Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan | Book Review

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Brothers Sinister #1
First Published: 2012
Adult, Historical Romance
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 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...
Honestly, I am shocked at how much I loved this. I was not prepared to fall head over heels in love with this novel the way I did, but the characters pretty much won me over instantly and the romance between them swept me off my feet accordingly.

First we have Minnie. Here is a woman who is smart, clever and funny, but most refreshing - she isn't a bumbling virgin who knows nothing of anatomy and pleasure like so many historical heroines out there. She's very aware and she isn't going to apologize for this. Furthermore, she is just so brave. I'm not sure I would've been able to face my fears the way she has.

Her other half is Robert. Now, Robert, where do I begin with him? Firstly, he's not a rake or a womanizer, which was just delightful to me. What he is is a smart, funny, loyal and honest man who just wants to help those who have been dubbed "beneath him". Can't think of a better hero.

Now, the relationship between them. There was an instant attraction there, and a kinship that comes from two active minds recognizing someone they can talk to. And from this point, the attraction starts to grow until they can barely hold it in--and then they can't! It's beautiful to behold.

But the absolute best about this couple? SPOILER NO ANGST. I repeat: no angst. These two talk about their issues. They confront them head on instead of holding them in, thereby eliminating any lengthy, drawn up separations or misunderstandings. There are still hitches and glitches along the way, but these two love each other too much to just let things unbalance. END SPOILER

Around these two are a crew of great side characters. I loved each and everyone of them, but my favorite was hands down Robert's mother. I didn't expect to like her at first, but she grew on me super fast!

Another great point in this novel is the hinting of a lesbian relationship between two characters. So many historical novels ignore this facet of life, that I've come to be positively surprised every time one of them dares to even hint at it.

My only complaint about the novel was how the speech sometimes felt too modern to come across as authentic to the times, but it was such a small thing compared to all the overwhelming positives!

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