Book Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Book Review of The Duchess War by Courtney MilanMiss 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.

I picked this book up free, from the Kobo website.

Minnie is certainly a wallflower at the beginning, quiet and trying to hide in plain sight. It turns out she was betrayed very publicly and completely when she was much younger, to the point she has been trying to hide ever since, and has never let another man get close again.  Robert is also damaged, having inherited his title and his looks from a man he abhors, and he is constantly trying to prove that he is the opposite of his father. His half-brother and his cousin (who I take to be the other Men in the “Brothers Sinister” series), are the ones to know him best and it is his devotion to the men that bring the conflict later in the book.

It is the start of workers flexing their collective muscle, and demanding decent working conditions. The employers – many of whom are the landed gentry and so sit in the English Parliament – are not impressed and are prepared to do anything to prevent the strikes and rabble-rousing.  There are pamphlets going around, trying to pull the Workers together, but the employers are not impressed. They are hunting down the author, and someone decides that it is Minnie – without realising that it’s Robert. Unfortunately Minnie has secrets of her own – Minnie not being her real name to being with – and these secrets make people all the more suspicious and trying to bring her down.

Robert and Minnie enter into a pact (Minnie suspects he’s the author, he believes she can’t prove it) and he is fascinated with her. Unfortunately her reputation is compromised, and the pair end up getting married, despite the objections of many. Then Robert is put into an impossible situation, which means he has to choose between Minnie and Oliver (his half brother, who was born after Robert’s father raped Oliver’s mother).

This is certainly not for those who like their historical romances to be accurate on all levels – there are certain situations that occur and words used (sexual in both situations) that are unexpected for this style of book. It’s a very modern take on an old style of romance and not everyone is/will be happy.

I finished the book, but cant say I was entirely pleased with it. It was a little too…modern for my tastes in historical fiction. Had it been set 100 years later I might have been pleased with it, and think it could have worked better (Robert as the CEO of a company, Minnie as his secretary/head of HR etc…..)

 About this author

Courtney Milan lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat. Courtney wishes she could say she has lived in numerous fabulous places. But aside from her husband, there is a distinct lack of fabulousness in her life. Instead, she is happy when standards in the Milan household hover above mediocrity. Her husband attempts not to kill people for a living. In exchange, Courtney attempts not to do the dishes.

Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating… Having given up on being able to do any of those things, she’s taken to heart the axiom that those who can’t do, teach. When she’s not reading (lots), writing (lots), or sleeping (not enough), she can be found in the vicinity of a classroom.


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