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
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 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 love being swept away by a new romance and thankfully Audible's ever growing Library means I get to indulge myself over and over again
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.
Such a lovely book. If you like period romances , I highly recommend Courtney Milan. And truly , if you like this venue make sure it's read by Rosalyn Landor. She is gem!
this is the first time I listened to a romance novel's audio book version. the love scenes were not as bad as I was expecting. I also think because the narrator was good. I wouldn't mind listening to her other performance. :)
And for the novel itself, I've always loved Milan's books. :) that's why I immediately grabbed this book when I saw it on sale.
The story was well told. I enjoyed listening to the book. I was listening to the book and reading it at the same time.
I'd forgotten Courtney Milan can be risqué with her writing. Most people like it. I guess I'm a bit old fashioned. It was a bit to graphic in parts. But the story was fantastic!!!
Loved what a nice guy the hero (Robert) was, and how he saw past outward imperfections and was fascinated by the heroines (Minnie's) intellect and wit. He was intrigued by her, but also attracted to her.
Loved how Minnie was such a strong, intelligent woman, but had a major imperfection brought on by a traumatic experience, and she is quiet and reserved and fearful of crowds.
The person she is at the beginning bears little resemblance to the person she becomes because of the love and constant encouragement of Robert.
I'm an avid reader of Romance and a true romantic at heart. I also read and review in other sub-genres as well. Happy reading!
Wonderful book! The writing is incredible, filled with passion and emotion. Robert is probably the best beta male characters I have ever read. I loved him from the start. Minnie is one of the sweetest and bravest heroines I have ever had the pleasure reading of. Wonderful story, unforgettable characters, I'm so glad I found this novel. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!
The Duchess War was an absolute delight! The writing was superb, the characterizations real and the plot filled with twists and turns but never frustrating devices. The historical backdrop was enriching and helped set the scene without being trivial wallpaper or a history tome / you felt like you were part of the story and part of the time period! The audible narration added much to the enjoyment as well! I can't wait to read more from Courtney Milan.
This is Chelsea, not Brandon. I'm not sure how to change that. Voracious romance reader, addicted audio listener.
What a sweet story! It reminded me a lot of the books by Eloisa James but without the major character flaws consistent with that author. These characters were always honorable and true, easy to love. The steamy scenes were light, so if you are looking for a passionate read, this isn't it, but it does have a smattering and those too are sweet.
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