Pub. date: Sept. 20th 2011 by Harlequin
Review copy from NetGalley (from Publisher)
Her only hope for survival…
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.
Is to ruin the man she loves…
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. (from goodreads.com)
Unclaimed is book two in Courtney Milan's Turner Series, following Unveiled. I liked Unclaimed. It wasn't a "couldn't put it down" book for me, but I really enjoyed reading it. I have to put Unclaimed into the category of romance where the plot kept me interested far more than the romance itself.
This is the third romance by Courtney Milan I've read and she's shown her strength throughout all of her books to be the creation of heroines who are fighting to live life on their own terms. Regardless of class, personality or situation, her heroines want to have a sense of control over the outcome of their lives.
My favourite element of Unclaimed was the interplay between Mark and Jessica and their differences. Jessica tells Mark not "to make a romance of her" and this is the strength of the story. Jessica accepts her role in what has happened to her and wants to be held accountable (or at least to own her part in it).
I haven't enjoyed romances with fallen women in the past, since it's hard to make a believable story where a Duke marries a Whore and nobody minds, but Milan pulls it off because the Turner family has such a sordid back story that it's easier to believe this could happen.
I like that Milan isn't afraid to give her characters weaknesses, especially small ones, that add dimensions to them. She does this with both Mark and Jessica with success. That said, Mark is my favourite of Milan's heroes and definitely the nicest. I'm curious to see how Smite will come across in his book.
Overall, fans of Courtney Milan will love this book and romance fans in general will enjoy Unclaimed as a high quality story with a sweet and well told romance.
3.5-4 (I couldn't decide!)
A solid story with a sweet romance