Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan

Regency London’s most celebrated courtesan, The Blackbird, was a woman before her time—uninhibited, financially independent, and free to live by her own rules. Schooled in the sensual arts by the one man she loved the most, she recorded every wicked detail in her diaries…

When Boston museum curator Piper Chase-Pierpont unearths The Blackbird’s steamy memoirs, she’s aroused and challenged by what she finds. Could the courtesan’s diaries be used as a modern girl’s guide to finding love and empowerment? One curious curator—and one very lucky man—are about to find out…
Available for purchase at: Amazon, Book Depository, Book Depository UK

Being fairly new at reviewing historical romances, I'm never sure what to expect from authors within the genre. But this isn't exactly historical, having part of the tale told by a modern woman. And of course, there isn't only one author involved in the writing of A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man, so it was an interesting reading experience for me. I definitely felt there were times that I could distinguish the writing styles of each author, but as a whole, I think the novel flowed very well.

Early on, it was evident that "The Blackbird" had one heck of a life. Her diaries displayed a young woman that wasn't happy with all that her society had to offer and decided to make a life for herself, forged with some incredibly forward-thinking for the early 1800's. Being an eighteen year old though does present a certain draw back when it comes to 'mature thinking', and this is where the story really took off, for me.

On the other side of things, Piper, the modern day heroine, seemed like the typical romance novel, ugly duckling turned swan type character. Having her read the diaries and attempt to make over her own life based on the two hundred year old advice made it much more unique. Really, how much of the past is practically applicable in today's world? Well, you'll have to read to find out, but I think Bradley and  Donovan did a wonderful job of blending old with new.

Both women had hard lessons to learn in their lives and it was this element that kept me most captivated (besides the steamy love scenes past and present). When Piper and Mick return to a site that held great meaning to Ophelia Harrington, it was an excellent tribute to the struggles from America's history.

The book evened out humour with some of its more shocking, serious moments. Some of the vocab chosen made me chuckle for sure. Even the dreaded "c" word was given a sense of occasion with ending it in an "e" (possibly an Old English spelling for the word?). It did get quite raunchy, at least in comparison with other softer romance novels; I would consider this more of an erotic read. All in all, it was a good mix of ingredients and a very enjoyable read.


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