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The King's Courtesan [Mass Market Paperback]

Judith James

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Book Description

Aug. 23 2011 Hqn Historical Romance
Her body is the battleground

Sensuous, beautiful and determined, Hope Matthews is a favored mistress of the king. Her many charms have helped her rise from the gutter to the king's bed. But with the new queen's impending arrival, her nights in the royal chamber—and her hopes for security—will swiftly come to an end.

His honor a distant memory

Haunted by his past, hardened by the recent civil war, Captain Robert Nichols lives only for revenge. When told he must marry the king's courtesan to provide a cover for their affair, he's faced with a new low. Both are pawns of a great man, but married to their dreams of independence, their clash is inevitable. Can these two wounded souls realize the answer to all their dreams might lie in each other's arms?

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; Original edition (Aug. 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373775598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373775590
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 10.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,034,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Fueled by sizzling sensuality and sharp wit James' refreshingly different historical deftly re-creates the glittering, colorful court of Charles II while also delivering an unforgettable love story."

--Booklist starred review on Libertine's Kiss

"Judith James fearlessly bursts through the ceiling of the historical romance genre and soars to astounding heights. Her writing is intriguing, daring, exquisitely dark, and emotionally riveting."

--USA TODAY bestselling author Julianne MacLean

"Sarah and Gabriel's heart-wrenching struggle to keep their love alive...will really keep readers entranced throughout this epic read."

--Publishers Weekly on Broken Wing

"This emotional, well-written novel has characters that are far from conventional; they're complex, heartbreaking and endearing. Readers will be enthralled."

--RT Book Review on Broken Wing

About the Author

Judith James has worked as a legal assistant, trail guide, and for fifteen years as a psychologist. Her personal journey has taken her from the Arctic to the West Coast and she\u2019s finally found her home beside the Atlantic Ocean. An avid reader and history buff, she loves music, adventure, and traveling to new places. Her writing combines a love of history, romance, and adventure, with her keen interest in the complexities of human nature and the heart\u2019s capacity to heal.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judith James is my CALGON! Take me away, Ms. James! Aug. 30 2011
By bookworm2bookworm - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've now come to look forward to Ms. James' books with a sort of nervous anticipation like a child looking forward to digging into its Christmas or Birthday gift. And what a gift it was!

Through her (dare I dub it Restoration Trilogy?!) she has introduced me to a period that before "Libertine's Kiss" I knew very little, and thanks to her wonderful writing, I now am eager to learn more about.

The hero of this tale is none other than Captain Sir Robert Nichols, who we've met in the previous book. In that story, I've thought him cool, subdued, calm and a bit opinionated. Oh, how I loved getting to know him better in this story. The author has allowed our heroine Hope Mathews to slowly peel off our heroes layers and as the last layer fell away, I found myself enchanted with the Captain.

This story opens in 1651 London as young but not so innocent to the world, Hope Mathews is rescued by a young soldier from being trampled by other soldiers who were in a parade. She feels that maybe, just maybe her dreams might come true and her knight in shining armor could rescue her from the life she's known all her life. Alas, it wouldn't be this man and until that day comes, she's destined to go back to the brothel and her mother who owns it. Little does she know of her mother's plan to auction her off.

It is now 1662 and Captain Sir Robert Nichols hasn't had a decent nights sleep in years. The reason behind this man's nightmares goes way back to his childhood and after years of seeking revenge for the wrong done to his family he is on the verge of finally getting the last man responsible for all his heartache.

Charles Stuart is about to marry his Portuguese bride, and our heroine Hope who against all odds has risen to the rank of Mistress to the King, knows that she needs to move on and that the time has come for her to leave the court. She knows the world is ruled by men, so she feels the pressing need to approach the King in regards to her future.

While Robert is baffled by King's decree to give up all of his wealth and properties one day, the summons to appear in court the next stuns him even more.

As she enjoys her May Day celebration, which Charles asked her to host with him, Hope is full of happiness and pride at her accomplishment. In her wildest dreams, or nightmares for that matter, she would have never imagined herself betrayed and married all at the same time.

Robert is given no choice by the King. In order for him to keep his home from his mortal enemy, who requested it from the King, he must marry the King's whore.

The relationship between these two was electrifying from the get-go. Both exuded sexuality and the attraction they felt for each other even when arguing, was palpable.

In Hope, Ms. James has created a character that's a mix of innocence, sexuality and charm. I was touched by this woman-child who managed to keep her identity and use her own perception of the world to her advantage.

Her life was not an easy one, yet she never lost her humanity. She stayed true to herself, and that is what our hero needed. He couldn't help but be drawn to her sweet and idealistic nature. His tormented soul craved her light and not even a King could stand in the way of these two lovers. The road to their happily ever after is paved with lust, arguments, intrigue, some more arguments, danger and then some more arguments...You get the picture!

