Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan


The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister #1) by Courtney Milan
Historical / Victorian
Courtney Milan (December 6, 2012)

Rating: B
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Minerva Lane – Orphan, Mistaken Identity
Hero: Robert Blaisdell – Progressive, Duke
Setting: England



The tagline for this novel – “Sometimes love is an accident. This time, it’s a strategy.” – could not be more appropriate. From the moment that Minnie and Robert meet, these two are at war. Because Robert’s secrets are endangering Minnie’s own and, if it comes down to it, she will take Robert down. Duke or no.

Wilhelmina Pursling has spent most of her life trying to blend in. She is quiet and unassuming… until she feels cornered, that is. Then a whole other side, a side that remembers what it was like to be Minerva Lane, is unleashed. Minerva is brash and witty and cunning. And no one brings her out quite like the Duke of Clermont.

Who is Minerva Lane? And why is she pretending to be Wilhelmina Pursling? That is exactly what Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, would like it know. From the moment he sets eyes on her, while she’s hiding behind a davenport listening to her not-quite fiancĂ© talk about her, he realizes there is more to the not-so-mousy Minnie. She is the first and only person to ever see him—the man, not the title.

Because Robert is also not what he seems. He is… a radical. A progressive. He views his position, his title’s power, as something that shouldn’t be abused. And he takes the saying ‘the sins of our fathers’ quite literally. He spends his life trying to atone for his father’s misdeeds.

Together, Minnie and Robert were bound to butt heads. Their purposes oppose one another too greatly. A woman who doesn’t want to stand out and the duke who keeps shining a light on her. And so, for most of the book, they battle it out. They fight with each other and with themselves. And, I’ve got to say, it made up some of my favorite moments. I loved seeing Minnie outmaneuver and outthink Robert. She is not a woman to be trifled with! (Which, I must admit, is one of my favorite types of heroines!)

The Duchess War tackles social and political issues not often seen in a historical romance. It shows a view on the peerage not usually addressed. But… it’s also not as romance-y as her previous books. Nor as steamy. I would've loved more time between Robert and Minnie without the past or any scandal involved. A great deal of effort and thought went into developing each character individually, and I would of loved if more time had been spent on developing their relationship and the romance.

Which is not to say I didn’t find the history fascinating. And I certainly like the idea of a progressive duke. I absolutely adore Miz Milan for her willingness to take risks and push the boundaries of what’s expected in this genre. I’m eager to see where she’s going to take this series next.

Favorite Quote:

“I dare say you’d never tell them that you were entranced by the curl of my hair. That’s the sort of thing a man says to convince a woman, but men don’t talk that way amongst themselves.”
He’d obviously expected her to swallow that codswallop about her hair, because he paused, slightly taken aback. And then, he gave her a shake of his head and a grin.
”Come, Miss Pursling,” he said. “Men wouldn’t ask any such thing. They’d already know what caught my eye.” He leaned forward and whispered in conspiratorial fashion. “It’s your tits.”
Her mouth dropped open. She was suddenly very aware of said tits—warm and tingling in anticipation, even though he wasn’t anywhere near them.
He murmured, “They’re magnificent.”


Thoughts While Reading:

9.0% - "Seriously curious about who Minerva Lane truly is..."
18.0% - "Game. Set. Match!"
83.0% - "Are you KIDDING me, Robert?! You had better not, Mister... :-\"
100.0% - "Spent the last 15% of this reading with my eyes leaking. Sigh."

*ARC was kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review!


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