Claiming the Courtesan / Anna Campbell. 2007
Like quite a few others, I read this book this week because of all of the attention it has gotten recently in romance reading circles. I'd read enough spoilers that I knew what was coming. Oddly, I think that actually enhanced my reading because I took my time, made sure I read every word, and watched carefully for the clues that would make this improbable romance work. And for me it did work. No doubt spoilers follow, but since no one reads my blog, who cares?
It's hard to say something simple, such as "I liked this book" or "I didn't like this book." I'll say instead that I'm awfully glad I read it. Well written and carefully constructed, it caught and held me. It was not always easy to read, and as I got closer and closer to Kylemore's rape of Verity, I had to stop and put it down for awhile several times. Kylemore abducts Verity on p. 43. The 1st rape occurs on p. 128. That's 85 pages of rather tense build-up to what you know is the inevitable. But it's also 85 pages that explore who these people are. We don't like what Kylemore does, but we begin to see that he's barely in control of himself. Later we understand why that is. Rape is one of the most heinous of crimes, but do we say it's one that cannot be forgiven? I don't see how we can draw a line, forgive this, but don't forgive that. Kylemore is remorseful and when he understands that he has hurt the one thing he loves the most he begins to change. It was fascinating to watch him change, and I think Ms. Campbell does it justice. She's a heck of a writer who took a huge chance. I think she was probably lucky to see it published. Or maybe someone at Avon has wised up. Whatever, I'll be eagerly awaiting her next book, due, I think, in December.
Lately I've been avoiding most things Avon. EJ, LK, and JQ all disappointed me with their most recent efforts; with EJ & JQ I wonder where the editors were. If this is the best Avon has to offer I'm not inclined to try their other authors. I had not intended to read this book. I'm glad it got all the "press" it did. I'm glad I read it. Not sure I'll read it again, but never say never.