REVIEW: Secrets of Milan – Edale Lane

Secrets of Milan - Edale Lane - Night Flyer Trilogy

Genre: Alt History, Fantasy

LGBTQ+ Category: Lesbian

Reviewer: Devon

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About The Book

The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.

Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and s romance that deepens into true love, then you’ll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!

The Review

In Merchants of Milan, Florentina de Bossi had a clear, singular goal: exact revenge on the man who had murdered her father. Despite facing several unexpected complications (most notably falling in love!), Florentina used her intelligence as well as the wealth of knowledge she harbors from her days studying with her father under Leonardo da Vinci to achieve her goal. Overall, Florentina’s journey for vengeance in Merchants of Milan was relatively straightforward.

In Secrets of Milan, the second book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer trilogy, Florentina again has a clear goal (this time it’s protecting the woman she loves from the mysterious organization that’s trying to assassinate her), but the journey is anything but straightforward. Although Florentina is the same brilliantly capable inventor-turned-vigilante, she’s now up against bigger mysteries and more dangerous foes. With no clear path to follow, she’s forced to use her alter ego (the Night Flyer) to roam the streets—and skies—of Milan in search of clues.

Fortunately, this time around, she’s not working alone. Madelena Torelli, the widowed sister of one of the most powerful merchants in Milan and a capable businesswoman in her own right, has ample opportunities to shine in this book both as Florentina’s lover and as her co-conspirator. Just as in Book One, Madelena is a deeply complex character dealing with deeply complex feelings. She spends the early parts of the novel wrestling with her fear of losing Florentina, just as she lost her husband years ago, a fear amplified by the terrifying strength of her love for Florentina. However, Madelena soon intertwines herself fully into the web of mysterious Florentina is attempting to unravel, contributing her own knowledge and skills and making several key connections that are vital for setting Florentina on the right path. I finished Book One hoping to see Madelena become involved in the Night Flyer’s escapades in just this way. Although she isn’t sneaking through back alleys at midnight, throwing bolas, or getting into knife fights, Madelena is now an invaluable member of the Night Flyer team.

Overall, Secrets of Milan drew me in with its nuanced, capable leads, interesting supporting characters, and suspenseful plot. Plenty of times I thought I had figured out exactly where the story was going, only to be walloped by an intriguing new plot development. We also get to spend time with a variety of characters over the course of this novel, including some that I was not expecting to get much (or any) page time. I was particularly pleased to see Daniella Viscardi, the wife of Book One’s villain, appear in several chapters. She’s a character that I think most writers would have simply used as a device to show how terrible Benetto can be, so it’s refreshing to see her actually thriving (given the circumstances at least) in Book Two. I hope to see more of her and her daughter Agnese in the next book (I’m expecting that we probably will due to some interesting character arcs that seem to be getting set up in this book, but I’ll try not to spoil anything in this review for those who haven’t yet read Merchants of Milan). Because several of the supporting characters have their own arcs going on in different locations, the pacing of this novel is naturally a bit slower than Book One. Also, like the first book, Book Two has ample quieter scenes, such as those of Florentina tutoring Betta and Matteo, Madelena’s two children, which also slow the pace. However, the story is still gripping with lots of twists and turns, and many of the quieter scenes are packed with interesting historical information, so there’s truly never a dull chapter.

If you haven’t yet read Book One (Merchants of Milan), I would definitely recommend checking it out before reading this one, both because Merchants of Milan is an excellent book and because it contains information that will help make this sequel more intriguing and enjoyable. That isn’t to say that you couldn’t read Secrets of Milan as a standalone, but it definitely builds on the events of Book One and is setting the stage for even bigger action in the final book of the trilogy (which I will be anxiously waiting to read!). All in all, I give this series my whole-hearted recommendation!

The Reviewer

Devon Widmer is a grumpy scientist by day, a scribbling daydreamer by night, and a sleep-deprived parent full-time. She recently graduated with a PhD in Chemistry, a degree which she plans to put to good use reading and writing a multitude of science fiction (and fantasy) stories. Devon’s talents include drinking copious amounts of coffee, forgetting where she set her glasses, and laughing at her own jokes. Also, although she often describes herself as grumpy, she promises she’s actually quite nice!  

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