Review: The Courtesan Duchess

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The Courtesan Duchess (Wicked Deceptions #1) by Joanna Shupe

Published March 31, 2015 by Zebra
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed on February 18, 2015

Book Blurb

Can a bold-faced lie lead to everlasting love? One by one, the impetuous heroines in the Wicked Deceptions series intend to find out, each in her unique way. . .

How to seduce an estranged husband--and banish debt!--in four wickedly improper, shockingly pleasurable steps...

1. Learn the most intimate secrets of London's leading courtesan.

2. Pretend to be a courtesan yourself, using the name Juliet Leighton.

3. Travel to Venice and locate said husband.

4. Seduce husband, conceive an heir, and voila, your future is secure!

For Julia, the Duchess of Colton, such a ruse promises to be foolproof. After all, her husband has not bothered to lay eyes on her in eight years, since their hasty wedding day when she was only sixteen. But what begins as a tempestuous flirtation escalates into full-blown passion--and the feeling is mutual! Could the man the Courtesan Duchess married actually turn out to be the love of her life?


A memorable and stunning debut by Joanna Shupe!

Cue standing ovation for The Courtesan Duchess for bringing on the heat.

It’s crucial to have a sympathetic protagonist. Not a pitiful one. Sympathetic. There’s a huge difference. Which is why it was effortless to support Julia’s cause. Can you imagine? Pretending to be a courtesan and having your husband desire you as a woman, not as a wife? A husband who hardly cares about what’s happening to you in England while he’s abroad having endless dalliances with loose women? It’s the equivalence of a bitch slap from life. This is the case for the Duchess of Colton, whose husband left her eight years ago shortly after they had married. Julia must produce an heir to secure her future— or end up in debtor’s prison. Either that or propositioned herself. It’s not as bad as it sounds. The child part, that is. Even with the duke out of the picture, even if she doesn’t conceive a son, she will love her baby wholeheartedly and give love enough for two parents. For the time being, all she is require to worry about is putting her seduction to the test while guarding her anger and keeping her heart far from the clutches of her own husband. Sounds complicated?

The Depraving Duke is the bodily form of the Seven Sins— Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, you name it all. He’s also the synonym of stupidity. Eight years ago, Nick, or Nicholas, shed his responsibilities to the dukedom and to his wife without a backward glance. He has no wishes of returning to England. Despite his jackassery his excuses for his actions, there’s no denying Nick is absolutely delicious. That’s right. Delicious. The absolutely lick-me-and-don’t-stop-delicious kind. It’s no wonder Julia lusts after him and starts to care for him.

As much as the sensual scenes made me squirmed in delight, they also managed to make me wince . . . in a good way . . . Why? I can’t look passed the plain facts: She’s inexperienced. She altered her appearance (dying her hair to red is among those altercations). She goes by her courtesan persona, Mrs. Juliet Leighton.

Knowing all of this, it’s transparent her husband isn’t making love to Julia; he’s making love to Juliet.

And that’s truly heartbreaking.

At least Nick learns what he’s been missing.

During the first time they made love, obviously Julia must deceive him into thinking she isn’t a virgin and so it’s difficult not to grimace when she acts like she’s enjoying some parts of their lovemaking. Not that she isn’t enjoying it. Her passion boldly levels with Nick. Mercifully to my relief, she puts on quite a performance and succeeds.

The vital question: Did she succeed in carrying the duke’s baby? You’ll just have to read and find out (;

This book captivated me from beginning to end. Yes, Nick is probably the worst hero in the world and a major arse. Yes, Julia is outrageously cunning (and for good reasons). They’re both stubborn and prideful human beings. But above all the flaws and shallow behavior, they are meant for each other. They belong together and had me rooting for them to the very end. Meanwhile, I wanted to strangle Nick throughout the entire book. Seriously, the entire book. He’s a coward, a moron, and every other vile insult I can think of. I like Julia. After all the years of being mistreated by Nick’s family and mocked by society, astoundingly, she still has a big heart and a soft side. Although desperate, she doesn’t succumb to pressure and harden into a self-centered, bitter imbecile.

The only issue I have with this book is I’m still not sure how old most of the characters are. Nick, Theo, and Fitz, for example. Other than that, I enjoyed Pearl’s lessons and tips at the beginning of every chapter. They’re riveting secrets, hushed warnings, wise words, funny jabs at men. Why wouldn’t it be entertaining? Oh, did I mention the story takes place in Venice? Venice as in Italy? It’s merely a bonus to the romantic and sexy excitement.

I’m certainly buying The Courtesan Duchess when it is released :D It’s the type of book that makes reading and reviewing fun. Without a doubt, The Courtesan Duchess is one of my favorite historical romance books of 2015! Most original too.

Now I can't wait to get my hands on the second book The Harlot Countess. I need me some Simon :3

Five Exploding Stars!

**ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**



Nancy Her


Cee named The Mistress Case after Sherlock (BBC with Benedict) and Supernatural (Dean, baby). She writes mainly book reviews. On occasions, movies and TV shows. She reads and reviews in many genres, including fantasy, historical, contemporary, romance, erotica, mystery, etc. She personally rains more love on fantasy and historical romance and hopes you won't hold it against her. Caoi.


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