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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
I was feeling a bit guilty for all the aristocratic romances I've been reading and this series was the antidote! Milan's characters are very aware of their privileges and work hard to make whatever difference they can (while having delicious love affairs). They encourage each other to do more and BE more.
Also, it's refreshing to read books with really smart heroines who have other smart women in their lives. Too often, romance novels have one great lady surrounded by a bunch of silly ones. Milan provides depth and motivation to ALL her ladies.
:: Runs off to download the next one::
I love Rosalyn Landor. She's one of the narrators of which I choose books because she is reading them. But wow, she must have been having a bad day. This was terrible. The story was slow with out of place scenes included for shock factor. Naaahhh.
I did not feel this was predictable but it was your classic happy ending historical romance story. It kept with all of the general unofficial rules of these types of stories. I liked the story, it was traditional in a sense but I love this narrator she made it come alive.
I'm a fan of Courtney Milan's books. This is the first in the Brothers Sinister series (wait, there's a prequel) and I look forward to reading the next book. Her characters have depth and I like that the heroines are intelligent and passionate.
Minerva has a secret past that might become quite public which would ruin the quiet life she's resigned to live. Robert (a Duke) is secretly trying to right the wrongs of his father but Minnie finds him out. Milan fleshes their lives out as she slowly brings them together. I thought she did it perfectly. They ultimately see the goodness in each and find their HEA. I really liked it.
As usual, I loved Rosalyn Landor's narration.
Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada
This is my second book by Courtney Milan and I have enjoyed it very much that after this review I will be downloading Book 2.
But I have to admit that the only reason why I bought Book 1 was due to Rosalyn Landor.
Her performance is so great!!! Saying that, I enjoyed Courtney Milan's book and if I come across a narrator I don't like, I will just have to read the book instead.
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