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The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

The Duchess War is the first full length novel in Courtney Milan

The Duchess War is the first full length novel in Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series, and a story that I've been looking forward to. Having read The Governess Affair, the prequel to this story, and having read the epilogue that sets up this book, I knew that what...
The Duchess War is the first full length novel in Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series, and a story that I've been looking forward to. Having read The Governess Affair, the prequel to this story, and having read the epilogue that sets up this book, I knew that what was to come would be an wonderful, emotional read, but this... it was so much more than I had hoped for.

Let me get this said right up front. This book is brilliant. The way Ms. Milan writes historical romances, the way she uses the ridiculous social standards of the times to not only hinder her characters but to make them triumphant – yes. Brilliant.

When I first began reading historical romances, I thought things like the ton, peerage, seasons, the need to marry well… I thought they were all silly things, a bunch of hogwash made up by authors to flesh out their stories. But then, as I did more research of this on my own, I discovered that not only was it not hogwash, it was often far worse than historical romance portrays it. So when I read books like The Governess Affair and The Duchess War, and knowing that this was a reality of the times, I find I become very emotionally attached to the… lessers. The Underdogs. Those who don’t fit and will never fit regardless of the kinds of people they are. It doesn’t matter how much good they do, how many lives they might save, or how they treat others. They would never fit. And yet there were those who took up more space than they were worth, but were welcomed wherever they went… it all seemed so unfair. So hopeless.

But not the way Ms. Milan tells the story.

The Duchess War is a story of right and wrong. Of honor - and not just honor when it’s convenient. It’s being a person of high integrity, no matter the cost. It’s also a beautiful romance. And not just about discovering love and holding on to it with every single thing you are - more importantly, it’s about being worthy of that love.

Robert and Minnie are such compelling characters, and had they been real people, I would truly believe that their chance meeting was destiny giving them a hand. They’re so very opposite from one another, but alike in the ways that matter. Both flawed, emotionally scarred people who recognized that in one another, and that's what drew them together. Were they perfect? No! They were human! There were times I was angry with Robert, times I was livid with Minnie, but in the end, I came to adore them both. And that's all that matters.

The bottom line: Courtney Milan never ceases to amaze me with her stories that are witty, clever, intelligent, sexy and so very romantic. She’s one of very few auto-buy authors on my list, one of the few whose stories I am guaranteed to love, and books like those found in The Brothers Sinister series are why.

So do yourself a favor and pick up the novella, The Governess Affair and this story, The Duchess War and settle in for two of the most delightful, poignant, lovely romances you’ll likely ever read.

My sincerest thanks to Ms. Milan for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts with you. It was a true pleasure, start to finish.

posted by BlithelyBookishReviews on December 19, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Mixed feelings

This will be short since I can't really say much about why I did not enjoy it as much as I could. The story line was good and realistic. In the prequel book I read for this series I like that, unlike a lot of historical romances, this series doesn't have this fairy tale...
This will be short since I can't really say much about why I did not enjoy it as much as I could. The story line was good and realistic. In the prequel book I read for this series I like that, unlike a lot of historical romances, this series doesn't have this fairy tale like feel to it. Like it was happening in some far of land, once upon a time....this had real characters, with real issues and mostly talked about and enjoyed sex in a real way. That is the best this I liked about this book and its prequel.

I also liked Robert. He was a character with flaws and really vulnerabilities and issues that were not swept under the rug or magically healed with true love. His loneliness and issues with his father were treated as they should and provided a good understanding of his motivations. Minerva as a character along also was very nicely fleshed out and likeable on her own.

So really...my issue with the book was mainly that I liked all the parts, but I just did not enjoy it all together. How crazy it that. My reviews of books tend to come from the gut, I don't have a lot of fancy words sometimes to describe by I hate or love a book...sometimes all I can say was it was good, but it did not grab me. I did not "feel it." The romance that is, I guess, I found that I needed a bit more build up with the romance and my emotions did not connect with the characters as much as I would like liked it. I was more reading it and observing from the outside...rather than feeling I was living it with them. Make sense? Eh.

But overall I liked it. I just did not love.

posted by cgirl98 on December 23, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Very Good.............................

    Read The Governess Affair first to get a more in depth understanding of the character. It is well written and you'll root for Robert and Minnie to find true love. Its not the most realistic regency I've ever read but the characters are so nice you'll want the best for them. Good series---can't wait for the next one.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Great story with interesting story!

    Very enjoyable characters and funny scenes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2014

    Good Read!

