I've been lusting after this book for years because it had so many positive reviews, and people were saying it was like a bodice ripper of olde - and you guys know how much I love bodice rippers. Throw in an obsessive hero and a revenge theme, and I. Am. So. There. When this book had a price drop down to $3.49, I pounced. "Finally!" I thought. "Precious is mine!" I thought.
Post-reading, all I can say is feh.
CLAIMING THE COURTESAN is about Lord Kylemore (Crymore) and Verity (Very Dumb). Very Dumb is Crymore's mistress. They had a contract that stipulated that she could leave after a year, and all of his gifts would remain hers after their time was up. Crymore did not take the contract seriously and after a fight with his mom, he's like, "F U, Mom! You think you can boss me around? I'm going to marry my whore! That'll show you!"
But Crymore's mistress is tired of the lifestyle of the "soiled dove" and absconds with her belongings, selling all of her expensive gifts to live a life of anonymity in the countryside. Well, Crymore can't have that, can he? He pursues her, kidnaps her in the middle of the street after attempting to kill her brother (who he thinks is her lover), and then takes her away with him to his remote Scottish estate, where he proceeds to rape her nightly for daring to leave him before he said he was done.
Very Dumb makes a few token efforts at escape, but mostly there's talk of traitorous bodies and then she cuddles with him at night because Crymore has night terrors (daddy issues). I was not impressed. I was even less impressed when while running away from him yet again, he saves her from falling off a cliff and that's when she decides she loves him. I was even less impressed when Crymore decides he loves her too and is like, "Maybe now I can treat her to some consensual sex at last!" I'm like, "*****, that's not up to you! She decides if it's consensual you **********ing piece of ****. ****!!!" What makes this even more ridiculous is that while all this raping is going on, Crymore is beating him up, forcing himself to do it to keep up appearances, whining all the while that he's a nice guy, and how bad he feels that she pushed him to this and blah, blah blah.
Crymore is that super guy you have blocked on Tinder because in his profile he says "I'm a nice guy who's tired of the drama looking for a girl who doesn't play games" but the literal first thing he messages you is "Nice tits - DTF?" with a picture of his peen attached.
Anyway, this being a romance novel, Crymore and Very Dumb end up getting together and having teh sex0rs. But then Very Dumb decides that she can't be with him because it would shame his honor or something like that. So she flees him again - and who does she run into but Mommie Dearest, who beats up her brother (again - poor guy) and then announces gleefully that she's going to disfigure Verity and then have her gangbanged by her servants while she watches. And she's a little too excited by this, if you catch my drift, which makes it extraaaaa creepy. But don't worry, because Crymore is a stalker to the very end, and arrives just in time to put a stop to his mother, but not before saying, "F U, Mom! We're still getting married and you get to choose between Norfolk and the mental asylum!"
I really liked the beginning but I simply could not stomach the rest. I'm an avid reader of bodice rippers, so it's not the rape aspect that bothered me. It's that it was handled so badly, and with such disrespect to the characters. The author tried to make the rapist into a nice guy, and he didn't even really have to grovel - Very Dumb just decided that she loved him after all, which kind of makes this feel extra super creepy, because you know she probably just came down with Stockholm Syndrome after she was traumatized by all those near-death experiences and abuse. God, even the servants were complicit, saying, basically, "He's a nice guy! Deal with it!" when she told them what he was doing to her and begged them to help her escape. Yeah, no. This was not cool and I'm very disappoint.
Hopefully her other book, UNTOUCHED, is better.
1.5 out of 5 stars