Review: The Pursuit of… by Courtney Milan
The Pursuit of… by Courtney Milan was originally published along with stories by Rose Lerner and Alyssa Cole as part of the anthology Hamilton’s Battalion, and is being published on its own as a novella as of June 26, 2018.
If you were to describe this romance briefly, you might glibly say it’s an interracial gay romance between soldiers in the American Revolution. Because that sounds kind of odd and eccentric and probably not very good to read. But DAAAYUUUM. I have read several Courtney Milan novels and novellas and this may be the best one yet. The characters were well-developed, complementing each other in every way. Henry is a rich, white, titled (treasonous) Brit who can’t stop talking and wants to run away from responsibility. John is a freed slave who is slow to warm up to Henry and feels the weight of his responsibility to his family.
The story begins at the Battle of Yorktown, where John has Henry at the point of his gun but lets him escape. Grateful, Henry accompanies John on foot from Virginia to Rhode Island to look for John’s family. As they make their way across the country, John warms up to Henry and, well, this is a romance novel. It is also a funny romance novel– there is the best banter in this book! Henry is a blabbermouth and John is quiet and serious, but slowly comes out of his shell. It is also a smart book (of course, it’s Courtney Milan!). Henry is British but has memorized the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and is entranced by the depth of its meaning, or at least he thinks he is, before John points out the obvious glaring omission in “all men are created equal.” Henry is not overtly racist (yes you can be racist and in an interracial relationship!) but has to reconsider the meaning of privilege for a white man. Both characters evolve through the novel, without angst. Milan tends to write self-actualized characters who learn their lessons easily, and this novella is no different, but the humor and smarts really make it pop. I didn’t miss the angst.
The Worth Saga is a great series and I thought I had read it all until this ARC popped up in my mailbox! I hope its independent release will get some people through the wait for the next book. I’m also going to read the other novellas from this anthology, because they look fantastic. You can also read my review of After the Wedding by Courtney Milan, the latest in the Worth Saga.
Courtney Milan always hits the spot for escapist literature with a serious social justice angle and plenty of diversity. Her themes of equality and fairness are always refreshing, and she just writes good romance. This book hit the spot for me because of the humor.
I am thankful that I was provided an e-book ARC free of charge by the author. My opinions are my own.