Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: The Kings Courteasan by Judith James

Title: The Kings Courtesan 
Author: Judith James
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Stand alone, but follows Libertine
Publisher: Harlequin 
Number of Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley 
Release Date:  September 1st, 2011

 Her body is the battleground
Sensuous, beautiful and determined, Hope Matthews is a favored mistress of the king. Her many charms have helped her rise from the gutter to the king's bed. But with the new queen's impending arrival, her nights in the royal chamber— and her hopes for security—will swiftly come to an end.
His honor a distant memoryHaunted by his past, hardened by the recent civil war, Captain Robert Nichols lives only for revenge. When told he must marry the king's courtesan to provide a cover for their affair, he's faced with a new low. Both are pawns of a great man, but married to their dreams of independence, their clash is inevitable. Can these two wounded souls realize the answer to all their dreams might lie in each other's arms? (goodreads)

The Kings Courtesan was a surprisingly refreshing read for me. I am a sucker for historical romances that involve kings and their mistresses.This was a bit of a different twist on that story.  When the story opens Hope is mistress to the King-Charles Stuart. He's about to be married, and knows that Hope can't remain as his mistress because she is a commoner. He arranges a marriage for her to Captain Robert Nicholas. Neither Hope or Robert are prepared for this marriage and are forced into it for different reasons. Robert just wants his lands back, which the king has taken and is set to give them to someone else & Hope was tricked into the marriage by the King.

This book starts off slow because of all the back story of Hope and Robert. It's nine chapters before they even have a full conversation...and Hope didn't exactly endear herself to me in that conversation. She's rightly upset that she's been duped by the king, but comes off shrewish while Robert is trying to comfort knowing that their marriage wasn't what either of them wanted. After once the two arrive at Cressly Manor, Robert's home, the pace picks up and Hope becomes much more likable. We learn why Robert is so tortured by events of the past, and why he's hell bent on revenge. Seeing these two stubborn people come to terms with their past and learning to love again was well worth the slow beginning. 

This is set in 1661 and I really liked how the politics was strewn into the storyline but didn't overtake it completely. I think one of the reasons I don't read more historical romances/fiction books from this time period is because the politics of the time always ends overshadowing the romance of the book.  I love politics in my romances but not when that's the whole book. Another problem I usually have with this time period is the language. A lot of authors try to have the dialect match the time period, and it doesn't always work. In this book however, the language doesn't do that, and I loved that-it made the story so much easier to read and follow.

The secondary characters were actually the hero/heroine from a previous book by Judith James-Libertine, which I didn't know when I started the book. I normally hate reading books out of order, but this book works really well as a stand alone, and made me want to go back and read Libertine because Elizabeth and Will were a lot of fun. However, fans of that book should be aware that Elizabeth does not make as many appearances as her husband did in this book.

Historical Romances have been hit or miss for me lately, but this was a total hit! I do have to add that it's a bit predictable, but I was ok with it and liked seeing how everything meshed together, if that makes sense. I really look forward to reading more by this author.

Curran Crush Meter: Medium 
Martini Sigh Meter: Medium (I loved when Robert called Hope Elf as a nickname) 
Ethan/Merit Sizzle Meter: Medium 
Finn Sidekick Meter: Medium