10 March 2011

The Rake's Inherited Courtesan


First line: Safe behind her black veil, Sylvia Boisette steeled herself to confront those who, because of her birth, were a part of her world, but who would never accept her as part of theirs.

Publisher's Synopsis:  Daughter of a Parisian courtesan, Sylvia Boisette longs for respectability, though gossips say she is nothing more than a gentleman's paramour. Now, with her guardian dead, she finds herself in a shocking situation...

Christopher Evernden is appalled by his uncle's will -- Mademoiselle Boisette is now his courtesan! Although his body responds to Sylvia's tempting sensuality, he knows he should rid himself of his disreputable charge. But, surprisingly, Sylvia has a vulnerability to match her exceptional beauty. Perhaps his inherited mistress could become his rightful bride!

With that slightly confusing (to me, anyway) opening line, I wasn't really sure how I would like this book. But I was caught up fairly quickly. While it starts out as Sylvia's story, Christopher gets equal time, even when he is not in Sylvia's company, and I liked the crisp narration that delved into his psyche. We the reader get to know both hero and heroine quite well, which makes us more vested in the outcome and in their HEA.

Of course, before getting to that point, there must be conflict and misunderstandings. Sylvia was raised in a brothel, until the age of ten or so. Her father is a duke, but he wants nothing to do with her and has refused to claim paternity of her. Monsieur Jean rescued Sylvia from the brothel, and has been her guardian, but now he's passed away, and the story opens with a gathering for the reading of his will. His nephew, Christopher Evernden, has grudgingly attended, and is shocked when he learns that his uncle has "bequeathed" Sylvia's care to him, as is the lady in question. Sylvia had expected to be left some money, and, being interested in fashion, had intended to invest in a friend's dress shop and make her own life. Now she's stuck with Christopher, who is disgusted at the thought of having to take in his uncle's ladybird. 

There are travels, a kidnapping attempt, a growing attraction that neither wants to admit to, and a startling discovery. And along the way, the pages turn quickly. One method I use to judge a book's merit is whether I want to immediately look up the author and make a list of all her (or his) other books. In this instance, I did so. I look forward to more from Ms. Lethbridge.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

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