Before you decide to go and pursue this novel, I strongly recommend reading the first book of the Cheney Sisters which is The Dark Queen, as The Courtesan follows events right after it. Characters from the previous novel are also mentioned and featured. Also, things in this book also have lots of references to the other one, although some of it is enough for you to understand so you don’t really have to read it..but it’s nice to read things in order isn’t it?
The Courtesan follows Gabrielle, the middle child of the three Cheney sisters who after a traumatic event, has given up being a daughter of the earth and pursues the life of a courtesan. Her ultimate goal; to seduce the King of Navarre so she can be Queen herself. However she doesn’t realize her plans are about to be interrupted by Catherine de Medici (The Dark Queen herself) who wants to keep her position of authority as Queen. Also added into the mix, is Nicolas Remy, who is deeply in love with Gabrielle. Gabrielle also loves and cares for him but she’s still scared of being in love. Everyone else has a hidden agenda and it’s up to Gabrielle to really decide what she really wants out of her life; to be truly happy with someone she loves, or to follow her ambitions?
This book was good! Gabrielle is by far the most exciting sister to read about! I loved the intrigue in the court and how beneath everyone’s plans there’s always a hidden agenda of what they really want. This is a great mix of historical fiction mixed with paranormal and fantasy. The plot was interesting, the romance was there but I was able to tolerate it, and the ending was great and I’m really looking forward to the next book. There is also a helpful author’s note at the end of the novel to explain what’s fact and fiction – very helpful and a nice explanation done by Susan Carroll.
I really liked how each Cheney sister has her own unique personality and characteristics. Ariane the oldest, is very calm, a healer, and strong. Gabrielle is quite the opposite, she’s reckless, ambitious, outspoken, and stubborn. Miri, the youngest, has an affinity with animals, but tries to see the good in everybody. Each of them has a love interest and although I liked Ariane and Renard, Gabrielle and Remy were much more passionate and “heated”. There were more explicit scenes in this one – I suppose it makes sense as Gabrielle is a courtesan but I let that slide, her and Remy had a nice chemistry and they just seemed to be great for each other. (I actually think Martin and Miri are rather cute together, I suppose we’ll see what happens next with her in the following book).
There is a good element of plot twisting and surprises, which keeps the plot interesting and keeps you turning the pages. I have to admit, some parts were a little eye rolling; especially when one is in danger and suddenly the rescue team arrives just on time. However I enjoyed this book too much to let that bother me. I did however, manage to shed a tear or two at the last chapter. It got me feeling all warm and fuzzy.
My favorite part, would be when Remy surprises Gabrielle at the masquerade party. It had great descriptions and you can vividly picture Gabrielle’s gown, and the party sounded like something I just wanted to jump into. It was a perfect scene to develop a lot of intrigue and mystery into the plot!
Overall I recommend this book to those that love a good historical fiction, mixed with magic and passionate romance, with a very passionate couple.
I give it an 8 out of 10.