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Olivia Waite is a romance author, practicing feminist, and wide-ranging dilettante.

The Duchess War - Courtney Milan I can't even pretend to be analytic here: I loved every single thing about this book. How the heroine is presented as interesting rather than beautiful, how she's at the mercy of her great-aunts' necessary protective strategies, but still chafes under the restrictions. How her friendship with Lydia is just as important as her relationship with the hero. How the power dynamics between classes can help or hurt, the value of allyship (though it isn't presented in those terms), and the compelling need for family and understanding.

But all that is still in head-thinky-space. Emotionally? I want to live in this book. I want to sit around and watch these people have tea, or make speeches on behalf of workers' unions (which they did far more than the tea-taking, honestly). And Robert, our ducal hero -- I wanted to reach out and hug him SO BADLY that at times I couldn't even see the words on the page. I've had crushes on romance heroes before, though it's rare (hello, Catullus Graves from [b:Stranger|7863194|Stranger (The Blades of the Rose, #4)|Zoe Archer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1342677094s/7863194.jpg|11018050]); I've never before ached so badly to physically comfort a fictional character, just because he deserved to feel better. Thank all the gods that Minnie was there to do it. These two needed each other more than I've seen in a romance in some time. Highly, Highly recommended.