Book Review: Unclaimed, by Courtney Milan

I read my first Courtney Milan novel after I had followed her on Twitter, winning a copy of Trial By Desire. That was probably one of the best investments ever made, as I’ve since purchased her other historical romances (Proof By Seduction, Unveiled, and her novella Unlocked, which was self-published recently).

Unclaimed is the latest book, and I enjoyed it very much. I was delighted to finally read about Mark Turner, the chaste brother of Ash Turner (whom we met in Unveiled). Here’s the blurb:

Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London—and he’s known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check…until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he’s waited for all his life.

But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark’s enemies make her an offer she can’t refuse: seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she’s sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs…and the love she knows is impossible.

I originally wasn’t sure how interesting a character could be if they were the sort to have held to a vow of chastity – after all, romances tend to be about sex, and what would happen if one of the main characters was chaste? … Sir Mark Turner is chaste, and the book he’s written has turned him into the literary equivalent of Mick Jagger. (It’s hard to make a rock star comparison here, since the biggest ones are often known for their sexual adventures, but I had to try. I was going to say Byron, but that wouldn’t have worked either.)

Courtney Milan turns the traditional seduction on its head in this book – the virgin being seduced is most definitely not a nubile young woman, and the seducer is not a blackguard with a hidden heart of gold. Jessica’s character was well-written and I found myself quite fond of her early on, and rooting for her despite the situation.

This book is one of those I can’t put down, resulting in my being over-tired and sleepy at work. However, it was worth it. I highly recommend picking up Unclaimed when it hits the real and virtual shelves.

Check out Courtney Milan’s website too (and her alternate book covers). Her blog is a great read, and she’s active on Twitter.

Unclaimed will be released on September 27th.