kelly’s novel breathes fresh air into the romance genre by giving her heroine and hero pure hearts and deep secrets instead of a stereotypical third-party interloper. Jane has been practically raising her cousin’s son, Andrew, for twelve years, and still cannot find acceptance or even respect amongst her family members. A neighbor, Mr. Butterworth, coaxes her to begin speaking her mind, and when she does, both she and Mr. Butterworth realize that the secrets they’ve been keeping may be worth revealing if those secrets can draw the two of them even closer together.
This novel is confusing at first because readers are not getting all the necessary information. But Kelly reveals information to readers at the same time as her characters reveal it to each other, drawing them into the action and making them care even more about what happens to Jane and Butterworth. Kelly is accurate and specific about historical setting, bringing in figures of the Industrial Revolution like Robert Owen and Jeremy Bentham without letting them overtake the inner turmoil of the fictional characters.