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The Duchess War

The Brothers Sinister, Book 1
Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
Series: The Brothers Sinister, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,595 ratings)
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This Story Is Flirty

Publisher's Summary

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

Featured Article: Nine Incredible Historical Romance Audiobooks


Interweaving drama, tension, and passion with accurate facts from the past and authentic period details, down to petticoats—that’s the calling of a historical romance author. Here’s a spotlight on nine masters of the genre.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Happy continuation for The Brothers Sinister

This is the continuing story from the novella The Governess Affair. Although that one was short it had a great deal of content. I couldn't wait for this first book.
The series seemed to focus on three best friends. Robert, The Duke. Oliver, the bastard brother of the duke and Sebastian, the cousin. The series has expanded to sisters, friends, etc. Which has been fine for me. I hope to see it never end..lol.
Here we get an introduction to Oliver, the son of Serena from The Governess and bastard brother. We get some insight into the relationship between the brothers and their love for one another as well as meet Sebastian and Violet.
This book is about Robert, The Duke and Minerva (Minnie) and how they meet and fall in love. The book follows some great ins and outs and the humor never fails.
Keep an eye on Miss Charingford. She's the next in line with the novella, A Kiss for Midwinter.
Last but never least is the wonderful narration of Rosalyn Landor. Her voices are amazing and her dramatizations enhance the characters in the stories.
I love the series!

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Emotionally Gripping

Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Tracking Books Read Review (Short)
Overall Rating: 4.25
Story Rating: 4.25
Character Rating: 4.25

Audio Rating: 4.50 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: The Duchess War was just as heavy as the novella was--these are not light historicals but they are good!

Overall Thoughts: I am just going to say it: Courtney Milan goes for the emotional gut every dang time and won't stop until she has rung you dry! These are not for those that prefer light historicals. The issues addressed in this series are real, raw, and sometimes downright emotionally gripping. In this one, the leading lady dealt with something that is pretty easy to identify now but back then would have been paralyzing. I love how Courtney dealt with it and made the love story happen around it. I was less emotionally gutted by the leading guy, Robert, but he was a great match for Minerva. I think together they brought out each others better qualities.

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Rosalyn Landor / Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins


Rosalyn is one of my favorite historical romance narrators! I just love how she makes the characters come alive. This was another knock out of the park and I think Rosalyn/Courtney make a good audiobook match set!

Final Thoughts: Emotionally gripping and extremely fulfilling.

11 people found this helpful

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Unique and engrossing

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.

7 people found this helpful

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Another great listen

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.

6 people found this helpful

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A multidimensional listen

Setting: Leister, England 1863
Genre: Romance with a bit of mystery and suspense
Narration was wonderful. Rosalyn Landor has a pleasant voice with excellent vocal range. She can do masculine as well as feminine, and different English accents as well. I love when a reader gets that right.
This is the first in The Brothers Sinister series. It was preceded by the novella The Governess Affair (which I read in electronic form, so you will have to look for my review of that on Goodreads).
The heroine, Minnie, is a wallflower on purpose. There was a scandal in her past that she escaped by changing her name and living with her great-aunts, but she is fearful of being found out. She needs to marry to see to the welfare of the aunts who took her in. Her only real prospect is the oafish son of the local distiller.
Robert Blaisdell, the ninth Duke of Clermont is the hero. He is in Leister to right some of the wrongs of his father. He has issues having to do with his upbringing, and he is a political radical. But he is kind and caring, and sees in Minnie a strong, good woman. They fall in love, but it is impossible because he is a peer and she is a lady of good standing in the community. He is too high socially to marry her, and he can't, because of his ethics, take her as a mistress.
The villain is Captain Stevens. He is an arse who oversteps his authority and uses his position for personal gain. He thinks Minnie is responsible for handbills encouraging the workers to unionize. He investigates her because he doesn't believe she is who she says she is.
Minnie's best friend is Lydia. She is one of the key players in this novel, and has her own story in the novella A Kiss for Midwinter.
Another key player in the story is Oliver Marshall, Robert's half brother. His story is book 2 in this series.
Overall, this was an enjoyable listen. In some places it seemed to bog down, like it should be ready to wrap up. But it's a multidimensional story with a very satisfying conclusion. It's worth the credit and the time.

4 people found this helpful

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This book is a standout!

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.

4 people found this helpful

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A wonderful story!

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.

7 people found this helpful

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The narrator makes the story....

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend anyone who values the power of great phonetic pronunciation.

What did you like best about this story?

The subtlety of the most apparent intimacy of the main characters makes the main sub plot though serious quite gentle.

Have you listened to any of Rosalyn Landor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first time I have listened to Rosalyn Landor and I will say that I will now search for her performances with great intent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have absolutely loved to have listened to this book start to finish

2 people found this helpful

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WOW!!!

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.

6 people found this helpful

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A Totally Unique Historical Romance

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!


6 people found this helpful

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  • Leigh UK
  • 05-04-19

Love a leading lady with a brain!

A real brain that doesn't go on vacation so she can make stupid decisions to help the storyline progress. Beautifully written Ms Milan. Thank you for representing smart women who love romance! I'm off to read the next in series
*claps hands excitedly *

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  • DeadNotSleeping
  • 08-21-18

Love Rosalyn Landor's reading

Courtney Milan's stories are highly satisfying and I love Rosalyn Landor's readings. If anything I thought the story was a little bit long and drawn out, and the pacing might have been better if the length had been the equivalent of ~8 hours instead of 11. The shorter novellas written by Milan feel like they have slightly better pacing overall. However, I can hardly complain that I have several extra hours of listening time! <3

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  • melina hickman
  • 09-27-17

Excellent

Excellent story, even though read the book and loved it, the narrator did a marvellous job

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  • Julia
  • 09-06-15

Rosalind Landor is always worth a listen

What did you like most about The Duchess War?

That the story was just a bit different from the usual. Imperfections to overcome, battering between friends that seemed real.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Duchess War?

The epilogue where a hardened charactared showed some softness.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The train scene. Very funny indeed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scene on the bench before the prison. Believable, even though it was unbelievable.

Any additional comments?

Not quite as predictable as the usual story lines, I really enjoyed the book.

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  • Hannah
  • 01-25-15

Brilliant

What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

While you listen to Rosalyn Landor voicing a male characters you forget that she is a female. All her characters voices are different and perfectly appropriate.

Any additional comments?

I do listen to quite a few books in this style but this is by far the best. The characters are not generic, the marital relations are more realistic and the story line is compelling. I fell head over heals in love with the characters.