January 18, 2013

Book Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

At First Sight: Minerva Lane has spent the last 12 years hiding everything she once was and living under the name Wilhelmina Pursling, a shy wallflower, almost-spinster who lives with her Great Aunts. She doesn't want her past to come out to the light, so she carefully blends into the background and deflects all and any attention that comes her way.

That is until she happens to met Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont while they were both hiding behind some curtains at a gathering; and for the first time in years, someone sees Minnie for all the things she is, and not just what she appears to be. 

Robert didn't expect to be mesmerized by Miss Pursling, but he is, she makes him smile, she makes him think and she challenges him, without caring that he's a duke - most men wouldn't like this, but Robert isn't most men.

He was born to great privilege, but had a rather lonely childhood, constantly being used as a bargaining chip in the war between his parents. His relationship with his mother is cold on good days and non-existent on the bad ones, and he has made it his life's work Not To Be Like His Father, who hurt so many people, including the mother of his (half)brother Oliver.

Robert is on a quest to right the evil deeds his father committed, but his path might put the people close to him in danger, including Minnie.

Second Glance: The Duchess War is the first full book of the Brothers Sinister series - there was an introductory novel called The Governess Affair which was awesome - and I was very excited to read it, and I'm happy to say that, over all, the book didn't disappoint.

Robert is such a darling character, he has such a strong moral center and takes his responsibilities to other people very seriously, and tries to be fair in all things. He's no a rake, he's a little embarrassed of his own power as a Duke, but he's not afraid to use his rank and station to protect the people he cares about like his cousin Sebastian, his brother Oliver and their friend Violet. And Minnie too.

Minnie, now she was a little harder to like, she has a lot of fears and has been hiding her true self for a long time, and sometimes that manifests itself in ways that aren't all that attractive, but once you learn what happened to her it makes sense. She still freaks out too much for my taste, and the big reveal of her past was a little underplayed, but it makes sense for her situation.

I loved her relationship with her best friend Lydia, I think that's where it's shown how a like she  and Robert are: they are both fierce about the people they care about, but they actually expect very little from them in a way that they are a lot harder on themselves than what they are on everyone else.

Still for me, Robert was the star of the book, he was the one I liked best and whom I felt for the most. 

Bottom Line: The Duchess Wars was a very good read. It wasn't perfect - there were some things I didn't like - but I LOVED the hero so much and I'm so excited to see where this series goes - the next book is about Oliver and it's called The Heiress Effect.

Favorite Quote: "Wars are won by careful attendance to boring detail. If you wait to see the cavalry charge, Your Grace, you'll have already lost." - Minnie
PS - Gotta say that each time Minnie's name was mentioned I kept adding the "Mouse" in my head. 

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