Review: Unclaimed- Courtney Milan

Title: Unclaimed
Author: Courtney Milan 
Series: Turner Series- Book2
Release Date: September, 2011
Publisher: HQN 
Genre: Historical
Rating: 4 Hoots
Reviewer: Vickie

Her only hope for survival… 

Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London—and he's known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check...until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he's waited for all his life. 

Is to ruin the man she loves… 

But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse: seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs…and the love she knows is impossible. (Amazon) 

I have read my fair share of Historical Romances to know a different type of story when I read it. Unclaimed, proved to be just that ... different. I expected to read about debauchery, sexual teasing and the innocence found and lost in such stories, where a rake with exceptional bedroom confidence, skills and arrogance is a must for the hero. However, this story told of a different type of hero and affair. A courtesan well versed in the art of seduction, winning over the heart of her suitor. The catch? Her heart's desire happens to be a virgin, waiting for "the one." Nothing like a bumbling, awkward hero to freshen up a genre. 

While it did have a sluggish start, I understood the author's need to lay the groundwork to be able to spin her elaborate tale perfectly. The story is interesting and well developed as are the characters. The relationship between Mark and Jessica is something that develops at a slow pace and it's hard to describe the twists and turns of their relationship without spoiling it for the reader; so I will leave it at that. Suffice to say, the story did focus on the typical goings on of the period and how cruel the life of a courtesan must have been, as well as, the cold truth of the lifestyle once they outlived what men considered "sexual prime." How they earned their living afterward and were used as just bodies, doing another's bidding for money and not much at that. 

I especially enjoyed the relationship between Mark and his Brothers. It was difficult to read some of the backstory, especially when dealing with Smite, who is pretty much abused and it's a miracle he is able to feel anything at all after the ordeal he suffered. Whereas Mark is more of the favored child. Hard to think there wasn't any jealousy or bitterness between them. On the contrary, everyone loved Mark and wanted nothing more than to protect him. Despite her reputation, Jessica is accepted with open arms because that is what would make Mark happy. I was very appreciative of the way Mark considered himself rich and having always been so, because he'd been lucky enough to have his brothers in his life and his feelings had nothing to do with money. I thought that was a really nice touch. 

Since this is a romance novel, the question is not "will they or won’t they," but rather how will they manage to end up together after all this? Will Jessica go through with her plan and what will Mark do then? Rest assured you will get all the answers to these questions at the end of the book; no cliffhangers here and although the read is book 2 of the Turner series, it can be read as a standalone. There was nothing that I truly did not like about this book. But I do recall regret that the Author hadn't told us the precise reason why Mark would have written a story about "Chastity" in the first place. Was it because of a personal experience, his upbringing or his feelings toward society, his mother? Mark struck me as a very private person and not one to share his personal opinions on a high scale easily. I found his writing of the book quite odd, but it certainly did not hinder the read's success in any way, but it is worth mentioning I think. 

For those romance and historical fiction readers out there, I highly recommend this read as well as the entire Turner series. Although anyone who enjoys good writing, great characters and juicy plot, should not be discouraged from reading. It's light weight and I had fun with it. :) 

T hat's all folks; thanks for reading. :) 

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