Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: The Courtesan Duchess (Wicked Deceptions #1) by Joanna Shupe

Book coverThe Courtesan Duchess (Wicked Deceptions #1) by Joanna Shupe
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame

Can a bold-faced lie lead to everlasting love? One by one, the impetuous heroines in the Wicked Deceptions series intend to find out, each in her unique way. . .

How to seduce an estranged husband--and banish debt!--in four wickedly improper, shockingly pleasurable steps...

1. Learn the most intimate secrets of London's leading courtesan.

2. Pretend to be a courtesan yourself, using the name Juliet Leighton.

3. Travel to Venice and locate said husband.

4. Seduce husband, conceive an heir, and voila, your future is secure!

For Julia, the Duchess of Colton, such a ruse promises to be foolproof. After all, her husband has not bothered to lay eyes on her in eight years, since their hasty wedding day when she was only sixteen. But what begins as a tempestuous flirtation escalates into full-blown passion--and the feeling is mutual! Could the man the Courtesan Duchess married actually turn out to be the love of her life?

I've been on a traditional Regency romance slump recently and nothing I've read in recent times has caught my fancy. I was lamenting this fact to my friend, Bambi and she suggested that I read this book as she had recently read it and gave it 4 stars. I was in the mood for sexy and she assured me that this was a sexy read.

Well, sexy indeed! This is a very non-traditional Regency romance to say the least. It's got sex in it, but not just sex as you've come to know in such a book ala Julia Quinn and the like, but dirty talking, hot, explicit sex. The story jumps right into the sex at about 20% and it has you breathing just a little heavier as you read them. Definitely nothing traditional about Nick and his dirty, dirty mouth. He even days "F*ck" a few times, something I don't think I've ever encountered in other Regency romances I've read in the past. Perhaps I've just been very sheltered. Of course, this story has it's basis in Julia, Nick's wife setting out to seduce Nick so that she can get pregnant, so of course, there's sex involved. Have I mentioned sex enough times, do you think?

Other than that, this story bares very little resemblance to a traditional Regency romance because it is a very thoroughly modern telling. It, of course, has it's roots in Regency and it is set in the time, but aside from a few similarities and nods to the genre, it deviates from the norm. Die-hard Regency fans might not be too happy about this, particularly, if keeping to the rules, the manners and the commonalities of the genre is important to them.

Aside from the die-hard Regency fans getting rather indignant over the lack of rule following, this was a very enjoyable read.

Julia is brave, sassy and saucy. She set out to do something that is rather outrageous and comes away from it with joy and regret in equal measure.

Pair her with troubled, broken Nick and you have a recipe for misunderstanding and heartache. Poor Nick. He's wicked to the core, but underneath all that wickedness is a little boy who was deprived of basic human affection for his entire life and his reaction to that was to be as selfish and depraved as he could possibly be, but I also loved that Nick could be charming, tender and sweet.

There's a little mystery thrown in to add a little excitement to the story and all along I had my suspicions as to who the villian was. My first suspicions were dashed, only for me to be suspicious again of someone else, then to be further confused. Ms Shupe managed to throw me off the scent of the villian by making it seem predictable but then not. I found myself thinking "oh, it's him, not it's her ... it's him, it's her ..." and not quite settling on an answer. I did enjoy the revelation. Maybe I just don't have a sleuthing mind, but the big reveal did surprise me a little bit.

I liked the fact that Nick and Julia's reconciliation wasn't easy. Julia didn't make it easy for Nick, then Nick didn't make it easy for Julia. They both had to work hard at getting to their happy ending.

I'm looking forward to the next books in the series though I don't think I'll read them right away. Too many other books to read and I don't want to oversaturate myself with another non-traditional Regency romance so soon after enjoying this one. I think I'll savor this one for a little while.

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Other books in the series:


About the author

jsAward-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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  1. Great review. I also liked that this was not the normal regency. Its a good segway book for when you want to switch from modern to historical or vice versa.