The Duchess War - Courtney Milan

 Reading The Duchess War is sort of like reading a PBS version of a romance novel.
It’s smartly written.

It’s engrossing. It’s serious. I felt things.

I’ll admit that PBS has some of those British comedies that are sometimes funny to indulge in, but let me just face facts here. I watch PBS so that I can say I watch PBS.

I usually read funny and charming historical romances. It’s my go-to guilty pleasure. I eat up all that unbelievable modern dialogue encapsulated by smart woman clad in thirty-four pounds of clothing. Give me witty mistresses and cheeky rogues and bluestocking wallflowers. Yum.

That’s not what “The Duchess War” is about though. Nope. I don’t even think I smiled once during this entire read. I think I was too busy begging Minnie to please tell that damn Duke that she loves him. To busy begging Robert not to break Minnie’s heart. To dang busy reading to remember that there definitely would be a happily ever after.

I wasn’t charmed. I was blown away.

It was serious. It was engrossing. It was a lovely, lovely, lovely story of two people that deserved (to the utmost!) the love of each other.

Courtney Milan creates characters that are deliciously complex and sticky. She throws them together just to show us how masterfully she can weave a love story of two tarnished people into something very sterling.

I love Robert's vulnerability and inexperience. In fact all scenes

(view spoiler)[after their wedding, particularly in Paris (hide spoiler)]

(show spoiler)

are some of my favorite that I've read in a long time. His turmoil upon his hasty return was a palpable thing. Very good writing, that.

Minnie's evolution from a metaphorical and actual "nothing" to Duchess (I hope I'm not giving away too much's in the title afterall) was brillant, as was her history and backstory. Utterly original.

For the first time in awhile, I eagerly await stories of Oliver, Sebastian and (fingers crossed) Violet. Off to find A Kiss For Midwinter...


***Re-read October 20. I'm not much of a re-reader. For me the joy of books is the discovery. I wholly enjoyed it the second time around, though I skimmed. Still, from Paris on is really, just, good.