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Book Club - August

A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man
Author: Celeste Bradley, Susan Donovan
Published: 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
# Pages: 384

Regency London’s most celebrated courtesan, The Blackbird, was a woman before her time—uninhibited, financially independent, and free to live by her own rules. Schooled in the sensual arts by the one man she loved the most, she recorded every wicked detail in her diaries…

When Boston museum curator Piper Chase-Pierpont unearths The Blackbird’s steamy memoirs, she’s aroused and challenged by what she finds. Could the courtesan’s diaries  be used as a modern girl’s guide to finding love and empowerment?One curious curator—and one very lucky man—are about to find out…

The book was written by two authors and from two points of view and was divided into four volumes. The historical story was about Ophelia Harrington, or as she was known for a time The Blackbird. The contemporary story was about Piper Chase-Pierpont, a curator doing an exhibit on Ophelia Harrington. 

-Volume One-
This volume was a struggle to get through for a few reason:
1. I didn't like Piper. She's that female character who is smart, or we have to at least assumer she is based on her current age and her backstory, but she does some really stupid things.
2. I didn't like the "gap" in her back story. The author doesn't come right out and say it at first, but Piper is 29, ten years ago (age 19) she was in a graduate class and started lusting after the professor, Mick (our hero). This isn't something the author shares, you kind of have to figure it out for yourself that she was 19 and in graduate school and has to be smart if she's already a senior curator at 29.3. We get introduced to the idea that while she's great on the inside she needs to change on the outside.
The only saving grace to this volume was Ophelia's story. While I couldn't fully believe her choice to become a courtesan was her only option, it still was engaging.

-Volume Two-
In this volume both women decided to take that step forward and make a change and it felt like the book took a step forward and got better.  From this point on I was hooked and felt the book improved.

-Volume Three-
In this volume both women are introduced to a big problem.  Each one has to face what could be a life altering experience. Piper is force to realize she can't live this idealize relationship with Mick and Ophelia is brought up on murder charges.

-Volume Four-
While we get our happy endings with both stories I was left with the feeling that there could have been more.  This was how most of the book club women felt too, only 2 of us said we overall liked the book.  Everyone else seemed to be frustrated with at least half of the book. We all agreed that Ophelia's story alone would have made a great stand alone historical romance.


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