Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

Posted February 26, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Risking the wrath of Chantal (*g*), here is my review of CtC which I tried to post, like, 5 times yesterday.

Book description:

The Duke of Kylemore knows her as Soraya, London’s most celebrated courtesan. Men fight duels to spend an hour in her company. And only he comes close to taming her. Flying in the face of society, he decides to make her his bride; then, she vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Dire circumstances have forced Verity Ashton to barter her innocence and change her name for the sake of her family. But Kylemore destroys her plans for a respectable life when he discovers her safe haven. He kidnaps her, sweeping her away to his hunting lodge in Scotland, where he vows to bend her to his will.

There he seduces her anew. Verity spends night after night with him in his bed . . . and though she still dreams of escape and independence, she knows she can never flee the unexpected, unwelcome love for the proud, powerful lover who claims her both body and soul.

2008 has been a good year for historicals for me. When looking for historicals to read, what I find myself doing is looking for “non-traditional” historicals. Basically, I don’t want to read about the Lord and Lady of the manor who both come from big families with, like, zero conflict to overcome other than some imaginary “He’s-so-far-above-my-station-boo-hoo-hoo” conflict. That’s why I have love reading Jo Goodman so much. So when I find a book about a Duke who is determined to marry his mistress, I am intrigued. That’s why I bought Claiming the Courtesan. The plot sounded about as non-traditional as you could get. Now those of you already comparing it to The Duke by Gaelen Foley (I did), take that thought right out of your head.

No one knows much about London’s most infamous courtesan, Soraya. No one would ever guess that a courtesan is the last thing that Soraya would have ever chosen to be. Years before, 15 year old Verity Ashton was forced to make an impossible choice. After her parents died, Verity was the only one that could take care of her family. It didn’t take long before something that seemed so impossible was the only way that Verity and her family could survive. Having been a courtesan for over 10 years, Verity has finally saved enough money to finish putting her sister through school and has enough left over to live modestly. The only problem Verity foresees is leaving her current protector, the Duke of Kylemore. Though their agreed upon year is up, Verity is beyond certain that Kylemore will not let her go. Because of that, she decides to leave in the middle of the night without telling Kylemore she’s leaving. Little does she know what will follow her impulsive decision.

The Duke of Kylemore is furious when he finds that Soraya has slunk off in the middle of the night. Having decided only the day before that he would marry her to spite his mother, Kylemore is determined to track her down and make her sorry for daring to leave him. Having tried to acquire Soraya as his own for more than 6 years, Kylemore is far from ready to let her go. When he tracks her down after three long months, he kidnaps her. Promising that he will break her, Kylemore spirits her away to a remote area of Scotland where he is certain she can’t escape him or his wrath.

This book isn’t for all readers. I even think that this book falls out of “non-traditional”. There is most definitely forced seduction in this book. It could even be interpreted as rape, depending on the reader. I really enjoyed reading about the character development in Kylemore. At the beginning of the book, he was blind with rage over Verity leaving him. Even after he learned why she became a courtesan, he was still enraged. All he wants to do is break her spirit and bend her to his will. It’s because he can’t do those things that he realizes exactly what kind of person Verity is. Even after hurting her over and over, Verity still steps in to help him deal with his nightmares. That humbles him as well as makes him take a look at what sort of person has become.

Verity has kept the ability to keep her true self separate from Soraya. It’s only when she’s with Kylemore that it’s harder to do so. It’s only after she allows herself to get a true glimpse into the real Kylemore that she admits her love for him. While she knows that they’ll never have forever, she’s willing to take the short time together that they do have.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. To see the growth in both these characters really was amazing. I didn’t like how Verity was willing to martyr herself for the sake of Kylemore and the dukedom. Even knowing his past, she was willing to throw away her happiness for something that she knew was unimportant to him. She also knew that he would be never truly be happy without her, but she was refused to let him make his own decision. That was really annoying.

4 out of 5.

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8 responses to “Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

  1. I knew about the forced seduction before I read it, and so I was prepared for it, and I think that helped. It still wasn’t easy to read, and there were moments I strongly disliked the hero, but Campbell turned it around for me, and I truly enjoyed the book. It was a very intense story, not easy to forget, that’s for sure.

  2. Chantal

    Ugh, even if it didn’t have rape. (Not forced seduction! lol)
    it was still boring. I skimmed some parts.

    Hey! You didn’t put tons of spoilers. Are you okay, Casee? 😉

    I disagree with your opinion, but it was still a well written review. Good job , hon.

  3. azteclady

    How interesting it is to have such widely differing opinions and feelings about the same book, isn’t it?

    I liked it, very much, even though it was a difficult one for me (personal baggage), and the writing brought the heroine’s feelings of helplessness a bit too close to life.

  4. I’m reading this one right now. I’ve been having a hard time with historicals, mainly because every Regency has seemed like the same book over and over again.

    One thing I am enjoying about CtC is how Verity is different from the usual, virginal herione, but there had been so much talk about the book that I was expecting to be wowed by it. I haven’t run across the wow factor yet. I’m ready to find a historical that’s going to keep me up all night and make me want to miss work the next day so I can finish reading it.

  5. Farrah,
    Have you read Jo Goodman yet? I know Casee probably raved about her to you, but she’s fantastic. When I read If His Kiss is Wicked, that’s how it was for me. 🙂

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