The Courtesan Duchess
Book 1, Wicked Deceptions
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Can a bold-faced lie lead to everlasting love? One by one, the impetuous heroines in the Wicked Deceptions series intend to find out, each in her unique way. . .
How to seduce an estranged husband--and banish debt!--in four wickedly improper, shockingly pleasurable steps...
1. Learn the most intimate secrets of London's leading courtesan.
2. Pretend to be a courtesan yourself, using the name Juliet Leighton.
3. Travel to Venice and locate said husband.
4. Seduce husband, conceive an heir, and voila, your future is secure!
For Julia, the Duchess of Colton, such a ruse promises to be foolproof. After all, her husband has not bothered to lay eyes on her in eight years, since their hasty wedding day when she was only sixteen. But what begins as a tempestuous flirtation escalates into full-blown passion--and the feeling is mutual! Could the man the Courtesan Duchess married actually turn out to be the love of her life?
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
This new series from debut author Joanna Shupe promises wonderful things to come!
In keeping with my obsession with all things historic, I couldn’t help but grab for this title. The Courtesan Duchess. This new series from debut author Joanna Shupe promises wonderful things to come!
I love the title, so oxymoronic in the meaning and yet so wonderfully evocative. A premise of revenge and settling of old debts stars this story with a bang, in Venice. Julia has established a life in Venice, purporting to be a famed courtesan. Her marriage eight years back was singularly unspectacular, and her husband, the Duke of Colton hasn’t bothered with her since. There was a curious mix of naiveté and worldliness in Julia: she wants to tease and torment her husband, but she also hopes to find that sort of love she has dreamed of, whether or not with him.
Nick, the Duke was far less straightforward: while cavorting with everything in a skirt since he left his very young (just 16 years old) wife to fend for herself, he’s not met a moment of hypocrisy that he can’t fully get behind. While he’s been playing the field with no compunctions, the mere suggestion of Julia being unfaithful is abhorrent. OK, so we are in titled relationships and the surety of the heir’s parentage is important, he’s got little wiggle room. But, Nick does have his own reasons for his bad behavior that extend past selfishness, although none really feel entirely justified in my mind. He could be terrifically hateful, and his mouth often ran before his brain was engaged.
But – I digress: Julia’s deception worked for her, she saw the kindly and often flirtatious Nick that was so long missing in her life. And he had moments that were sweet and showed his more vulnerable side. She’s heading for that happy ending, and Nick will follow if she has her way.
Secondary characters were lovely: the courtesan who helped Julia to navigate the life was particularly interesting, and glimpses of Nick’s devotion to his daughter also added to the story. Additionally, there are characters introduced that are sure to be stars of their own stories: all with a rather unusual pathway to their happy ending. This is a story full of sensuality and sexuality: while connections appear quickly they do not overwhelm the plotting or forward motion of the story.
The plot is fast-paced without overloading readers with details from the past that are superfluous in the present. A few misses with the language use where Americanisms are used rather than British distract slightly but not overmuch, I’m just disappointed to see simple mistakes in what was otherwise a truly enjoyable and fun story.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: al conclusions are my own responsibility.