TITLE: Claiming the Courtesan
AUTHOR: Anna Campbell
STARTED: July 2, 2007
FINISHED: July 6, 2007
FIRST SENTENCE: Justin Kinmurrie, Duke of Kylemore, looked across the tumble of stained sheets to where his mistress lay in apparent exhaustion.
SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] 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.
REASON FOR READING: With all the brouhaha, how could I not?
THOUGHTS: Intriguing. I have to hand it to the author, she really made me think about this one. I'm siding with the readers who think that Kylemore did not quite redeem himself. Campbell's book is well written and breaks away from the mold of the typical historical regency book. While I give her credit for trying something new, I was mildly disappointed in the end because I could not quite get to the point of liking the lead characters.
Kylemore comes off as brash and self-centered. What he puts Verity through is unforgivable. Not only does he imprison and rape the woman he supposedly loves, but when he realizes his actions were wrong, he takes the "Too late to change now" road. While Kylemore rages an interesting mental war with himself, by the end of the book I did not think that he had redeemed himself enough to earn Verity's love.
Verity, on the other hand, came across as meek to me. She puts up a good fight but, in the end, she simply gives up. She goes from hating Kylemore to loving him simply because the Duke had a bad dream. The change was too fast for my taste. I actually found myself asking if Stockholm syndrome might come into play in this book.
While Campbell's characters and their emotions seem realistic enough, I could not love this book because I found myself hating Justin on more than one occasion. The man is simply a cad.
MISCELLANEOUS: Art department take not: More covers like this please.
RATING: 6/10 [Good]