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The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Courtney Milan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (669 customer reviews)

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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...

The books in the Brothers Sinister series: 
½. The Governess Affair (prequel novella) 
1. The Duchess War 
1½. A Kiss for Midwinter (a companion novella to The Duchess War)
2. The Heiress Effect 
3. The Countess Conspiracy 
4. The Suffragette Scandal
4½. Talk Sweetly to Me

Editorial Reviews


The Duchess War is lovely - smart, touching, funny, sexy, and dizzyingly romantic.  Read it right away - yes, now.  Everything on your to-do list can wait, believe me.”
—Carrie S., at
The Duchess War is an intelligent and beautiful story for grown women and a romance for the girl who still believes in fairy tales.  Heartily, even passionately recommended!”
—Jill MacKenzie, at InD’tale Magazine

About the Author

Courtney Milan’s debut novel was published in 2010. Since then, her books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She’s been a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller, a RITA® finalist and an RT Reviewer’s Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance. Her second book was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010. Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat. Courtney has had several occupations--computer programmer, scientist, lawyer--but her favorite job is the one she is now doing full time: Writing romance novels.

Product Details

  • File Size: 563 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1937248283
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Courtney Milan; 1 edition (December 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can I Give It Eight Stars? December 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
M. Scott Peck's THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED begins with, "Life is difficult." Courtney Milan knows that and more. If you like Anne Patchett books because of their examination of "what if?" you will like--and probably love--Courtney Milan's newest. If you have a friend who holds romances in derision, give her THE DUCHESS WAR. Milan puts her hero and heroine in situations where prudence, honor, and loyalty demand that they betray one another, yet she does not satisfy the reader's expectations by easy solutions. She believes that it takes maturity and wisdom to love fully, a theme that ironically is rarely explored fully in romances.

Although this book is fascinating, it's not perfect. The beginning is a little slow and Milan holds you distant from the hero and heroine. I didn't quite like the heroine for a while, but then, I came to love her; I loved the hero almost instantly. Even though you can put the book down in the beginning, it is so thought provoking, so interesting, that is one of a handful of "best romances" that I've read in forty years.

THE DUCHESS WAR is different because of the intelligence and awareness of Courtney Milan. The central theme is the lasting damage that distorted, desperate, or narcissistic parents do to their offspring. Whether it is Robert's friend who is studying the controversial theory of genetic inheritance or the fanatical mother who mistreats her son to show the superiority of Christianity, Milan slyly unites this theme in its variations. Many writer have explored the theme of parental abuse, usually by the character's pain and her (it usually is a "she") eventual triumph of shedding her inhibitions to marry the hero.
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radicals In Love December 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I want to say something negative about The Duchess War just to retain some credibility, but I've got nothing to complain about. I loved this book. Robert is a duke very aware of the injustice of his position. His political views are radical, his motivation lies in trying to be the complete opposite of his father. Robert prides himself on personal control. He takes careful steps to keep the fall out from his radicalism from falling on others. Minerva is a quiet girl leading a quiet life. She's constructed a small, safe box to live her life in and she is steeling herself to put the lock on the cage. After meeting Robert that small world is no longer enough. Suddenly Minerva craves more than just security, even as she examines if her cage is actually as safe as she thought. As always, Milan creates characters with depth and history. Minerva has solid reasons for wanting a safe world. Stepping outside of it is not consequence free. Robert is reacting to a legacy of shame that isn't his to bear but which he can't put down. I really loved her clever mind and his need to find a cause that redeems him. They were great characters on their own and totally worked as a couple.
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87 of 98 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reform overshadows romance January 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
SPOILERS AHEAD. I've read nearly everything Courtney Milan has written and loved every book -- except this one. The plot is just too strained for me, and I'm typically easily able to suspend disbelief in romance novels. In this tale, however, a duke decides to anonymously foment workers' unions as a way of redeeming his horrible fathers' cruelty and greed, and no one seems to realize that if he simply spent his money and energy in improving workers' situations and pay, his efforts would be much more effective than stirring up unrest. The heroine's situation is just as ludicrous: raised as a boy who plays chess, she was found out and stoned and is now living under an assumed identity working for hygienic reforms. Milan's previous novels have been outstanding for the emotional chemistry the two protagonists share, but the zeal for reform is the big emotional draw in this novel. The hero and heroine deserve each other, but readers don't deserve the wooden characters, overly melodramatic dialogue, nor the completely absurd plotting. Still, I'll be reading more of Milan -- this one just wasn't to my taste.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clever Story! December 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Reviewed at Another Look Book Reviews

I was granted an ARC for an honest review.

The Duchess War is a very clever story and it is brilliantly written. Oh how I love a really smart heroine. Perhaps there is nothing I love more other than a hero who respects just how intelligent and noble the heroine really is.

There is a prequel to The Duchess War called The Governess Affair. My review of this prequel is here. The Kindle version is only .99 and I would recommend reading it first. It is not necessary but it does nicely line up the foundation for the this Brothers Sinister series.

The concealed secrets within The Duchess War are slowly revealed. The reader learns about the depth of these mysteries in parallel with the other book's characters. I found myself dying to know the extent of the shrouded mystery surrounding Minnie and the extent of Robert's upbringing. Together with these secrets and the series of events that emerge chapter after chapter; The Duchess War made for a rather suspenseful read. There was a perpetual chain of events that kept me clicking the pages forward quickly. It was very fitting that the game of chess was an embedded plot of The Duchess War.

I found Minnie a rather complex character. Her mind was always plotting forward steps ahead. She was a very guarded lady prepared for her next ploy. The Duchess War made me ache for the women of the time as Minnie was striving hard to carefully carve out a safety net for her foreboding future. She took great effort not to bring attention to herself. Although her soft voice gave the perception of shyness, she was in fact a force to be reckoned with.

The Duke, Robert wasn't a brooding alpha hero that normally appear within the pages of historical romances.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Duchess War
Excellent story. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and all of the intricacies and plots within plots. Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Avid Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read.
Published 1 day ago by Unknown
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read
the begiining was a little slow but i loved the love story and characters and the ending was just as great :)
Published 2 days ago by Cna.vanessa
2.0 out of 5 stars starts off interesting then becomes very dry
the beginning peaked my interest but then it becomes very dry and boring, no chemistry between the two main characters. I practically skipped thru the whole book. Read more
Published 3 days ago by leena glass
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite historical romance authors
One of my favorite historical romance authors, this was the first book that got me hooked on her novels. Her characters are real, flawed, and often funny.
Published 3 days ago by Shannon
5.0 out of 5 stars The success war
Good reading book enjoyed the whole thing. Could not put the book down once you start to read. Recommend this book
Published 4 days ago by Connie
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the average romance
I read this book after a recommendation from a friend. It is not normally a book I would've considered reading, and I have to say that I am glad I listened to Emma! Read more
Published 5 days ago by S. Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Have time to read it. You don't want to put it down
Published 7 days ago by Clyde
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really good premise for a romance novel. I plan to read the rest of the series.
Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good light reading
Published 9 days ago by Jayne Cornish
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More 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.

Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a medium-sized dog, and an attack cat. Before she started writing historical romance, she experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating.... But her favorite job is the one she's now doing full time--writing romance.

If you want to know when Courtney's next book will come out, please visit her website at, where you can sign up to receive an email when she has her next release.

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