Saturday, August 30, 2008

Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

Claiming the Courtesan
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: 27th March 2007
Pages: 375
Rating: 4.5 stars

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.

Claiming the Courtesan is no fluffy romance. It centres on Justin, The Duke of Kylemore and Soraya one of London's most celebrated courtesans. Atypical characters, ones that make for a complex and sometimes dark read (which I do enjoy.) 

Kylemore has spent the past year enjoying the fruits of a five-year pursuit of Soraya aka Verity Ashton but things get twisted when Verity completes her contractual obligations with Kylemore and tries to put her life as a courtesan behind her. 

There is a rape or forced seduction scene (depending on your view) but Campbell doesn't shy away from the unsavory aspects of Justin's character or the gritty disparity between the emotional and physical effects on Verity. 

Campbell did something that I liked and found quite interesting in this novel by having Justin refuse to judge Verity for her past: “Verity is sweet and virtuous and Soraya is a woman who goes after what she wants without regret and fear. Those two women unite in you.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. 


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