Desert Isle Keeper
How to Wed a Courtesan
How to Wed a Courtesan is a touching story about grown-ups searching for a second chance at love. It left me with a lump in my throat, and tears of both sorrow and joy in my eyes. It’s a rare book, one not to be missed.
Charlotte – Lottie – Rossington was once a shy vicar’s daughter in love with the dashing son of an earl, but times have changed. Now an accomplished, high-class courtesan, she relies on no single man for her happiness and makes her own way in the world. When she encounters her long-ago love on the streets of London, she’s altogether arrested by the sight of him – and he is startled by the very sight of her.
Evander, the Earl of Westix, believed he would be away for a matter or days or weeks, but ended up spending six years on the continent attempting to restore the family fortune after the death of his father. Now he has returned, he intends to propose to Lottie, but is stunned to realize she is not the girl he remembered; she lives in luxury, and refuses his proposal. And yet he’s smitten still, and gives not a toss what society thinks, asking her to attend balls and parties on his arm in spite of the whispers.
Lottie’s father is the reason she never married Evander in the first place. Believing that a young man of his social position would throw off a lower class girl as soon as his whims were fulfilled, Lottie’s father rejected Evander’s request for her hand. The vicar could not have foreseen that this would set in train a series of events that would lead to tragedy, and drive his daughter to sell her body, changing the lives of both Lottie and Evander forever. But Lottie has dignity and pride on her side, as well as Evander’s unflagging love. Can she get over her stubborn worries about ruining him with her reputation to finally taste bliss?
This is such an emotionally satisfying love story. Lottie and Evander have to crawl through fire – disapproval from all sides, and their mutual lack of trust – to get back to each other, and the romance that results is believable and well worth it. It put me right through the emotional wringer.
Lottie is believably naïve and sweet and tearful in the beginning, then witty and dry-eyed but human in the later chapters. Evander starts out as a swain in love and rounds out into a mature but still lovelorn man. Their romance is undeniable – the passion is there and quite physical between them (hooray, a Harlequin Historical that earns its ‘warm’ sensuality rating), but it is also based upon mutual respect, admiration and understanding of one another. I loved Lottie’s fellow courtesans (I haven’t read the other books in the London School for Ladies series, but I enjoyed the appearances they put in), and friends made amusing impressions.
I can’t reveal the big secret that embitters Lottie against Evander, nor what he tries to do to make it right. But if you’re enjoying this series – and if you like good historical romances – How to Wed a Courtesan will be a memorable and emotional experience for you.