15 December 2010

A Courtesan's Scandal.

Author: Julia London
Genre: Historical Romance.
Source: Personal Copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Book three in the Scandalous Series.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
Kate Bergeron is the beautiful and mysterious former mistress of a cloth merchant...and the latest beauty to capture the interest of the Prince of Wales. Mired in a disastrous divorce, the Prince attempts to distract attention from his next amorous pursuit by ordering Grayson Christopher, the eligible Duke of Darlington, to pretend to London society that he is having an affair with Kate. When Grayson reluctantly agrees to his Prince's demand, he finds the lady no more willing than he is. Kate will grudgingly act the part in public, but her favors are not for sale to any man. As Grayson and Kate mimic ardor for the world to see, they find what started as a deception becoming all too real. And when passion flames into love, their predicament becomes extreme. For while marriage between a duke and a courtesan could never happen, Kate knows in her heart that she is willing to accept nothing less....

The first time I picked up a Julia London book, was in a grocery store. I had never really read historical romance before. My mother likes the (older) Harlequin romances and that is it, that is what I came to know, but not exactly, well, like. At all. I didn't expect much out of it being a romance, but when I started reading it, I became hooked. Specifically on her historical romances. I may sometimes take my time getting to them on my reading list, but when I do, I devour them, I love her books so much.
This one, was no exception. I immediately fell in love with Grayson (almost immediately for him, actually) and Kate. Though Grayson seemed a little rough at first I could understand his reasons for being so reluctant to his situation. And Kate, I think is my favorite Julia London heroine yet. She was not born into privilege, she had to fight for it and do whatever she could to carve out a decent life for herself. I even found myself resenting Grayson a little bit at first because he seemed to look down his nose at her without bothering to even try to learn one small detail about her, besides the fact that she was the prince's new...toy shall I say. But, in a way she definitely was. But once Grayson finally started to soften, and actually get to know Kate, I enjoyed reading him and seeing how this love story was going to unfold, and survive.
Ms. London did that, wonderfully. I always feel some sort of suspense and even a little foreboding that it might not work out, but then somehow, it does. A few major factors that caused me horrifying outcome thoughts: Grayson's lover; Diana - whom does not take his rejection well at all. She went to great lengths to cause disaster and heartbreak for Kate, in which she nearly succeeded. Another (huge) factor: the Prince. He, was one of the real threats. I just could not see how he would sit by and let his new mistress be taken away right under his nose, and by his own plan backfiring for basically all to know. And a non-human factor: Grayson was a Duke. To the rest of the Ton, Kate was merely nothing but something to gossip about. A courtesan. So, just how with all of these things going against them, could they be together? (Sorry for the cheesiness.) I wasn't sure at all while reading, but as I wrote earlier, somehow the author makes it happen, and everything works out in the end. Which in my book, makes for a great romance read.
When I started reading this series, after The Book of Scandal, I had the intent to learn more about Prince George and Princess Caroline of Wales, but I just haven't gotten around to that yet. While I was worried that I would be a little lost on that part of the plot, as I read, I realized I had nothing to worry about. I found that the Prince and Princess were only a subplot, and an interesting one at that. They are mentioned throughout the entire series but I thought the author gave enough background on them for the reader to understand their problems and connections in the story, but not too much to overshadow the main characters and main plots of the books in this series. With a little imagination and understanding, they are simply the reasons why these characters have been created and brought to life together. So, if you were planning on heading into this series with hopes of more of a presence of the Prince and Princess and their scandal, this probably won't be quite what you were looking for. Though, if you want to take a look, at the ending of the first book in the author's note, she recommends some good books to start with on the Prince and Princess.
All three books in this series are out now, and you can find excerpts on the authors website: JuliaLondon.com.
The Scandalous Series in order: The Book of Scandal, Highland Scandal, and A Courtesan's Scandal.

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