Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog Tour Review: The Illicit Love of a Courtesan by Jane Lark

Publisher Harper Impulse

In the eyes of the ton, Ellen Harding lives a charmed life – she is the beautiful, exquisitely adorned mistress of Lord Gainsborough. But on the inside, behind her glamorous fa├žade, she is empty – a vessel – deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame. Unable to escape the gilded cage she has been trapped within. Kind, gentle Edward Marlow could prove to be her salvation… With one look he gives her hope. With one touch he sets her senses alight. Lose yourself in the passionate intensity of this stunning debut from exciting new talent Jane Lark.


He’d been waiting ten minutes when he saw her. She was simply and elegantly dressed, her appearance nothing like that of a courtesan. The long dark navy pelisse she wore was to keep her warm in the chill, early March winds. Spring was still as yet unbroken.
The demure garment hung to her ankles, with double breasted buttons across her chest, and an upturned fox fur collar framed her beautiful neck and face. Her hands were within a matching fox fur muff at her waist. The dark navy hat, sitting high on her ebony hair,was decorated with jay’s feathers that swept up from the brim above her left ear. And a narrow, navy veil, woven in a fine net, was drawn down over her eyes and nose.
His hands curled into fists inside the pockets of his thick, many-caped greatcoat as he watched her, waiting for her to notice him.
She had thought to hide herself, he guessed, but he would know the curve of her jaw, that mouth, the column of her neck, anywhere, even within a crowd. He had committed it to memory half a dozen times in recent weeks and lain awake night after night recalling every detail.
She looked over her shoulder, glancing back up the street, as if she half expected to be followed. Then she looked to the traffic in the road, waiting until it was clear before she crossed to the park gates. She’d still not seen him.
Within her muff he imagined her hands clasped together, her thumbs circling one another. He’d seen her tendency to fiddle when she stood at Gainsborough’s back. She was forever twisting and turning her fan; never comfortable, nor secure. The other courtesans he’d seen in London were women of excessive confidence, bold, never meek and maidenly in their manner as Ellen always seemed. With Ellen he could not even lay her lack of confidence at the door of her age. She was older than him, and yet her nervous behaviour made her seem half a dozen years younger.
She was on the path some distance before him now, her short, quick strides slicing at the skirt of her pelisse. Her gaze was on the pavement ahead of her, oblivious to the men who passed her and looked back, as nearly every man did, even with her beauty covered by a veil.
She looked up.
The moment she saw him, he could tell she’d not thought he would come. It was in the sudden drop of tenseness in her shoulders and the smile opening her mouth as if she would speak and acknowledge him from afar. But such an outburst would be folly, even though he had come as asked without acquaintance or equipage, someone may know him. Her mouth closed on the exclamation as she increased her pace, weaving through people walking the other way.

About the Author

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romances.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write one.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series she’s thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development, and uses her 

knowledge of psychology to bring her characters to life.

‘Basically I love history and I’m a sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction, and my understanding of people helps me write the really intense relationships I enjoy creating.’

The only woman who had power over notorious rake Robert Marlow was now walking away from him, again. He'd heard Sutton had died, and known Jane was free, but he'd always thought his desire would only be for revenge, not her. Yet here he was, unable to deny what he felt for her… what he’d never felt for any other woman…

The International giveaway on this tour is overall a first edition signed copy of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan plus abag.
Rafflecopter code:
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The Illicit Love of a Courtesan (Marlow Intrigues, #1)The Illicit Love of a Courtesan by Jane Lark

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher and Fiction Addiction book tours in exchange for an honest review.
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

Once in awhile I really enjoy a good Regency historical romance. I didn’t know much about what this story was about before reading; but I’m glad at least it fulfilled my expectations in the sense it was a good romance, albeit a predictable one.

We meet Eleanor, who is a courtesan. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a whore. We don’t know how she got “the job” of being a whore, but we quickly find out she hates it and is frightened. The man she is attached to is a mean fellow, Lord Gainsborough. I don’t think I’ve quite detested a character like him before. He’s truly a horrible man, he’s an abusive, manipulative, and deceitful piece of scum. Fortunately, Eleanor meets the dashing Edward quickly and soon he wins two hours with her from Gainsborough in a game of cards.

I really enjoyed Edwards character. He was a bit flawed, but a good man. In fact, I really loved all the characters. At times it did feel a bit too modern. Even though it was difficult for Ellen to get readmitted to people—the fact that it was at all possible was a bit too far-fetched. I did like the mystery, but on the opposite side, Ellen hiding key facts of information from her husband after he continued to help and save her was simple-minded and just plain dumb. I think it was done perhaps to make the plot twists keep twisting, and that bothered me. As far as historical expectations-- I did not find any inaccuracies, just more of an overall more modern feeling in the outlook of people and willingness to accept. I disagree that there were that many open –minded people back then. I guess that’s more a matter of opinion though, and gosh knows I’m not a historian.

In the beginning, I was also disturbed by how many times she thought “oh my! Will Edward save me?” and then specifically forces herself not to think it because no man can save her in her dire situation. I mean, really?!?!??! *facepalm* Seriously, Ellen? (view spoiler)

I also loved how much the boy, John, was included in the plot and story. I was sad when he kinda stopped being part of the plot again though. His presence was missed at that point. I don’t think a character should become that integral and then just drop off. Even a reintegration at the end would’ve been nice. I can tell there’s going to be a spin-off story about Edward’s dashing and rogue-ish brother, Robert. I think I’m open to reading it, as I found Robert one of the most interesting characters in this story. I know there is a story there.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I think you could enjoy it if you don’t expect an unique or feminist take on a historical romance with a mind-blowing plot. Expect a light regency romance with some interesting characters, and you’ll be quite satisfied.

View all my reviews


  1. Thank you for hosting on tour today.

  2. That is a most intriguing excerpt! I had not heard of this book before, so thanks so much for featuring it today. I may have to add this to my TBR list.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. If you read The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, let me know what you think, Wendy, :-)

  3. Hi

    Thanks for taking part in blog tour and sharing!
    Best wishes



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