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on 29 March 2007
Anna Campbell's 'Claiming the Courtesan' is a breathtaking debut. It's historical romance at its most compelling. Don't expect mincing aristocrats or simpering misses in this story. Nor should you look for frothy lighthearted comedy, though Ms Campbell's writing hints at a keen wit. This book is intense from the very start until the last page. If I'd been physically able to read it in one sitting I would have - I didn't want to put it down. It's a love story with a difference, between two very real, almost tragically flawed characters who gradually overcome a lifetime's scars to find peace, redemption and the promise of happiness. Ms Campbell is to be congratulated on creating a romance which remains true to its central premise. The beautiful Soraya is a courtesan. The Duke of Kylemore is a product of his time, his upbringing and his enormous privilege. Neither are cardboard cutout protagonists and both are intensely real. Ms Campbell doesn't pull her punches and as a result delivers a memorable, satisfying and utterly absorbing story.
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on 21 February 2009
Bought this book based on the good reviews and what a shock! To sum it up, the story was about Kylemore who was a duke, a man with great power and position and Verity, his helpless ex-mistress who wanted out but got kidnapped and raped by Kylemore and suffered physical and psychological abuses through out the book. I guess a lot of readers don't mind this sort of plot in historicals, but I for one find this excessively offensive. The horrible characters and the non-existance of a "romance" were not what I would called a romantic story. I really want to finish reading this book as I paid good money for it, but at the end I gave up at Chapter 10.
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on 10 October 2007
I just have turned the last page of this stunning debut from Anna Campbell and I'm in awe of her talent. She strips all the glitter and glamour from the regency time period and gives the reader a man and a woman with a range of emotions between them that echoes long after you've finished the story.

With a passionate pen Anna Campbell writes such vivid dialogues between Justin and Verity I actually felt the fire burning between them. Two characters, each in their own way, are bold, fierce and filled with a life-force that comes from a tough life. This and much more was translated in words that made me eager to turn the pages, more than eager to follow the verbal fights, the clash of emotions and the path of love and healing. All this poured right into my mind with reading every page and left me breathless.

There's also a physical passion and hunger for domination that is described with heartfelt words that left me with no anger towards Justin Kylemore. His haunting and dark emotions travel with him in his actions and undoubtedly served a higher purpose in this story. To conquer such a man will never be easy and with Verity the author gave a voice to a powerful yet vulnerable woman. Possession can work both ways and this novel shares its path in both the light and darkness with every shade in between. There is no sugar coating nor any real humor to find that elevates the darker side but if you want to read about an intriguing journey of love and understanding, 'Claiming the courtesan' is a story for you!

Claiming the courtesan is bold and daring, both endearing as it is compassionate, dark and light as well as pain and pleasure. This tale speaks of such emotion you can't close this book and not speak about it. A battle between the sexes has never been more scintillating!

Courtesy of Realms on our Bookshelves
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on 2 October 2008
I've read 100's of romance books, but this is definately one of the best -I would have given it 10 stars if I could. The only gripe is I wish the end lasted longer. I've only just finished it but am going to read it again when I've finished her next book 'Untouched'. I won't go into the story just buy the book and read it.
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on 23 August 2008
I've become somewhat jaded in recent months, trying to find new Historical Romances that live up to the standards of writers like Laura Kinsale, Madeline Hunter, (early) Brenda Joyce, Anne Stuart etc. When you've 'glommed' all of your favourite writers backlists and dabbled with a host of different other writers books, you start to re-read your 'keepers' and haunt review sites searching for the elusive 'newbie with promise'. Claiming the Courtesan is just one of those gems.

It opens with the lead male, the Duke of Kylemore, and the lead female, Soraya/Verity, having just finished a heated sexual encounter. Protector and Mistress.

My first thought over the first 50 pages: 'titilation, re-worked conflicts, not sure I like a man forcing himself on a woman even if she is his mistress, perhaps an evil villain will re-focus me, more titilation, bet this'll culminate in a happy ever after pegnancy and marriage'.

As I got more engrossed, and by my last thought, on ending the book?: 'WOW. This is something as good as Laura Kinsale's 'Uncertain Magic'. I need to sit back and digest all of this. So many conflicting emotions - not one of them aimed at the writing, I must assure you - around the two main characters. At the end of it all, I'm mightily pleased I found this new author and I will definitely buy more of her books.'