Judith James can paint with her words the picture of Restoration period and bring to life King Charlie and his court for me any time! Reading her novels is the closest I can come to living them.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Times TOP PICK - 4.5 Stars Aug. 28 2011
By D4E0 - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
by Judith James

Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, England
Sensuality: HOT
Setting: Restoration England

James' fully realized version of naughty, bawdy Restoration England is the ideal setting for her marvelous characters to play out their sensual and romantic love story. Through the pages readers come to believe in hope, true love, trust and the great gift of passion lovers share. The quick pace, strong dialogue and high degree of sensuality added to the lush backdrop will have readers enthralled.

A bawd's daughter, Hope Matthews, has had two protectors before King Charles chooses her as his favorite mistress. With Charles' queen arriving at court, Hope realizes her days are numbered. The recent Civil War and Charles' return to the throne have altered Captain Robert Nichol's fortunes for the worse. He has lost his lands. But a dear friend and fate intervene with the king presenting Robert with a new dilemma; all he need do to reclaim his land is wed the king's mistress; providing a cover for Hope and Charles' affair to continue. Robert has no desire to be the cuckold, but he does want his home. Each agrees to the king's scheme, but neither expects passion to flare between them. Both Hope and Robert desire independence and their clash of wills can be heard from the countryside to London. Eventually they realize only the other can heal their past. But what will happen when Charles calls Hope back to court? (HQN, Sep., 372 pp., $7.99)

Reviewed By: Kathe Robin
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars entertaining Restoration romance Aug. 24 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Her mother always reminded Hope Matthews that she was a whore just like she was. Still Hope has ambition to use her body to socially climb the ladder rather than just allow her clients to climb on her. She has had a pair of protectors, but by 1662 she has become mistress to recently returned to the throne King Charles Stuart as her lover. However with the Queen coming to Whitehall, King Charles must decide what to do with his favorite lover as she understands she is the sacrifice to the monarch's wife.

The Civil War resulting in Charles being back on the throne has left Captain Robert Nichol landless as he fought on the losing side. He is angry at his misfortune. However, his friend recently married Elizabeth de Veres and her husband Will (see Libertine's Kiss) get Charles to agree to give Robert back his land if he marries his mistress as a front to the royal affair. He accepts the term though he loathes the concept of his wife sleeping with anyone; made even more unbearable when he falls in love with his spouse.

This is an entertaining Restoration romance that is loaded with a rich historical background interwoven with an endearing romance. The lead couple is an engaging pairing of independent flawed souls who fall in love while fearing the day the King demands his favorite lover serendipitously rendezvous with him. Historical romance readers will relish this exciting late seventeenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Sept. 14 2014
By Norton - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed reading "Libertine's Kiss" over the past weeks so I couldn't wait to read this new book from Judith James. Marvelous! If you are a social history fan, a Restoration bug, a 17th Century nut, or you just love learning through insightful and witty prose, this is a book you will get lost in. I laughed and cried..and felt everything the characters felt....good job Judith James. I look forward to reading more books from this author.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice and enjoyable read May 9 2012
By Marcela - The Bookaholic Cat - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The King's Courtesan is the second book in a nameless series. I just know that the previous book is Libertine's Kiss.

Hope Mathews hasn't had an easy life. She grew up in her mother's brothel and at the age of fourteen she was sold in an auction by her own mother. Since that day and for couple of years she was the young mistress of an old man. Instead of succumbing to dark thoughts Hope forced herself to study and learn, to be a better courtesan and to find better protectors, until the day she became the King Charles II courtesan.
King Charles II is getting married; because Hope doesn't have any title or lineage he cannot keep her as his mistress in the palace, but Charles is besotted with her and doesn't want to let her go. For that reason he schemes a way for her to become a lady so that she can continue being his mistress.
Captain Robert Nichols lives for revenge against the men who killed his sister but when he receives an ultimatum from the King and is forced to marry Hope his life changes drastically.
Charles deceived Hope in the cruelest way, she just wanted to retire to the country and live a tranquil life and now, without her knowledge, she is married to a man she doesn't know.

Sometimes it's difficult to like or connect with characters when they are prostitutes or courtesans, but that was not the case with Hope. She is a woman with no options that has done the best possible with her life, using the little good things that have come her way. Everybody she has loved or trusted have used her and abused her in one manner or other, but she is smart and strong and has thrived.

Robert is a hard man haunted by demons from his past. He's riddled with revenge and feelings of blame for his sister's death. And now he has sold his soul to the king and has married a woman of ill renown, still he is respectful and gentlemanly, the perfect tortured hero.

The romance though predictable (as with any historical romance) was sweet and sexy. They were just what each other needed in their lives.

My final thought: The King's Courtesan is a book about survival and forgiveness. I found Mrs. James writing fluid and engaging. The historical facts were accurate and realistic. Mrs. James took in consideration the political turmoil of the time. The characters were interesting and well developed. In general The King's Courtesan was a nice and enjoyable read.
The King's Courtesan was my first book by Judith James and I'm sure it won't be my last.

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