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Claiming the Courtesan

Claiming the Courtesan

4.1 54
by Anna Campbell

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The Duke of Kylemore knows her as Soraya, London's most celebrated courtesan. Men fight duels to spend an hour in her company. And only he comes close to taming her. Flying in the face of society, he decides to make her his bride; then, she vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Dire circumstances have forced Verity Ashton to barter her innocence and change her


The Duke of Kylemore knows her as Soraya, London's most celebrated courtesan. Men fight duels to spend an hour in her company. And only he comes close to taming her. Flying in the face of society, he decides to make her his bride; then, she vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Dire circumstances have forced Verity Ashton to barter her innocence and change her name for the sake of her family. But Kylemore destroys her plans for a respectable life when he discovers her safe haven. He kidnaps her, sweeping her away to his hunting lodge in Scotland, where he vows to bend her to his will.

There he seduces her anew. Verity spends night after night with him in his bed . . . and though she still dreams of escape and independence, she knows she can never flee the unexpected, unwelcome love for the proud, powerful lover who claims her both body and soul.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author

Always a voracious reader, Anna Campbell decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Her historical romances have been critically acclaimed and have won numerous awards, including the Australian Romance Readers’ Favourite Australian Romance Author from 2009 to 2012, and Favourite Historical Romance for Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed , Untouched, Captive of Sin and My Reckless Surrender. Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed also won Best First Meeting of a Couple, Best Love Scene and Best Cover for 2012. Anna lives in Queensland.

