The Accidental Courtesan by Cheryl Ann Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews, LLC
2 1/2 Kisses
1/2 Pepper (M/F, oral sex)
Lady Noelle was given the task of helping to oversee the school established by her half sister Eva while she was out of town. The school helps troubled courtesans change their lives and teaches them how to prepare for a respectable marriage. When a desperate courtesan named Bliss arrives at the school with a stolen necklace, Noelle agrees to help her return it. But Lady Noelle Seymour is busted sneaking into the Earl of Seabrook's Town house to return the stolen necklace. She goes in the wrong room and encounters the earl's cousin by mistake. Fortunately, he's drunk and she manages to leave the necklace and make her escape. But he remembers her scent, as well as her excuse for being in his room: she's his new courtesan. When he finds her, he insists that she fulfill her promise and become his lover.
The premise of the book sounds intriguing, but for me the story just doesn’t deliver. It’s tolerable if you can get past the witless schemes Noelle attempts. For example, at one point she decides to dress up like a courtesan so she can mingle with other courtesans, in the hopes that she'll gather some useful gossip about a maid they suspect is connected to the plot to steal the earl's necklace. But there didn’t seem to be any reason to think some random courtesans would have any useful knowledge. So to me this just seemed like a pointless ploy to get dressed up like a whore and play amateur detective. As I continued to read, I found Noelle to be immature, impulsive almost to the point of being a danger to herself, and a cock tease. It took a fair amount of self-discipline for me to finish the book. Some of my impatience with this book might be due to the fact that I recently read another historical romance with a very similar beginning, where the heroine was caught sneaking into a bedroom to return a stolen item. Seriously, what kind of idiot would even do that?
Nevertheless, The Accidental Courtesan by Cheryl Ann Smith does have some things that will appeal to fans of historical romance, including passion, mystery and intrigue, a fast-paced plot, and a dashing and worldly hero who knows how to work with his hands.
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