A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man

Author: Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: May 24, 2011

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Reserved and self-conscious museum curator Piper Chase-Pierpont has steered clear of relationships with the opposite sex, especially after a humiliating incident in college involving her first crush. Instead she has poured herself into her work. While creating an exhibit for the museum’s fall gala featuring one of Boston’s most beloved ladies from the eighteen hundreds, Ophelia Harrington, she stumbles across a shocking discovery. It is Ophelia’s hidden diary depicting her life well before her activism for freedom and women’s rights … it is of her times as a famous courtesan in England known as Blackbird.  

With budget cuts and lack of funding at the museum, the exhibit is Piper’s last chance to save her job. If that is not enough to stress over, her first crush and the object of her humiliation, Mick Malloy, has just come back into town and is looking as good as she remembered. Now a famous archeologist, he’s on sabbatical for six months and has been brought in as a consultant to the board of trustees at the museum. Though avoiding him is her first instinct, it will be impossible to do since they have to work together. As Piper faces the inevitable catching up with Mick, she is surprised to discover that he remembers things in an entirely different way from all those years ago and is looking forward to getting reacquainted with her.

Piper becomes drawn to the daring Ophelia’s story and decides to give herself a make-over to gain some self confidence. She also decides to utilize the diary’s contents as her own personal guide to seduction, which produces some heated results with Mick. As Ophelia’s story unfolds through her writing, Piper becomes completely swept away into the secret life of Ophelia. She is inspired by the woman in many ways and wants to include part of her life as Blackbird into the museum exhibit. She has to decide if it is a story to be told, even at the price of her position at the museum. As the end of Mick’s six month time off draws near, her job might not be the only thing she is in danger of losing. Piper isn’t the same frumpy shy woman she saw herself as a few short months ago, but she still isn’t so sure she has what it takes to step up at her job or to win at love.

 A COURTESAN’S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR MAN is a spectacularly written novel that cleverly weaves historical and contemporary romance. Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan have brilliantly woven together what could have easily been two outstanding standalone stories and have done so in a way that one only complements the other. The book was scandalous, provocative and emotional. I thought about the storyline and the characters well after I'd finished the last page. Author Susan Donovan begins with her present day heroine and carries the story through on her journey as she learns to take risks, gain confidence in herself and rekindle the romance with the man she has adored since college. Author Celeste Bradley then introduces us to the historical heroine through the pages of her secret diary, which depicts her determination for freedom, her life as a courtesan and her time with her “sir”. It appealed to me on many levels. I liked that the choices made in some areas were not always the “romantic” ones, though a happily-ever-after is indeed enclosed. Ms. Bradley and Ms. Donovan make a powerful duo, and I sincerely hope they team up again.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Pamela Denise

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