Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: The Courtesan Duchess

The Courtesan Duchess (Wicked Deceptions - Book 1) by Joanna Shupe

Publication Date: 03/31/2015
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Imprint: Zebra
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 352

(Received for an honest review from Kensington Zebra)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Joanna Shupe on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from The Courtesan Duchess, courtesy of the author's website.


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?


Joanna Shupe brings readers the first book in her Wicked Deceptions series, The Courtesan Duchess. Readers who love historical romance will find this one enchanting. What do you do when you husband runs away after he says "I do"? That is the question this book answers in a fun and sensual way. Shupe's attention to detail is meticulous and she brings the period into vivid focus. The characters are multi-faceted and full of surprises. This is one of the best I've read this year and the genre. Reader's won't want to miss it.

There was just something about this book. This was first experience with Joanna Shupe's writing and I was captivated. Shupe gives readers a rather interesting premise for this book. The groom runs away from the bride and the bride hatches a plan to seduce him. Add in some advice from a lady of the night, a title in peril and danger around every corner and you've a formula for success. This was a really amazing book. Shupe drew me in and didn't let me go. 

Historical romance is one of those genres that has to get under your skin. A lot of the titles are set in England, as is this one, and the general storylines are very similar. It takes a creative and talented author to put a new spin on it and Shupe certainly does that with this book. It was refreshing and very original. I liked very thing about it. The characters were so life like and entertaining. I just wanted to know more an more about them and Shupe didn't disappoint.

Julia is tired of being left alone. She has a husband, but he doesn't really know anything about her or want to be with her. What would you do? I'm not sure I would impersonate a women of ill repute, but that could possibly work... LOL! I does in this story in a magical way. When Julia goes undercover as a courtesan, she takes all the pressure off Nick. He doesn't have think about what it will mean to his title or anything else. He just has to sit back and enjoy the ride. The problem comes in when Julia realizes that she really does like him. I thought she was just a joy to read about. Strong, independent and definitely resourceful. But most of all she was sultry and sensual and very passionate. There are some very hot moments in this one... bring a fan and a cold drink!

Nick was an interesting hero. He wants nothing to do with his estate and title. He wanders the country gambling and womanizing. I had a little bit of a hard time understanding why he was so disillusioned at first, but he is totally captivated by Julia and that was endearing. I understood his feelings of betrayal when he found out that he had been played, but he hurt her too, when he left. I didn't think he had the right to blame her completely and I was glad when things turned out all right for them. I liked Nick, but I loved Julia.

Bottom Line:

This is a really good book. Once you start it, you won't want to put it down. It's unique and different in a genre that is saturated with the same kinds of stories. Shupe makes her characters simply jump off the page. I liked the lead couple and found a lot of comical moments in the secondary cast. I thought the setting was drawn perfectly and really can't find anything that I didn't like. Nick turned out to be a sweetheart, even though I didn't want to like him in the beginning and Julia was a blast through and through... Read this one, I know you'll like it.

The Courtesan Duchess is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Joanna Shupe has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. In 2013 she won Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband. Visit


Brooke Bumgardner said...

This sounds like a fabulous new series!