(Brothers Sinister #1)
Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)
Sometimes love is an accident.
This time, it’s a strategy.
Miss 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.
Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
**5 Sublime Stellar Stars**
The minute I pick up a Courtney Milan book, I know that I’m going to become totally absorbed in the world she has created. Her stories are original and thought-provoking, her characters are compelling, her research is meticulous and her writing is superb.
Robert grew up watching his father abuse his privileged position without ever having to answer for his crimes no matter who got hurt. This instilled in Robert a determination to be nothing like his father. He champions those who have no voice of their own and is passionate about making right everything his father destroyed.
My heart ached for the young Robert growing up starved of love by a cruel, unfeeling father and a mother who simply abandoned him. Even his dreams that he could one day be a part of his half-brother, Oliver’s loving family are cruelly shattered. But despite everything, he is still a romantic at heart but has convinced himself that he would never be loved.
Minerva Lane is an intelligent, brilliant woman forced to assume a false name and fade into the background. She is terrified that her scandalous past may one day resurface and destroy her drab but safe existence. Memories of her father’s betrayal and the terrible aftermath have left her emotionally and physically scarred. Plain and without a dowry, her options are limited.
The romance between Robert and Minerva plays out so beautifully. Ms Milan makes you feel all their fears, hopes, despair and joy. The scene where Robert is forced to betray Minnie, knowing that he would lose her, was so heartrending. Only Ms Milan could write such a brilliant wedding night scene. It was realistic, sensual and funny. The scene with the primer in the Epilogue just tugs at the heartstrings.
I love the camaraderie between Robert, Oliver and Sebastian and the scenes between Robert and Oliver are so poignant. I love Sebastian’s humour especially in the train scene…so funny. Then there is Lydia, Minnie’s friend, who has plenty of secrets of her own. I wanted to hate Robert’s mother but, in the end, I could only feel compassion for her.
The historical social and political aspects of the story are interesting and I love the way they are woven into and form an integral of the story.
I can’t end this review without mentioning Ms Milan’s superb writing. Here are some of my favourite excerpts:
There were times when it felt like words were mere threads, completely inadequate to contain the enormity of her thoughts. The landscape in her head rearranged with tectonic vigor, coming together with a certainty that was larger than her ability to explain.
“Look at yourself sometime the way you are now, all fire and anger, ready to do battle with me.”
“I have looked high.” Her voice was an urgent whisper. “And I have fallen farther than you can imagine. So don’t you lecture me. All I want is to pretend that this is enough—that I can be satisfied by the scraps that remain to me.”
She stared at the pieces and realized that she wasn’t at the beginning of this game, but near the end. Now there were entire swathes of the board that were unreachable, pieces that had been stolen away, moves she could never make.
His Grace explained his choice of bride as follows: “Why would I take a conventional wife, when I could have an extraordinary one?”
This is such a beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying love story and only confirms why Courtney Milan is one of the foremost authors of Historical Romance. Highly recommended!
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STELLAR STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read December 2013
The Brothers Sinister series to date (click on cover for more details):