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Claiming the Courtesan 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a powerful story that sweeps you away from the very first page. Dramatic, intriguing and above all, a story about emotion and the strength of love despite almost overpowering odds. A gripping, satisfying read. If you prefer your romances light and fluffy, this is probably not the book for you. It was one of the best historicals I've read in a long time. Full marks to the author on delivering a story which delivers on the promises held out to the reader from the very beginning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this novel and was blown away from the first chapter. I don't have much to say except 'WOW'. If you like a light hearted love story..this is not for you. If you like something darker...with a hint of obsession, this is for you. The Duke of Kylemore makes for a great character. I wish I man would have this dedication for me...complete with the 'force' if you know what I mean. GREAT read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters are complex and multilayered, and the story was compelling. With most romance novels, you anticipate a happy ending. But this one kept me guessing right up to the last few pages. An altogether amazing first novel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best book I have read in a long, long time. The first book Anna Campbell wrote and what a book it is. It¿s not a sweet book. It¿s not a tame book. It¿s dark and brooding. It¿s intriguing and powerful and so very different. Soraya is an expensive whore, bought and paid for and because of that the Duke of Kylemore does not allow her to leave him. He is boss and she is not. But when she does leave him he kidnaps her and in a remote place in Scotland they both fight their own demons. Soraya turns into Verity Ashton again and the Duke of Kylemore slowly becomes human. Something he is definitely not in the beginning of the book. He is a dark and tormented hero and a brute sometimes but Anna Campbell has such a mesmerizing way of telling a story that you cannot help but love him from the beginning. I think the loveless sex (some call it rape) was essential to the story. How can you write about a hero who leaves his demons behind and becomes an angel if you don¿t write about his very dark side first? This book is a stunning debut that left me breathless. Anna¿s second book will be out in December and it¿s already on my auto buy list.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down!! I can not wait to read more from this wonderful author.
harstan More than 1 year ago
By 1825, Soraya had become the Ton¿s most notorious courtesan. Hardly anyone realizes that she started only a few years earlier when as an innocent fifteen years old she sold her body to save her impoverished family. All these years as a kept woman, she prayed after each taking that soon she will escape back to what she once was, Verity Ashton.--------------- Soraya knows the time is right for her to vanish as she has the money and is falling in love with her current patron though she fears her kind wealthy benefactor the Duke of Kylemore will not simply allow her to disappear as the insult would be too great for an arrogant soul like him. Besides she believes Justin Kinmurrie would defy the aristocracy by making her his wife if she let him. When she runs off, he tracks her down and ignores her plea for his sake to forget her. Instead he abducts her to persuade his Verity that she would make a fine duchess of Kylemore although most of his peers would disagree, some violently.--------------------- Though CLAIMING THE COURTESAN may seem like a typical Regency romance, the relationship between the fully developed lead couple turns this into a must read for sub-genre fans. Soraya is the more fascinating character as she wants to turn back the clock to when she was a simple innocent Verity, but knows that is impossible to achieve Justin believes that his kisses and his trust will ultimately convince his beloved that she is Soraya in his bed only, but Verity, the Duchess of Kylemore in public. That match-up makes for a terrific gender battle.------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will archive this book off my nook so i don't reread this again. I did not like the forced sex, or rape parts. Yes the book has a happy ending, but over all is was rough to read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He was cruel and rapes her over and over. It not done in a forgiving way. There also was not really any other charaters to make the story interesting. Baad taste and boring story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
The lush and sensuous debut novel of Australian author, Anna Campbell. This is a very controversial book. I will be upfront and state that the hero rapes the heroine so if that disturbs you, please do not read this book. This historical romance has all the gothic elements that I love to read in a Campbell novel: a dark castle, a brooding duke, and a very complex and emotional love story. Verity Ashton is the daughter of a Yorkshire tenant farmer who has had the care of her younger brother and sister ever since her parents passed when she was fifteen. Her brother Ben acts as her servant to keep an eye on her. She creates Soraya, the most beautiful, discriminating, and famous courtesan in London. But she’s twenty-eight now and has enough money to retire to a life of quiet comfort with her family. Her yearlong liaison with the slightly younger Duke of Kylemore has finally allowed her this freedom. But she can’t escape so easily. She leaves him without a goodbye. Justin Kinmurrie, the Duke of Kylemore, has had his eye on Soraya for six long years and his obsession is finally his. He has never wanted any other woman but her. And now he wants her for his duchess despite his mother’s (and, thus, society’s) protestations. But Verity knows such a suggestion is mad and, in a scene reminiscent of Elizabeth’s bitter refusal of Darcy,  she turns him down. “Perhaps if he’d phrased his ridiculous suggestion less arrogantly, she might have tempered her refusal.” (p14) Verity believes he is merely using her as a tool against his aristocratic family and is only marrying her to spite them. But it’s not true; it was never true. Justin truly knows what he wants. He’s just a bit obsessive about it. “Kylemore, you more than anyone know men don’t take care of women without asking something in return.’” (p204) She retreats to the quiet seaside town of Whitby, which I thought appropriate for this gothic tale; it’s where Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker vacation in Dracula by Bram Stoker. It’s easy to say that Justin’s childhood with an opium-addicted father and a domineering and promiscuous mother drive him to violating Verity. And that’s where the controversy lies in this story, understandably, of course, to our politically-correct standards. But in this story, it does play a part. Like Marcus in Sabrina Darby’s recent Lord of Regrets, he comes to loathe himself and his behavior. Madness runs in Justin’s family and he also fears he will inherit it. In Verity, Justin finds a strong and brave woman and one who could never possibly love a broken man like him. Especially after he kidnaps her, spirits her away to his remote Scottish estate, and uses her. He’s desperate, especially as he hasn’t been to his childhood home in over twenty years, the sight of a miserable boyhood. But Verity has a kind heart, almost too kind, and his pain touches her. She feels empathy for the poor child he once was, kind of like Jane Eyre felt for Rochester. She comforts him from his tormented dreams, soothes his demons, and gives him peace. “…he’d witnessed her uncomplaining bravery on the long and difficult journey when she’d been so scared of where she’d been going. Of horses. Of him.” (p123) and “Verity was his shield against the demons that pursued him.” (p174) No one can help Verity when she tries to escape, as his servants, victims of the Scottish clearances, are wholeheartedly devoted to their master. They will do anything for him. Campbell writes with emotion and depth of feeling about the lives of Justin’s servants and his kinship with them. I especially enjoy the older and wiser father figure of Hamish Macleish who is often Justin’s conscience. Indeed, Hamish’s kind words about Justin force Verity to reconsider Justin, much like Elizabeth hears Mrs. Reynolds’ endearments about Darcy when Elizabeth visits Pemberly in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. “Oh, why couldn’t she have fallen in love with someone simple and straightforward?” (p251) Both Verity and Justin share painful pasts and both created personas to cope with their lives. “When faced with an impossible choice, she’d created Soraya. In a similar fashion and for similar reasons, the terrors of the duke’s childhood had forced him to become Cold Kylemore.” (p210) Campbell’s language is stark and blatant, an apt complement to a brooding and serious story. I like her outrageous and in-your-face narrative and dialogue; it’s very real. There are no simpering misses, gay ballrooms, or descriptions of beautiful fashions. This is the dark side of the Regency era. “‘Whores tup for money, not for pleasure. You confuse me with some fine lady who chooses where she lies down. I spread my legs for men because they pay me to do it. In your case, they pay me a fortune.’” (p53) The descriptions of the cold and wild lands of the Highlands are vivid and appropriate to the story’s dark romance. Even Justin’s hunting lodge is filled with his ancestors’ horrid taxidermied animals gathering dust all over the place. Demons from his dark and toxic past. The ending is kind of a shocker in both its brutality and its abruptness. And the story’s resolution is both touching and emotional. A true gothic romance that will both disturb and entertain.
ExArkie More than 1 year ago
Sad to say, I have now read ALL the books by Ms. Campbell - this will be my LAST book till she decides to write a new one! Unfortunately, I did not realize that "Claiming the Courtesan" was her debut novel - guess it really doesn't matter! Some of the books are better than others; but, they all ALL really good. I wish she had written dozens more. I am an invalid and unable to do much more than read - so, thank you from a REAL fan. ExArkie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished this very intense "romance" and I'm exhausted. Quite the ride! Not your average light regency and advise adults only reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, very different than other romance novels I have read lately
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with the reviews, both sides. It was a complex read and good character development. I appreciated the writing. But essentially it's a caveman story. Man grabs woman. He slings her over his shoulder and kidnaps her. He rapes he ... oh I mean "forces himself on her". Reading some of that was very hard to deal with and created sad conflict in my feminist soul.
Frenchiebella More than 1 year ago
I loved other books by this author but this one was terrible. It is pretty much based upon a disgrace of a man who refuses to let his mistress go because he's a pig and rapes her. Ms. Campbell tries to put passion and some loving feelings in there, but the main character is miserable and is being tortured by her captor. That's about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book.
LadyScarlet More than 1 year ago
This one was intense! The hero was aggressive, obsessive and seriously intense. His single-minded focus on the heroine was almost scary at times. He was the perfect anti-hero.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good luck getting through this one. Never could get interested. It took two days finally finished.
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