Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: The Courtesan's Lover

The Courtesan's Lover by Gabrielle Kimm

Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 528pp.
ISBN-13: 978-1402265884
ISBN: 1402265883

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Landmark)

Gabrielle Kimm on the WEB: Webpage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook

Excerpt from The Courtesan's Lover courtesy of Amazon's Inside Look Feature


Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, revels in the art of entertaining wealthy men. Astonishingly beautiful, lasciviously talented, and stunningly tempting, she adores the power she wields over her patrons. 

Francesca knows she must succeed as a courtesan - she has two young daughters to support. But an unexpectedly encounter threatens to change everything, making it clear that her sumptuous life is a gaudy facade. Francesca suddenly finds herself and her daughters abruptly plunged into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began taking lovers, all those years ago.


Gabrielle Kimm's second novel, The Courtesan's Lover is a story of a woman who reinvents herself and changes her life, but is unable to escape the trappings of her past. Kimm chooses a controversial lead character and brings the life of a courtesan into stark focus. Readers will enjoy the decadent descriptions of Francesca's world and find themselves enchanted by Kimm's multi-faceted characters. This is a novel that will appeal to both Historical romance and Historical fiction fans.

Readers were first introduced to Francesca Felizzi as a secondary character in Kimm's debut novel, The Last Duchess. Francesca is the mistress of the Duke of Ferrara in that novel. Two years later she and her two twin daughters have extricated themselves from that situation and find themselves in Naples. Francesca is the epitome of courtesan's. She has an opulent life that is full of power and excess, but lacks true love and feeling. I thought Kimm did a fantastic job with this character. Even though Francesca is obviously not a character that reader will expect to identify with, as they read, they will see that they may have more in common with her than they thought. She is determined to provide for her children. She is a woman alone in a man's world. She is strong and independent, yet she's lonely despite having many men. A great character!

The plot of the book was easy to follow and pretty much followed the path the reader expects. A beautiful woman, uses her body to provide for herself and her children, but she's unhappy and lonely. She meets a man that could change her life, but not everyone wants her to have her dream. Her past comes back to haunt her and she must overcome it to have her own happy ever after. The plot itself may not sound fresh or original but with this book it's all about the journey. The journey that Francesca takes from being courtesan to being a respectable widows new wife is both compelling and entertaining. The people behind her problems are unexpected and hard to defeat. In the end the reader may know what's going to happen, but it's how the reader gets there that makes all the difference.

The secondary characters in this book really intensify the story and Francesca's manservant had a very interesting backstory that readers will be touched by. I thought Kimm really excelled at character development and pacing. There are parts of this book that have such beautiful prose readers will find themselves lost in the turn of the phrase that Kimm uses. It's a beautifully written book, lyrical and full of descriptive passages that provide such vivid imagery that readers almost feel a part of the book. I loved it.. and I think you will too!

The Courtesan's Lover  is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

Gabrielle Kimm is a graduate of the creative writing master's program at the University of Chichester. She is writing her second novel, The Courtesan's Lover, which features one of the characters of His Last Duchess as the heroine.


Angela - Bookaunt said...

This looks like a good book to me. Good review

Carol said...

I am reading this one at the moment and really enjoying it, too.


Wendy Newcomb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

This definitely sounds like a book I want to read. Are other books coming out of the minor characters?

Lexi said...

5 apples, you make this sound like a great historical. And I am a sucker for this time period, I will have to add it to my TBR list.

Carol M said...

This is a book I'm looking forward to reading! It sounds really good!