Review: Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

Format: mass market, ebook
Pub Date: October 2011
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
Length:432 pages
FTC: Digital review copy courtesy of the publisher


I love Courtney Milan's writing. It's very smart, with smart characters, smart dialogue and smart premises. Sometimes, though, it's a little too smart. And that was the case with Unclaimed.

The concept of this book was definitely unique: a virgin hero and a courtesan heroine. Everyone struggles with the concept of chastity in this book. Especially the heroine:

"But you're–you're—A virgin?"
There was a note of amusement in his voice. "True. But just because I don't believe in poaching out of season doesn't mean I can't hunt."

I loved Mark Turner. I loved his honesty, his self awareness, his compassion. I did not love the heroine. It wasn't her profession. It was her choices. It was her mercenary nature. It was her lack of honesty throughout the first 2/3 of the book.

If you can remember back to my honesty in romances rant a few months ago, THIS is the book that set me off. I can understand the use of dishonesty as a plot device. I get the concept of needing a conflict to keep the story moving forward. But you lose me when one of the characters is still keeping secrets or actively plotting against the other more than halfway through the book.

I ended up not hating the book as much as I'd assumed I would. Ms. Milan tied everything up for me in a way I found acceptable (if not totally believable considering the massive LIES throughout the book). If dishonesty doesn't set your teeth on edge, you'll likely enjoy this book more than I did.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:

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.


  1. This was the first book from Milan that I didn't love, and I had some of the same problems you did. Mark was a fantastic hero - I love the scene where he introduces himself to her - but I just wasn't invested in their relationship. I like that Milan was trying to do something different with this book, but I don't see myself rereading this one - and I've reread all CM's other stuff multiple times. PS - Love your rant. :) It's one of my least favorite romantic tropes.

  2. @Sarah,

    I swear, I thought I was the only one who didn't love this one :) I really wanted to like it, too, because Mark was just awesome. I just don't believe that trust can develop when one of the pair is truth-impaired.