Lady Sophia Dalby is accustomed to having what she wants when she wants it - not many women possess the brains, beauty and good fortune to go from being a well-known courtesan to marrying a British lord. Now that her seventeen year old daughter, Caroline, is of age, Sophia knows it will take more than a little planning and good luck to find a suitable match for her daughter.
Caroline knows of her mother's past, and also recognizes that her mother is keenly intelligent, world-wise, and still a powerful force with men, all of which Caro wishes to emulate. When Sophia announces that she has arranged a husband for Caro, by purchasing the debts of a young man and insisting on his marrying Caro to pay them off, Caro rebels, refusing to marry someone who had essentially been bought. Instead, in a rash decision, she decides that she would like to be a courtesan like her mother was.
Needless to say, Lord Ashdon, Caro's intended, is quite insulted that Caro would choose becoming a courtesan rather than his wife, and he is quite determined to have her, one way or the other. Naturally, they are both immediately physically drawn to the other, and both fall into their roles just the way Sophia planned. Eventually Caro abandons her plan to become a courtesan, recognizing that Ashdon is the only man for her. Ashdon, for his part, cannot resist Caro's charms, ultimately resulting in their marriage. But is all happily ever after?
With all of its twists and turns, this book reminded me of the movie "Dangerous Liaisons," but without all of the evil undertones. Sophia is a strong woman character, definitely a force to be reckoned with, and Caro and Ash's passion for one another will make romance fans happy! There are numerous sub-plots going on that add to the overall story and cast of characters, and the witty dialogue keeps the story line moving. Fans of this book will want to read more of Lady Sophia in the remainder of the "Courtesan" series; or check out Claudia Dain's webpage at: http://www.claudiadain.com/