The Duchess WarAuthor: Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister #1
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Release date: December 8th 2012
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance
Add to TBR: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo | Audible
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Sometimes love is an accident.
This time, it’s a strategy.
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 GingerSnap’s review
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when every single person in your sphere raves about something, you need to be cautious. Sure, they all adored that book/movie/TV show, but if you’ve decided to consume that media and go into it with the highest of all expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed.
I, however, was not one bit disappointed with this fucking gem of a book despite that basically every romance reader everywhere LOVED IT.
Great things about this book, in no particular order:
- the book is set in Leicester, giving me personally a much-needed break from historical romance set in London
- there is diversity of classes: Minnie and her aunts are middle class, while Robert is from the peerage
- there are diverse family structures. Minnie is raised mostly by her two aunts and Robert and Oliver are half-brothers who found each other in adolescence
- the plot is set around worker’s rights
- Robert is hilarious
- the sexual tension is DELICIOUS
- there is mention of Pride and Prejudice, which I like to think is Courtney Milan’s subtle way of telling the reader that Minnie and Robert have a bit of a Lizzy Bennet-Mr Darcy thing going on
- there is mention of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman
- the friendships between Oliver and Robert; Robert, Sebastian and Violent; and Lydia and Minnie are so loving and hilarious and wonderful to witness
- Minnie is a former child chess genius
- Robert is a virgin, which means that he and Minnie basically teach each other how to have sex, which includes them just making up positions and then laughing if they don’t work (THIS IS SO EFFING CHARMING)
- Minnie is forthright about what she wants in bed
The repartee between Minnie and Robert is a delight to read and was my absolute favourite part of the book. It’s a little reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, with the witty banter only making it all the more obvious that these characters need to make out ASAP and then fast forward to an HEA.
I also love that Robert absolutely believes in Minnie’s ability to best him from the get-go. He is her biggest fan, believes in her 100%, and, excluding the brief moment when they fight in the book, never stops looking at her in awe and amazement because she is awesome.
In case you couldn’t tell, Robert is by far and away my favourite character in this book. He’s loyal to his family, loving, constantly trying to do good and be good. He’s also a great example of a beta hero: he’s sensitive, emotionally literate, and ends up doing 50% of the wooing, while Minnie does the other half (yay for equal participation in courtship!). He isn’t interested in dominating Minnie. He’s far more interested in being her equal and even letting her take the reigns in their relationship. He’s hilarious, a bit bumbling, and has a charming lack of filter around Minnie. The dynamic between them is so enjoyable to read. They’re so supportive of each other and so honest and open.
This book lives up to the hype, and I highly suggest you run and download it ASAP. I listened to it on audiobook and Rosalyn Landor, the narrator, manages to make every character come alive in their own distinct way. It’s honestly the perfect book when you need a literary hug and a reminder that people can be awesome, loving, loyal, liberal, honest, and generally just stand-up, ace humans.
NOTE: There are multiple mentions of Robert’s father raping Oliver’s mother. There is no graphic detail discussed, but if you think this might upset you, please keep that in mind before you pick up the book
I would recommend this book to…
lovers of historical romance, badass heroines, wonderfully romantic beta heroes, hilarious banter, and plot twists