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The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister) (Volume 1) Paperback – September 10, 2013
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Everyone has secrets in the Duchess War, and some of those secrets have the power to hurt more than others. So when her best friend's fiancé begins accusing Minnie of writing seditious handbills and claims to know Minnie isn't who she claims to be, Minnie must figure out who is really behind the bills and expose them to protect her own secrets. And when she finds out that Robert is connected, she knows the choice will be between protecting herself and exposing him.
The Duchess War is a fun, interesting romance that also happens to delve into class differences, workers' rights and betrayal as well as what makes a family, love and loyalty. It's an enjoyable love story that touches on social issues without overwhelming the story.
I found the handling of Robert's crusading excellent. He has all the right intentions, but because of his enormous privilege, he sometimes screwed it up. He forgot to consider other people's feelings. He came from a position of power, and it made him make mistakes. I sort of love that his entire character development was pretty much privilege-checking and apologizing. And his family loves and teases him about both parts.
"Sebastian grinned. "On the eve of your wedding, Robert, we shall offer you the sorts of female delights that you have always lusted after. Philosophical tracts upon philosophical tracts, all of them advocating political change that would result in an upheaval of the current social order. We shall set forth their essays, and then..." He paused, as if for dramatic emphasis. "Then, my friends, we shall argue about them!""
On the other hand, Minnie has a secret past. An atypical secret past. If you like cloak-and-dagger Napoleonic spy stories, you might enjoy this. She has lived her entire adult life trying her very hardest to blend in, to fly under the radar, to not make waves. That doesn't mean she's not blazingly smart. And Robert loves her for that. Also, he thinks of her with really STRONG analogies. It's so refreshing to realize he's thrilled to find a woman who can outmatch him. I want people to think of me as a great powerful beast just pretending to be good!
"He had that sense again, of a great beast pacing in its cage. He wanted to touch her cheek, to turn her face up to his. He wanted to whisper that all would be well."
""Physiological fact," His Grace said. "Arousal makes me stupid. It makes me say idiotic things like `I like your tits' and, `Help, we've had a paste emergency over here.' It makes me want to stay around you even though I know I'm overmatched, even though I'm sure you're going to win." His voice lowered. "You see, I want to watch you do it.""
Of course, this is a Milan book, so at least one person has to have psychological damage (I actually like this feature, but it seems good to warn people.) Minnie is terrified of crowds. Robert had a hellish childhood of rejection. And Robert's mother has Issues. None of these things is actually solved in this book, just... ameliorated by love and behaving like adults.
I liked that it was work for these people to get together, even though they had feelings for each other. Feelings don't operate in a vacuum, and I like a story that shows that.
Be aware that this is more Victorian than Regency, so there are trains and industrialization and stuff like that, and the role of women is slightly less constrained. Also, can one assert there is a Boston marriage in industrial England? Because there so is, and I love it.
"And when they failed to find men that they loved after a handful of Seasons, they had refused to marry for convenience. Instead, they'd retired together to the small farm that Caro owned just outside of Leicester--friends and spinsters for the remainder of their lives. They were as close as sisters. Closer, Minnie suspected."
I am really looking forward to the Christmas-themed book in this series, which should be out annnnnytime in the next couple days.
Read if: You have enjoyed other Courtney Milan books. You would like a new series of romances about adults. You would love to see a pair of inexperienced lovers actually TALK about sex.
Skip if: You don't want labor action in your romance. A smart woman pretending to be meek is going to bother the hell out of you. You have trouble reading about neglected children.
The Governess Affair (The Brothers Sinister)