23 August 2011

Unclaimed, by Courtney Milan

Unclaimed (Turner #2)Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

My rating: ★ and three quarters

This book is my introduction to Courtney Milan's work and I am very impressed. Even so, I found it hard to decide what rating to give this book. Sometimes it felt like a 5-star book, others a 4-star book, and then sometimes a 3-star book. So I think I am going to settle on 3.75 stars.

Ms. Milan's writing is excellent, especially at the beginning. Sometimes I would stop to read passages over again just because I liked them and thought they were beautiful.
In the years that followed, she'd learned that the glittering finery was a trap, that the soiree was not endless.It eroded you, piece by irrevocable piece. it made a mockery of love, and if you did not look after your heart with ferocious care, you'd find. bit by bit, that you'd traded it for silk ribbons and baubles on gold chains.
Other times I would stop to read a line because it made me laugh or giggle, little gems like
There's no need to sound so surprised. I'm chaste, not dead.

I was entertained for 425 pages. Whenever I felt my interest waning, something would come up that would throw me right back in again. None of the scenes were 'filler scenes.' More importantly, the characters were not TSTL - oh yes, and they actually made decisions like they were mature, thinking adults. One thing I really loved was that anytime I thought a scene was being set up for a 'big misunderstanding' type scenario, Ms. Milan would turn the tables on me and have the hero and heroine talk and work it out like they were sensible people. I loved that!

My main problem, and the reason why this book is not rated five stars is the premise. I think it's an original premise but one that Ms. Milan doesn't quite manage to pull off (for me). Jessica is an undercover courtesan (lol!) with a mission: seduce Sir Mark, get proof of it, and make it public, so as to ruin his reputation. She has her (very good reasons) for doing it. Along the way she falls in love, and how can you ruin the man you love? That is the conundrum.

Sir Mark is one of, if not the most eligible bachelor in London; and his reputation is unparalleled and his character is of renown. What is he renowned for? His virtue. That is where my problem comes in. I just don't buy the whole male chastity angle. It is not that I don't believe that some believed in and practiced chastity in those times, it is just that I simply cannot believe that a man would write about it (who was not deeply religious and/or affiliated with a church, like Charles Wesley or somebody) and furthermore that he would gain a huge following of men/young boys who then tried to emulate him. I can't believe it, and I couldn't suspend belief long enough that it didn't factor into my enjoyment of the story. (I hope this is not a spoiler) It bothered me quite a bit, so I took one star off for that.

The other (minor) issue I had with the book was that at times Mark was perfectly imperfect (don't you just love that when it happens?), but once a while I'd read a passage that left me feeling that he was a bit too perfect. The other male characters in the book were but a foil for him, making him seem a lot like the saint/paragon that he claimed he wasn't. But that's really minor, so I only took of 0.25 stars for that, lol.

All in all, I would most definitely recommend it. It is very well-written and it was interesting. I don't know what more you could ask from a book. And I will also most definitely be scoping out more of Ms. Milan's work.

PS: This book is part of a series and I had no trouble following, even though I haven't read the other books.
*I received this ebook free from Netgalley. It had no influence on my review/rating*

View all my reviews


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