The Harlot's Daughter

Author: Blythe Gifford

Publisher: Harlequin

Release Date: October 2007

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Lady Joan of Weston is the illegitimate daughter of King Edward III; however, despite Joan’s royal lineage, her mother’s ill-reputed affair forced them to flee London the night of his death. Now, ten years after their scandalous retreat with a precarious future at best, their only hope is Joan presenting herself to young King Richard II, and praying he looks kindly upon her.   

Lord Justin Lamont is a lawyer and Council member. Although Justin boasts he represents a noble profession, it’s common knowledge the Council’s priority is propagating the war with France. The king, however, finds bestowing extravagant gifts upon his most favored subjects, at the country’s expense, his first priority. With the monarchy and council in discord, Justin takes it upon himself to protect the country, vowing to prevent Joan from receiving the monetary favors she so earnestly seeks.

With the court passing judgment on Joan’s “harlot” mother, pigeonholing Joan into that decadent label, it’s painfully obvious there’s no sympathy for her cause. Still, Justin can plainly see the embarrassing discomfort behind Joan’s desperately ingratiating plays, and finds he’s inexplicably drawn to the inner strength behind her violet eyes. Before either can acknowledge the lustful response of their bodies, Justin and Joan are caught in a dangerous game of passion and politics. With the monarchy and council pulling all the strings, and treason or heartbreak the only consequence, can Joan and Justin learn to trust one another in order to survive? Can England afford for them not to?

THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER is a refreshing return to the true essence of historical romance. A turbulent period setting, political conspiracies manipulating the innocent, thought-provoking dialogue effused with subtle longing, and an unexpected ending that sweeps the reader off their feet – where can you go wrong?

Joan’s character, nicknamed Solay, emits such plausible emotion that despite the story taking place in an age long since past, it’s difficult to not identify with her. Forced into a situation where her family’s future depends on her, the majority of her life spent pleasing others, the reprehensibility of her trying to find happiness for herself, giving of herself without knowing who she really is – it’s hard to imagine any person not having been in any of these situations. Justin’s character is enviably enlightening when it comes to the law and inherently decisive when discussing his expectations of the judicial system, but amazingly ignorant when it comes to dealing with Solay. Although the sexual magnetism between Justin and Solay is palpable, it’s when they drill down to the foundation of their attraction that their allure surpasses the flesh and approaches the profound, becoming a relationship of the body, mind, heart, and soul. Fraught with all of the stumbling moments and plain old bad timing of a “real” relationship, Justin and Solay’s realization of what love truly means is a bittersweet, hopeful moment.

A love story set in turbulent 14th century England , Blythe Gifford’s THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER is in truth, a love story for all time.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chris

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