Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man

A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan 1023

Piper Chase-Pierpont is a curator at a Boston Museum and her job hangs on the line as she is designing an exhibit on Boston's favorite abolitionist, Ophelia Harrington. She is shocked when a secret compartment reveals Ophelia's diaries which detail her beginnings as London's most sought after courtesan and her very sexy escapades with a man known as "Sir." Her life becomes even more difficult when her college crush, Mick Malloy, shows up as a guest employee of the museum looking just as delicious as ever. Reading the steamy diary and the way that Ophelia changed her life has made Piper eager to take a plunge of her own and with her best friend's help she undergoes a makeover that is more than physical. Mick has always wanted the shy bookworm, and now that she is unabashedly trying to seduce him there is no holding him back. Along with a smoking hot affair Piper has to figure out a way to plan an exhibit that is true to Ophelia and sneak it by the conservative museum trustees, all while a brown-nosing employee named Linc is trying to get her fired.

Ohelia Harrington is tired of being controlled by her family so she takes a chance and enlists the help of The Swan to become a courtesan. Swan enlists her own friend, Sir, to help train Ophelia and Ophelia embarks on 7 nights of sin with her masked stranger before she is thrown into the the real world of London's demimonde. Throughout her career she never forgets Sir and although she knows it can never be she finds herself jealous of his other lovers. Even while she finds men whose company she enjoys Sir reappears in her life occasionally, including one time to warn her off one particularly nasty man. Ignoring him, Ophelia learns a dangerous lesson and it is Sir who is there to pick up the pieces. She lives her lie in freedom, enjoying herself and those she chooses to have around her, but there will always be people who are jealous of her success and they are determined to see that she is brought low. When those forces come together their charges threaten Ophelia's life and she must once more turn to Sir, who turns out to be far different than Ophelia had expected and he offers her far more.

I loved Piper as the repressed academic whose sole attempt to be wild backfired, so she hid in her shell for years and is only just now coming out. I guess I'm a sucker for ugly duckling- beautiful swan stories and this was a great one because it had some pretty awful parents thrown into the mix to justify her actions. Mick was also great as the sexy Irish hero who was just as brilliant as Piper and his honorable attempt to do the right thing backfired and he is just now getting together with the woman who intrigued him all those years ago. Obviously their romance was short so I did kind of feel like I was missing some things and their wasn't as much romantic development as I would have liked, but I still felt like they went so well together. They had common interests and helped each other out and supported each other through some really tense situations, especially his support of her museum exhibit. They had some pretty hot sex, nothing like Ophelia's story, and I liked their story best, which surprised me because I am more into historicals then contemporaries, but I related more to this Piper than Ophelia.

Ophelia was difficult, very difficult, for me to relate to or understand because while I could see that having her life planned out for her is unpleasant, it still seems impossible that a woman of her standing in that era would throw it all away to become a courtesan. While the sadder part of that life was touched on, I still felt like it was too glorified and there was so little thought given to what she was giving up and how her "freedom" was still based on a man, even if it was different than a marriage. Sir was nearly impossible to get a feel for because none of the story was told from his point of view and while we are lead to believe he's a male prostitute, and it was even questionable weather he was the actual hero, his identity is kept a secret until the very end. The sex is scorching, with quite a bit of kink and fantasies explored, and there is certainly quite a bit of it and it is not purely between Ophelia and Sir. Their relationship progressed slowly because they didn't really see very much of each other with him just popping up randomly so it was difficult to see how they worked together.

Rating: I felt like the contemporary story was stronger in the relationship, but both stories were enjoyable and were different from what I usually go for which was a nice change of pace.

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