Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly - so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past.
Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don't get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.
But that is precisely what she gets.
Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he's up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he's determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy Miss may prove to be more than his match...
The Duchess War is the first full-length book in the Brothers Sinister series. It is preceded by The Governess Affair, a prequel novella.
©2012 Courtney Milan (P)2013 Courtney Milan
This book is why Courtney Milan is an auto download for me - thanks to her gifted writing you're transported back to1863 where she crafts loveable compelling but flawed characters who find themselves involved in an emotional, touching, sexy, humorous, heartbreaking, breathtaking love story that's full of secrets and scandals that'll keep you riveted.
This is the story about Robert (a handsome, caring, radical Duke) and Minnie (a 'Plain Jane' with brains) both of whom are emotionally scarred but for different reasons and the class differences and obstacles that they have to overcome. Their relationship starts off as a skilful game of wits but, as attraction between them flourishes, there's great chemistry and witty, flirty banter between the pair then they soon realise that their needs, goals and ideals are actually the same.
However, when their feelings for each other grow it forces them to reveal vulnerabilities, share secrets and undergo personal life changes but before their romance can ever progress to a HEA ending that they (and the listener) craves, the truth must painfully and publicly come out by betraying each other and only then can honor, acceptance, forgiveness and love follow.
Plenty of twists, interesting secondary characters, friendships, passion and a bitter-sweet romance can be found in this very entertaining and enjoyable listen but so too can we get a feel for the social divide and working environments between the Upper and Lower classes of a, thankfully, bygone era. Robert says such touching, tender, thoughtful words that you can't help but fall in love with him too.
Worth a credit? As long as CM keeps writing them and they're hopefully narrated by the talented Ms. Landor, then I'll keep buying them - so that's a YES and I hope you too will fall in love with Minnie and Robert as I did.
“I love all genres of books, however when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
Although this book is fascinating, it's not perfect. The beginning is a little slow and Milan holds you distant from the hero and heroine. I didn't quite like the heroine for a while, but then, I came to love her; I loved the hero almost instantly. Even though you can put the book down in the beginning, it is so thought provoking, so interesting, that is one of a handful of "best romances" that I've read in forty years.
THE DUCHESS WAR is different because of the intelligence and awareness of Courtney Milan. The central theme is the lasting damage that distorted, desperate, or narcissistic parents do to their offspring. Whether it is Robert's friend who is studying the controversial theory of genetic inheritance or the fanatical mother who mistreats her son to show the superiority of Christianity, Milan slyly unites this theme in its variations. Many writer have explored the theme of parental abuse, usually by the character's pain and her (it usually is a "she") eventual triumph of shedding her inhibitions to marry the hero. Instead, Courtney Milan shows a man who holds himself to an almost impossible standard of goodness and a damaged heroine who does the best she can for those she loves, even if it means destroying her own future. Then, in parallel dilemmas, the hero and heroine must decide whether to sacrifice their own happiness, betraying each other to protect more vulnerable people. Because life is seldom as easy as it is in most novels, Milan's books consistently explore the anguish, the uncertainty, and the grit it takes to lead a fulfilling and honorable life. It is impossible to read Milan's books and not to think, not to consider ethical problems, not to learn something about life. Most romances tell of fairy tale marriages with perfect happiness with effortless unity unto death. Milan's marriages are made up of imperfect humans, who often say the wrong thing, who knowingly almost destroy the person they love. Minnie and Robert have a vital, living commitment because both are capable of genuine love, honesty, and honour.
As always Rosalyn Landor bought the story to life with her wonderful narration
I am a singer and Celtic harper specializing in the music of Scotland, where I go often to study and perform. I love romance books because I like a light hearted story with a happy ending!
Loved this book! An engrossing story and a very interesting hero and heroine. I have listened to it twice and enjoyed it both times. I would definitely recommend it.
I love to sew and read. Now I can do both at the same time!
Great story, fabulous characters. This is the best of Ms Milan's books that I've read so far. I love her books for the strong women and the caring men who love them. There were enough plot twists to keep you guessing and interested.
Rosalyn Landor is my favorite narrator and she is what brought me to Courtney Milan's stories.
Definitely credit worthy.
I look forward to more books in the series.
CM is an audimatic buy for me. I love her writing style, it's close to Lorraine Heath. Loved the hero Robert and his brother the most. One was brought up in riches and the other in love.
I've just discovered Courtney Milan, and I think she's one of the best. This story has everything, wallflower and handsome Duke, mysteries discovered and revealed, a social conscience exposed, hilarious dialogues, and 2 amazing admirable and lovable and unusual heroes. Why the handsome Duke even struggles with his wedding night, and the way they solve it is so real-human-like. It's about 2 people finding love, and even surprising who is in need of it the most. I admire writers who don't copy the Romance genre's lists of behaviors but ones who create unique stories and characters and write well, without that sense of needing the cuts of a good editor to make the story tight. If you miss part of this story you need to go back and rewind, and the writing is so fluid and intelligent you forget about the writer and just get engrossed in the story. A definite credit-worthy selection. I'll be looking for more in the Brothers Sinister series.
Even more than I expected --and after reading The Governess Affair, a novella and prequel to "The Duchess War", my expectations were high.
“The Duchess War" is a very clever and brilliantly written story. It's intelligent, beautiful, humorous, heartbreaking, romantic, with political intrigue. It is so much more than your usual historical romance. Ms Milan's characters are unconventional, well-developed and realistic without being boring.
Our hero is Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, who is more than what he appears to be. Minnie, the heroine, is not what she appears to be. At first glance, Robert and Minnie should not work as a couple, he being a Duke and she of unknown origins. It's amazing how Courtney Milan's development of their romance is done with such skill and realism, in a way that is rare in today's historical.
I don't want to say too much, not wanting to be spoiler, but I do want to convey how very much I enjoyed listening to “The Duchess War", and to say, the Publisher's Summary did not do it justice, in my opinion.
Rosalyn Landor gave a perfect performance, as usual!
I loved this book. It had a great storyline, love, mystery and well developed characters. As most writers a bit of repetition on pints and a bit of page fillers but overall I was very pleased with the book. The only thing I wish I had seen more of was passion. This was my first book by C. Milan and I can assure you it will not be my last. I highly recommend it.
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