Claiming the Courtesan is a really good Historical Romance with sex and an interesting character-based plot. But it's much more than that. It's a character study with sex as the catalyst. It starts in the haute ton world of London but swiftly relocates to the Scottish Highlands, and the setting reflects the layers of torments that Anna Campbell deftly peels away from Kylemore and Verity. In the end I'm not sure whether my modern sensibilities would quite allow me to like Kylemore, but he assuredly made me feel compassionate, caring and frequently envious of Verity (hey, I'm not imune to a mans sexual generosity!!! *grins*)

Try this book.
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on 7 December 2012
i loved this read ,yes it did have rape and abuse and whatever the rest of it is called but it was not written in a violent manner ,i've read similar books which i have liked other which appalled me but this was great it gripped me from page one and held my attention right through to the last page i longed for an epilogue.does it have extreme unbelievable situations ,ofcourse it does but it was so yummy different and well written that it kept me entranced to the end!what does it matter if a duke would not marry a courtesan and rape her he had been sleeping with her for a year and in the 1800s that's no surprise!would i suggest it all i have to say is i was initially turned off by her being a courtesan and nearly did not buy it ,i'm so glad i did i have a very long time to enjoy a hist.romance loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 21 September 2014
Horrific book. The message of this book is that if your rapist thinks he loves you then it isn't rape. It's this type of thinking that makes the world a horrific place for rape victims. Shame on the author.
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on 31 December 2007
Let's see... Anna Campbell writes very well, intense... that's right. But... SPOILER... Justin rapes Verity/Soraya, that's something that can't be forgotten. I can't forgive that in a writer and in a book. Is very well written but he rapes her, and for me that's a 'sin'.

No puedo olvidar que hay violaciones en el libro, no puedo olvidarlo ni perdonarlo. Una violación no se perdona ni se olvida. Este libro me recuerda a Arabella de Catherine Coulter. Las violaciones son obviables ? No. Por muy bien escrito que esté.. no se puede dejar de lado este hecho.
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on 5 December 2013
"I'll give you the world if you stay... "My God, woman, don't you know I'd lie down and die for you if you asked?"

This is the sort of passion of the "hero" one could wish to experience at least once in their life time...that is bigger than earth, deeper than sea and universally never-ending! The hero here is not a knight in shining armor, but dark creature with only one goal in mind...

To possess the heroine his courtesan, because away from her, he felt incomplete...

He is one "HERO" that contradict himself with his words and actions that makes him a very complex character the reader may hate and at at the same time root for! I decided to have faith in him in his journey for redemption to the very end and the outcome took my breath away! Granted, his treatment of the heroine was very brutal and questionable exposing his dark side..kidnapping the heroine, forcing himself on her keeping her imprisoned isolated from any outside world... but the author did not leave me in the dark for long and offered light that in the end restored the heroes true self to the path that promised retribution, redemption and hope that could conquer even his darkest side.

The "hero" here is unique...

Because he has eyes only for the "HEROINE" his passion is so powerful, its light never burns out, but with each of every day get stronger and its intensity reaches the highest level imaginable not giving up on his heroine because he knows that "Verity was all that stood between him and madness" and Light and dark battled for supremacy in Kylemore's soul because

."Without her he was the same wretched miscreant he'd always been. Redemption, expiation and absolution were utterly beyond his reach"

his heart had always recognized her as his other half and she'd seen the worst of him. Yet she accepted him because she couldn't fight the man who cried out in the night and clung to her as if she was his only hope. IMO this "Hero" is one of the most fascinating characters ever encountered in my reading romances...showing his vulnerable side as well as dark, complicated and rough side..that was captivating to watch, especially his transformation that redeemed him in every way! There was a moment when the author went too far with the melodrama caused by the heroine's infatuation of "worthiness" following refusing the heroes marriage that frustrated me to no end. The "Hero" was ready to take his life for her and loved her so passionately..even prepared to let her go for his previous sins even though he new he would not know how to live without her she still refused to be with him...I was screaming at her.... Woman have you lost your mind???..This man loves you with every breath he takes and you still deny him???

His perseverance and determination to keep the heroine no matter what was the victory to truly have her as his wife and this quality is very memorable....its teach us of our determination to never give up in our pursuits of what we really want in our lifes.
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on 20 June 2011
The Duke of Kylemore has spent the last year with the celebrated Soraya as his mistress. So when she flees from their relationship, he is furious. He tracks her down, abducts her and imprisons her in his castle in Scotland. After 10 years as a kept woman, Soraya wishes to revert to her real persona/Verity Ashton, a person vastly different from that of a courtesan. The story then follows this clash of wills between the two. There was too much introspection between the main characters for my liking. The story didn't seem to go anywhere, in fact I couldn't finish the book.
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