Review: Unclaimed, by Courtney Milan

Blurb:

cover-courtneymilan-unclaimedHandsome, wealthy, and respected, Sir Mark Turner has made a name for himself as an upright moralist. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a hidden passion, one that he keeps in careful check… until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh and discovers she is the one he’s waited for all his life, to take to his bed and let into his heart.

But Jessica is a courtesan, not the respectable lady Sir Mark believes. When Mark’s enemies ask her to seduce him and destroy his good name, she agrees. The money they offer will allow her to escape a life that has become unbearable. But along the road to seduction, the worst happens: Jessica falls in love. The only way to win the freedom she needs is to destroy the most honorable man she’s ever met…


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Edition read:
July 7, 2014
Entangled: Edge
Historical-Victorian Era Romance
426 e-book pages, Enhanced Edition
3rd person
Book 2 of the Turner series
January 31-February 2, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Review:

Courtney Milan, hereafter and evermore, I shall call thee Trope Trouncer.

Y’all. Jessica, the heroine, is fierce. She’s smart and witty and mostly unapologetic. She’s a survivor, despite her low opinion of herself and some depression.

She’s a whore. I’m not name calling! Oh, but it sounds so much more lovely when we say courtesan instead, isn’t it? I like that. So French.

This was lovely and compelling. A total opposites attract story. Good versus not so good. Chaste virgin hero versus…obviously not chaste virginal heroine. Upstanding, wealthy, and much admired/respected Knight of the Realm versus fallen unrespectable woman teetering on the edge of becoming penniless. Mmmmm…so much can go wrong, so much can go right. Right?

The story just digs in and we really get to know these characters on their long walks. And that’s a thing we don’t do much of anymore. Just walk, arm in arm, solve all the world’s problems and whatnot. Sure, the guy *says* he loves long walks on the beach under a moonlit sky, but who really does that?

My favorite chapter was the shooting match. Giiiiirl. There’s something profoundly sexy about a proficient markswoman. A girl after my own heart–the target shooting, that is. Fortunately, Mark thought so too.

I LOVED the references to Arthurian literature. They sure were subtle, though. And Milan twisted them around a little bit. Okay, a lot. So much so, that if it weren’t for this being an Expanded edition with all sorts of juicy Author notes, I might have missed them…and I studied that shit in college, kept the books, and reread them frequently.

We don’t often get such strong heroines who remain feisty throughout. Oftentimes it’s forgotten or abandoned as she falls in love and becomes increasingly dependent on her new man. But Jessica…she has moments of doubt, moments where she feels helpless and hopeless. But, we all do. It’s what we do with it. And she…she sucks it up and does what she needs to do without wilting and simpering, keeping her head high.

And the slow burn. Good God we had to work for it. But it was so worth it. So, so, so worth it. Mark, you virgin rascal. I was glad to see he had it in him when the floodgates opened.

There was some fantastic humor in this and a few parts nearly brought me to tears. I wasn’t ready for this to end–but I’m SO looking forward to Smite’s story.

This is only my second Courtney Milan book and I’m finding myself utterly hooked and facing the nearly daunting backlog. I MUST READ THEM ALL.

And, umm, the books in this series are tagged on GR as Regency. But, technically, they aren’t. Regency Romance is set during 1811-1820. The first book of the series begins in 1837, the second in 1841; both falling during the reign of Queen Victoria (from 1837 to 1901)…therefore Victorian. Not that it’s a huge deal, but it is important to note that the times…they were a changin’.

***

This review also posted on GoodReads.

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