Warning: Suspend your disbelief! And this review contains a history lesson.
A Courtesan's Scandal by Julia London is a book about courtesan that is really a courtesan and not a fake virgin courtesan. The heroine, Kate, is a working girl, she's been a working girl since she was 13. And, I must say that I loved Kate. She was a sweet, optimistic, refreshing heroine. Grayson, the hero, is a snob. He is a hypocrite and a panderer, but I still liked him. The plot of this book is similar to the one written not too long ago by Bettina Krahn, in which the Prince Regent wants Grayson to pretend to be Kates lover, just a different time period, different Prince Regent.
Now, I did really like this couple, but there were two things that bothered me. One, was Kate says all the way through the book that she knows who she is and knows that she will always be a courtesan, but then she expects marriage from Grayson. This storyline was perfect for the irritating "I'm not good enough for you" romanceland routine and in this case I would have understood it, but it didn't happen. However, that was just a minor quibble. My main problem was the portrayal of the Prince of Wales, George. And this is where my suspension of disbelief comes in. I did not suspend by disbelief with the thought of a courtesan marrying a Duke, because it's happened, Lord and Lady Lade come to mind. Laetitia Lade was the mistress of a highwayman before she married her lover Sir John Lade, of course he was only a Baronet. But still, they were in the Prince Regents set of friends and only the female half of society shunned them.
I digress, let's talk about George the Prince of Wales. Now, as a student of the English royal family, I can tell you that throughout the entire history of England there wasn't any English royal that didn't come from a pretty dysfunctional family. And, more than likely George was a very class conscious snob, without any morals whatsoever. However, in this book he is a downright villain, really nasty and I think that Ms. London's depiction of George is very extreme (I had vision of Snidely Whiplash). The part that really made me roll my eyes was when Grayson publicly tells off Prince George using a 21st century voice. Of course, there is that famous time when Beau Brummell asked Lord Alvanley "An' Alvanley who is your fat friend" and received the cut direct from the prince for doing so. Prince George never talked to Brummell again and Brummell died in a madhouse suffering from syphilis. And that is your history lesson for today. To return to my previous statement, it was hard for me to imagine a duke publicly yelling at a prince. Maybe it was just the words he used, I don't know, they were just too preachy.
So here we go again, if you are reading Julia London's Scandal series, go ahead and read this one. It is the third in the series and it is an ok read. But be prepared to suspend your disbelief.
Place/Time: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot