The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

source: purchased
title: The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister)
author: Courtney Milan
published: September 10, 2013
pages: 283
genre: historical romance
first line: Robert Blaisdell, the ninth Duke of Clermont was not hiding.
rated: totally worth it

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…

my thoughts:
I have had The Duchess War sitting in my Nook for a little while now after purchasing it on recommendation from SBTB. They are fans of Courtney Milan over there and it is one of my “go to” blogs for romance recommendations and great reviews.

The Duchess War is my first time reading this author and this is book 1 in The Brothers Sinister series.
For some reason, it took me forever to get through this book. I refused to give up on it and read it over the course of a few weeks in between other reads. I can’t pinpoint why it took me that long, I may just have not been in the mood for it.It is actually a good historical romance, nicely written too. It is smart and sexy. Smexy. Some of these characters are having discussions about science and Darwinism.

The storyline centers on Miss Minerva Lane, who gives the appearance of being a shy, simple woman, but who really is independent and can think for herself. She has been raised by her aunts and is expected to marry a man she does not love, but who will save her from spinsterhood. Minerva has a past that she is hiding. She is not what is seen as a classic beauty, she wears spectacles and has a scar on her face. She suffers from crippling anxiety when faced with a crowd.

Enter Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont. Robert is in town to right what his father did wrong. One of his main hang-ups in life is people thinking that he is anything like his abusive father.
Both Minnie and Robert are involved in lobbying for workers rights and Robert secretly writes radical pamphlets. There are people looking for the author of said pamphlets. Robert wants to use his power as a Duke to help the workers and he knows that he can help make a change.

Minnie sees that Robert is not your average womanizing and stuck up Duke, he has a loyal heart and cares beyond materialistic things. He does not believe in the rules the ton follow, such as marriage partners being determined by social standing.

What I enjoyed here is that the author weaves themes of religion, science, family issues really well into the plot. The supporting cast of characters all add to the story.

“I’ve given you as much an answer as I’ll give anyone. I think it’s a shame that Mr. Darwin must account for his religion on the basis of the work that he does. A man’s beliefs should be between himself and whatever deity he does-or does not-worship.”
p. 82, The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

I liked both Robert and Minnie. They are smart, funny, flawed and multifaceted. Minnie isn’t a stereotypical beauty, but her personality and wit get and keep Robert’s attention right away. I liked that he loves her for who she is on the inside.

Robert Blaisdell is swoon worthy. Here is a Duke who lobbies for workers rights and is looking to marry for love, regardless of social standing. He has issues mainly from his parents and how they treated him as a child, and you see him struggle with the past throughout the storyline. It only makes him more endearing because he does not want to make the same mistakes his parents did. Although he is a Duke, he is not by any means spoiled.

There was a quiet grace to her, like a tiger pacing in its cage. There was a majesty in claws unused, in muscles poised for action that never came. There was a somber beauty to a caged beast. He wanted to see her break free of that melancholy.
p.59, The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

The attraction between these two is there and although Minnie swears she will fight it, she cannot. I couldn’t blame her.

The love scenes were good as well, none of that cheesey boddice ripping. These two love each other and there is plenty of build up and sizzling passion. The love scenes seemed realistic.
It all wraps up nicely and I was happy with the ending.

Although it took me longer than usual to get through this book, I am glad I finished it and I would read this author again.

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan is currently available as a free Nook book and free for Kindle as well.

about the author:
Courtney Milan is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance. Her books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Duchess War by Courtney Milan.

12 thoughts on “The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

  1. This does sound different. It is really neat that the characters talk about some weighty things. The characters sound interesting.

    I think that it was common for some famous persons to express there more radical views anonymously through pamphlets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This author has been recommended to me too, although I haven’t yet read anything by her. Realistic and lack of cheesy love scenes is a plus in my book. I am glad you ended up liking this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps a bit too much on the smexy side for my liking but as a fan of historical novels I’ll definitely bear this in mind.

    Glad you eventually worked your way through this. It rally is frustrating when a book takes an inordinate amount of time to work through and even more so when you can’t quite put your finger on why.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Naida,

    This isn’t an author whose name I have come across before, but the series is definitely one worth considering for me! I don’t tend to read too much in the way of historical fiction, but I do like a smexy story occasionally, so I am always on the lookout for good, recommended authors.

    It is quite well documented that many famous radicals distributed pamphlets to try and get their ideas and theories out to the masses, so perhaps the fact that this book had some unexpected historical content and interest was why it took you longer to read than you thought it might, as it does seem as though you enjoyed the challenge 🙂

    You chose a couple of really good excerpts to share as well, particularly the first one, which demonstartes the excellent descriptive narrative of the book.

    Nice review, thanks for sharing and I hope that all is well with you 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Yvonne. I have heard of those pamphlets, interesting way to get ideas across. When I read the Marie Antoinette book this year, they used pamphlets as a way to spread gossip about her. It reminds me of those gossip magazine you see at the grocery aisles.
      Happy weekend 🙂


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