THE DUCHESS WAR
Leave it to the talented Milan to turn everything we’ve come to expect from a historical romance on its head, and make it work so well. Instead of being overbearing or rakish, hero Robert is a politically active duke who is embarrassed by his inherited ivory tower. Both a romantic and idealist, Robert is refreshingly respectful of heroine Minnie — a delightfully droll and complex character in her own right. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that makes the read less sexy — the pull between these two is magnetic, and their battle of wits is wonderfully fun. Best of all, this is book one of Milan’s new series, The Brothers Sinister, and all of the intriguing and hilarious secondary characters look poised for their own stories. Props to Ms. Milan for proving that authors can make the move to self-publishing without sacrificing quality.
Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is hiding out in the library when Miss Wilhelmina Pursling, or Minnie, ducks behind a divan near his feet to avoid her repellant almost-fiancé. Minnie appears to be a quiet, plain spinster, but Robert suspects there’s more to her unassuming façade. His suspicions are confirmed when she comes to his home bearing a little bit of blackmail: Minnie believes Robert is the author of radical handbills urging local factory workers to unionize, and she threatens to prove her theory and go public with her knowledge if he doesn’t stop immediately. The local militia captain suspects Minnie’s behind the handbills and has been poking around in her past — something she can’t afford, since she lives with her aunt on the edge of genteel poverty and has secrets of her own she's desperate to protect. Minnie needs a husband to lead a safe, comfortable life, so Robert poses a counteroffer: He’ll court her, and in turn convince other men to see her appeal. But when Robert begins to see that appeal all too clearly, he has to convince Minnie it’s worth risking her sheltered existence — and exposing her secrets — for a shot at happiness. (SELF-PUBLISHED, Dec., dl., $3.99)
*Web Exclusive Review*