I wanted to love this book. The virginal heroine poses as a courtesan to seduce the husband who abandoned her, so she can conceive the heir she desperately wants and needs. I really liked the idea of this woman having the ingenuity and guts to wrestle control of her future. She is bold, smart, and sexy. While the world would think her incapable of such a thing, she transforms herself into what she needs to be in order to get what she wants. Very cool.
The thing is, that while Angela absolutely delivers, I hated her husband. Yes, I expected him to be a douche at the start of the book. The very premise kind of insists upon it. He abandoned his wife on their wedding day and stayed gone for 8 years. But I expected better from him once they got together. I don’t know why, but I did. I don’t want to give too much away here, but it was very difficult to root for a romance where the hero craps on the heroine in almost every way imaginable.
The beginning of the book was good. This is where we see Angela’s plan unfold. It’s where we see her connect with Nick and in those couple of weeks, their chemistry burns up the page. They are super-hot in bed and just fit together in a way that made me excited about what would come next. Unfortunately, instead of Nick’s character getting an upgrade from what would seem is a well-deserved lesson, he only becomes less likeable. Instead of simply ignoring his wife as he did in the past, he is now mean to her. He insults her. And then he abandons her AGAIN. By the time a reconciliation was on the horizon, I no longer wanted it to happen.
I won’t deny that Nick got a raw deal from his family, but to treat your heroine this way… I just can’t forgive you. You abandoned her and whored around the world, which is bad enough. But then, you visit a brothel after you’re supposedly enamored of your wife? NO. Casting her out while she is pregnant with your baby? No again. Basically, I just wanted to kick this guy in the ‘nads.
Aside from that, I felt like the danger/ external conflict was a bit weak. The villain was obvious and the motive was lame. I felt like it was only there to give an excuse to throw our couple together, despite the fact that Nick absolutely did not deserve it. Again, I wanted to love it. But more than that, I wanted to punch Nick in the mouth, so it’s hard for me to recommend.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Courtesan Duchess
by Joanna Shupe
Release Date: March 31, 2015