    Good Read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2014

    Excellent

    I loved this book, but then again I like most of her books. This a great love story. It was well written, interesting, engaging, and the characters were lovable. I recommend you read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2014

    I really liked this story - it's so nice to read a romance that

    I really liked this story - it's so nice to read a romance that has brains!
    The story itself was well written, the characters are so engaging, love Minnie & Robert!!
    Looking forward to reading the next in the series. I read the prequel - really need to do that to set up this series. 
    I'll look for more from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    A Must Read for Historical fiction Fans

    If there were a 4.5 star available I would have given the rating to this book. A wonderful story coupled with great writing. I especially enjoyed the application of chess strategy to manage life challenges.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2015

    Minne has a secret past (don't most heroines?). Robert is a hand

    Minne has a secret past (don't most heroines?). Robert is a handsome duke. (aren't most heroes?). But this book has a bit more depth than most. Minnie is plain and appears, at least to society, to be shy, reclusive, and dull. It's not that she's a wallflower. It's that she has reasons for being unmemorable. Her past has led her to crave a quiet life. Still, she's frustrated by the fact that a woman of her scandalous past must accepts the crumbs that society has to offer. Enter Robert. A most handsome and radical duke. His hatred for his rascal, disapproving father leads him to want to renounce and reject the aristocracy. To that end, he takes to writing radical pamphlets. But when Minnie is suspected of writing the pamphlets she discovers who is behind them and blackmails the duke. What ensues is quite the sweet novel. I am a sucker for the beta hero, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2014

    Great Read

    Historical but separate from the regular run of the mill Ton story lines. Characters were well defined and a few were hilarious! I enjoyed it fully-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2014

    Great read.

    Great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2014

    Great

    Very well written. Different story line. Great characters and nice addition of history with science and factory workers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2014

    Quite enjoyable

    Good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014

    Did not read it yet

    Did not read it yet

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    New to this author and completely hooked. What a refreshing take

    New to this author and completely hooked. What a refreshing take on romance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    Liked it

    I enjoyed the prequel to this book quite a bit and was glad i had read it before this one. I also liked this one, good characters, good storyline. Looking forward to the next one in the series...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    I enjoyed this story.

    Loved the characters. Nice romance and could not put the book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Hello

    Very well written 700 page book with excerpts from two more. The mystery of her background dragged out a little excessively but the writing was interesting and a delight. The sex content makes this a read for young adults not older children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    Overall good book

    I have enjoyed many books by this author. I have to say the first half of the book was very dry it read like history book to some extent. I do appreciate that in most books but there was too much about laws and dry background information. With that said i loved the characters and will be looking forward to the remainder of the series. The last part of the book was a quick and enjoyable read. There was quiet a bit of steam but it was utterly satisfying to be apart of everything coming full circle.

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  • Posted July 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ms. Wilhelmina "Minnie" Pursling is hiding a scandalou

    Ms. Wilhelmina "Minnie" Pursling is hiding a scandalous secret. One that she will do everything she can from ever coming out, but a chance meeting with Duke Robert Blaisdell threatens to expose her. The more she retreats as a wall flower, the more intrigued he becomes. He pursues her relentlessly and surprises her with a marriage proposal, but Robert has his own secret. He's the author of handbills that incite the poor working in the factories to strike. When an innocent man is accused of writing the handbills, Robert must decide how far he'll go to save him from a life in prison. Will he be willing to do the honorable thing? Will he be willing to expose another's secret in the process? This historical romance was quite enjoyable, especially the dialogue between Minnie and Robert and Minnie and the Duchess. It was smart and witty, but there were a few things that didn't quite add up for me. The build up of Minnie's secret was intriguing, but when it was finally revealed, it was anticlimactic for me. I found it hard to believe that a 12-year girl would be held responsible for an adult's action especially someone who was a known liar and cheat. I am willing to suspend belief for most things, but Robert's secret was even harder to swallow. Why wouldn't he use his power and considerable means to help make the factory workers' lives more bearable instead of inciting them to strike especially since it was a crime to do so. Finally, I wanted to learn what became of Minnie's friend, Lydia. The one sentence in the epilogue didn't seem to do the character justice especially since she was so important to Minnie. Despite these criticisms, THE DUCHESS WAR, kept my interest until the very end. Fans of historical romance will enjoy this book. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Could Hardly Put It Down

    This story caught my interest so that I could hardly wait to find how it would end.

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  • Posted January 1, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful book!  Robert and Minnie were a very enjoyable couple.

    Wonderful book!  Robert and Minnie were a very enjoyable couple.  I love how C. Milan portrays Robert as a duke with a soul.  He is considerate and generous with others when he doesn't have to be.  I highly recommend you read this series in order..  The first book is The Governess Affair (novella) and the book that  follows is A Kiss in Midwinter.

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