Author: Courtney Milan
Original Title: The Duchess War
Release Year: 2012
Literary Genre: Romance
Setting: England, victorian age
Series: 2° of The Brothers sinister series
I liked it very much, especially the characters and the last seventy/eighty pages, they are splendid.
In the first part we find nice and entertaining moments but there are others which mostly fill the plot, mind you, they aren't boring but neither amazing. I must say though that with the second part the recovery is surprising.
For those who haven't already read the first novel of The Brothers Sinister (The governess affair), aka the prequel to all the series stories, everything revolves around the Duke of Clermont.
In The duchess war (settled almost thirty years later the events of The governess affair) the title has been inherited by the only Duke's legitimate son, Robert, who unlike his father, is good, gentile, altruistic and lacking of any kind of malice in his blood; is life, since he was a boy, has been totally devoid of affection from both his parents: his father, not particularly smart, spendthrift and mean, married Robert's mother to restore his financial problems but when his father-in-law refused to keep paying for the Duke's bad behaviours which only made her daughter miserable, Clermont started to blackmail her wife, using their own son in exchange for more money. Unfortunately the extortion made the Duchess cold and detached towards her son, leaving him at his father's mercy.
Robert grows up in loneliness...until one day at school he meets the one person who will become the most important for him: his stepbrother Oliver Marshall, born from his father's violence towards a governess, Serena (The governess affair).
Robert is a twenty eight man clearly looking for someone who can feel some kind of affection for him, despite her mother is alive, their relationship has never changed from his childhood.
During a ball he casually happens to be in the same room with a young woman and while he is eavesdropping some conversations about her he hides himself to look at her reactions to the slanders spoken against her; instantly he decides to approach her and try to be comforting but her reaction his completely unexpected: Wilhelmina “Minni” Pursling is a proud woman, apparently cold, definitely resolute and despite her undeniable attraction for the kind and handsome man in front of her, she avoids him without a second thought.
When, shortly after the same night, she is accused of being a subversive and the author of some anonymous fliers which want to arouse the masses to rebellion against the impossible work hours and conditions, Minni decides to find out the real author identity so she can be freed from blame. The subversive is the Duke of Clermont.
When she tackles him to try to convince him to stop his campaign, Robert understand that she is extremely smart and witty but with a secret that she's hiding really carefully and which is the reason of her defensive nature.
Claremont won't leave his “war” and in the meanwhile he is growing more and more attracted to Minni and he craves her attentions.
Unfortunately the secret Minni is guarding so passionately is potentially so explosive to completely overturn her life and those of whom is close to her; that's why Minni, who is growing fond of the Duke and won't involve him in her problems also if this means to abandon all her dreams of happiness. But Robert is quite tenacious in wanting her.
I love Robert, he's sooo sweet. When he is with Minni he is clumsy and sometimes ironically inappropriate. He is extremely devoted and protective, he wants Minni's love but doesn't know how to let her know. I liked Oliver and Sebastian too.
I was happy about how Robert and her mother succeed to overcome their sorrows and to go on as well as they can. In the same way, maybe more, I really appreciate that finally Robert and Susanna (Oliver's mother) can understand and talk with one another almost as a family.
I adored, truly adored, the scene in which Robert declares his love for Minni with the alphabet letters.
Just in case, her name isn't actually Wilhelmina Pursling but Minerva Lane, she changed it because of her secret.
The Brothers Sinister: 1. The Governess affair (Susanna, Hugo)
2. The duchess war (Robert, Minerva)
3. A kiss for midwinter (Lydia, Jonas)
4. The heiress effect (Oliver, Jane)
5. The countess conspiracy (Sebastian, Violet)
6. The mistress rebellion (Frederica, ...)
La bibliografia di Courtney Milan