Tag: The Brothers Sinister

Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Posted February 3, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
Series: The Brothers Sinister #0.5
Also in this series: The Duchess War
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 21, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 152
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She will not give up…
Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.
He cannot give in…
Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan is a prequel novella to The Brothers Sinister series. After I finished The Duchess War, Tracy told me this novella was a prequel, so I knew I had to read it. I really enjoyed the story. It was interesting to see how Serena and Hugo came to be, and some of the events in real time I’d read about in TDW.

I liked Serena’s strength and her determination to stand up for herself. I also like Hugo and the way he came to care for her. Though the story is short, it packed quite a punch. I was fully wrapped up in their battle of wills and anxious to see how things would turn out.

Although this is a novella, it was fully fleshed out and felt like a full-length read. I came away from it very satisfied and even more anxious to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

the Brothers Sinister

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four-stars


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Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Posted January 24, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Duchess War by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Series: The Brothers Sinister #1
Also in this series: The Governess Affair
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 8, 2012
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 270
Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

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 her 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...

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan is the first book in The Brothers Sinister series. This started out a bit slow for me, and I didn’t love the narrator, but it picked up around the 25% mark and I fell right into it. I ended up buying the ebook so I could alternately read and listen, because I wasn’t ready to stop the story.

This book is filled with twists and turns. Every time Minnie stood up to Robert or called him out on his behavior, I cheered. I really loved how strong she was. Her strength wasn’t always out front or in your face, but she always persevered and I loved that about her. I was so wrapped up in this story my heart hurt for both of them at different times. I want to smack them, hug them, then smack them again in turn.

The relationship Robert had with his brother was strong and lovely. I really enjoyed all of his friends and how they slowly brought Minnie into their group. While parts of this were slow, I can’t deny I was wrapped up in it and couldn’t wait to see how things would turn out.

Filled of strong characters, witty dialogue and a heartwarming love story, The Duchess War is a book I’ll read again and again.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

the Brothers Sinister

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four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

Posted October 21, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

The Heiress EffectJudith’s review of The Heiress Effect (The Brothers Sinister, #2) by Courtney Milan

Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.  And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

Wow!!  Courtney Milan really knows how to write a great story!  From the first of her novels until this one, I have never been disappointed.  This story embraces the study of two very different people in that both are living right on the fringe of aristocratic society.  Both have been subjected to the quiet and often underhanded slurs regarding their baseborn origins;  both have endured the derision of those who know not how to relate to anyone other than look down their noses at them.  Each has set goals and each is pursuing them with diligence.  The problem is that they are eventually attracted to one another with the clear knowledge that any future relationship between them is impossible and that they are absolute opposites.  Oliver wants a spouse who is completely acceptable to society, one who will bolster his bid for political power with her connections and society position.  Jane, on the other hand, simply wants to be who she is, never buckling to the society demand that she marry, shut her mouth, and make nice with people she can’t stand.  In fact, she deliberately works to offend as many people as possible, especially single men who are after her considerable wealth.  All she wants is to shield her sister from an ignorant willful guardian.  After that, she just wants to live her own life.

This is a story that is, at it’s most basic core, a character study of two individuals who are going in opposite directions but who are drawn inexplicably toward one another;  both are friendless in many ways;  both lack the social polish to be wholly acceptable;  both are determined to succeed at what they each deem to be absolutely necessary to their sense of self-accomplishment.  And being together?  Totally impossible!  Ms Milan has crafted characters who are not at the top of the social heap.  They are both social victims in many ways having been born “on the wrong side of the blanket” and yet accepted by their legitimate relatives.  Jane was dowered generously by her biological father, a man she didn’t even know existed beforehand.  Oliver was never acknowledged by his father but eventually by his half-brother, the Duke, and as such was barely accepted by the ton.  Both long to be accepted for who they are.  And yet, as the story unfolds, it is clear that the person to whom they are most acceptable–each other–will never fulfill the plan they each have for their lives.

This story is filled with the raw realities of 19th century aristocratic prejudice and the struggles for acceptance that so many seek who live and function on the fringe of the upper crust.  There is joy and disappointment here, frustration at the mindless control over women that was often exercised by unthinking “guardians” who believed that they were necessary because women didn’t know what what good for them.  There is betrayal and hurt at the hands of aristocrats who appear to be friends but who look for any opportunity to put the less fortunate “in their place.”  And as always, there are the fortune hunters who will say anything to a woman’s face just as long as they have an expectation of getting their hands on one hundred thousand pounds.  In the midst of all this is the sorrow they cause each other, knowing that they love each other, but also knowing that their love will not be strong enough to overcome Oliver’s prejudice against a plain-speaking woman.

I can’t say enough of how much I enjoyed this book and how entertained I was at the antics of Jane and the sense of appreciation she gained at having just two or three friends, all of whom managed to see beneath the show she was putting on to discourage suitors for the sake of protecting her sister.  The repartee Jane and Oliver share throughout the book is brilliant and the insightful look at the lower eschelons of English society make this the kind of novel that makes it stand out as an exceptional read.  I highly recommend it for all who love historical romance.  I think you will love it as much as I did.  I give this novel a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Series (+ 2 novella’s):
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You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This title is available from Courtney Milan. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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