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The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
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The Duchess War

by Courtney Milan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Brothers Sinister (1)

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5563617,948 (3.88)23

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
The Duchess War
3 Stars

After a childhood in the limelight, Miss Minerva Lane has dedicated her life to keeping a low profile. Thus, when Robert Blaisdell, Duke of Clermont with his gorgeous smile and secret agenda, arrives in town and threatens Minnie’s well-ordered existence, she knows that something will have to be done. As Minnie and Robert set out to discover each others’ secrets, little do they know that their private war is about to become very public …

Wonderful premise, but weak execution mainly due to the fact that there are too many criss-crossing plot threads.

Minnie and Robert’s romance starts out well with some excellent stolen moments and witty banter. The author would have been better served developing this simple love/hate relationship rather than adding numerous unnecessary and confusing plotlines.

To begin with, the underlying cause of Minnie and Robert’s conflict is problematic given the circumstances, i.e., Minnie’s desire to help the working class and Robert’s interest in social justice. Based on this, one would think they would be allies rather than enemies, but this is not the case because of Minnie’s troubled past.

And herein lies the problem with the book as Milan begins to add a host of unrealistic characters and events that make absolutely no sense within the narrative and the setting. For example, the villain is a weak willed nobody whose social standing should not enable him to have any power over a duke yet somehow he does. Moreover, the behavior of Robert’s neglectful and manipulative mother is completely inconsistent. At first she spurns Minnie but then decides to accept and support her? Then, there is Minnie’s supposedly loyal friend who turns her back the moment she feels slighted, not to mention Robert’s illegitimate half-brother who evokes in him both feelings and guilt and jealousy. There is simply too much in such a short book and none of it manages to come together properly.

All in all, a disappointing read given all the hype and I doubt that I will be continuing with the series. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
First, let me say this is a keeper. I will re-read this book! I love how Minnie is the mouse that roars. With her head down and her voice quiet, she speaks volumes. The unsuspecting don't notice, but a certain Duke tunes in loud and clear.

With few choices to an impoverished, scandalized young lady, Minnie is forced to assume a false identity to protect herself from the past, but in protecting herself, she also silences her opportunities, until she meets a certain Duke who also has reasons to hide his activities (moreso than his past). Minnie quickly discovers his secret thanks to her astute skills of observation, carefully honed as a mouse living an "invisible" life. Together, they must figure out how to overcome the sins of the past, the moral crimes committed against them.

Ms. Milan threads heart-rending conflict throughout the book, feeding the reader just enough information without allowing her characters to disclose their secrets too soon, and then making the payoff worthwhile. We walk beside the characters toward trust, and the impossible decisions that threaten to breach that fragile trust. A tale of betrayal, forgiveness, trust and most importantly, finding love against all odds. Well done! Looking forward to the other Brothers Sinister books. ( )
  Karla.Brandenburg | Dec 12, 2017 |
Was very surprised I liked this but perhaps should not be given my love of strong female characters. In addition, I often feel the romance parts in Romance stories are overwrought and forced, yet this one felt real, like it was between two real people. This was a nice, quick read over a weekend. ( )
  HunyBadger | Jul 6, 2017 |
Milan writes historical romance with a 21st century sensibility. There's a strong emphasis on consent and pleasure and navigating the extremely limited roles available to women in 19th century UK. Chapters alternate between the two main characters, both of whom come to the wooing with heavy, heavy baggage that can be laid aside if only the right encouragement is offered. In this case the Duke of Claremont had a miserable upbringing that left him more empathetic to the plight of everyone else, and Miss Minerva Lane had a frankly horrific traumatic experience at 12. Of course the leads are attractive as all get out to one another, but they're described in a way that doesn't seem unreasonable for the time or implausibly gorgeous. The leads are intelligent and progressive and concerned with the big social issues of their day: in this case, the conditions of mill workers in Leicester.

Delightful. There is amusing banter and impediments to true love, but there is also the deeply satisfying effort they make to be good enough for one another. Sure, there's wealth and power and gowns, but the obstacles aren't silly and the stakes aren't trivial. Milan has taken the most appealing elements of Pride and Prejudice (the thoughtful characters and social commentary) and found a way to make them feel appropriate to both their time and our sensibilities. If you haven't looked at a romance since the 70s, or ever, any of The Brothers Sinister series is an outstanding gateway. (The series involves a group of friends from Eton, with each entry focusing on different characters who may play only a minor part in the others, altogether covering multiple generations during the reign of Victoria).

Personal copy ( )
  Kaethe | Oct 16, 2016 |
I haven't read any romance novels since my Georgette Heyer jag, but I was pleasantly surprised by the plottiness of this book. I finished the rest of the series, if that tells you how much I liked it! ( )
  on_elc | Aug 22, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Milan, Courtneyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Agentur LibelliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geiler, Ute-ChristineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Libelli, AgenturÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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For Carey
who prefers beagles over bagels
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Robert Blaisdell, the ninth duke of Clermont, was not hiding.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
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...
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"Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectled 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's 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."--Back cover.… (more)

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