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The Courtesan Duchess

(Wicked Deceptions #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  3,066 ratings  ·  464 reviews
How to seduce an estranged husband—and banish debt!—in four wickedly improper, shockingly pleasurable steps...

1. Learn the most intimate secrets of London’s leading courtesan.
2. Pretend to be a courtesan yourself, using the name Juliet Leighton.
3. Travel to Venice and locate said husband.
4. Seduce husband, conceive an heir, and voilà, your future is secure!

For Julia, the
Mass Market Paperback, 1st edition, 340 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Zebra
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  3,066 ratings  ·  464 reviews

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Oct 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
What a disgusting plot.

This is definitely one of the worst books I have ever read.

The hero marries the heroine and then leaves her and sleeps with countless other women. The heroine being a good girl, remains faithful and a virgin and decides to beget an heir from her husband because while her husband is around gallivanting, she will do the right thing and not sleep with another man.

Then the hero finds out that the courtesan he sleeps with is really his wife. He gets angry because he thinks tha
Jul 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Reading is a risky game. There is always that chance of you investing too much in a story, only to get yourself burned in the end.

I took a risk with The Courtesan Duchess.

And I got burned. So badly in fact that I had to watch cat videos to calm myself down.

Before I rant, I'd have to applaud Ms. Joanna Shupe for her writing prowess. It's not everyday that I'm this impressed by new writers, since normally, their inexperience shows in their inept grasp of the technicalities. There is usually that
May 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
The blurb says it all.
The H is one cheating bastard that leaves his young wife behind for eight years.
The h is left with no choice but to pretend to be a courtesan to get herself pregnant by the H so she can have use the baby as leverage to get some money,
The funny thing is once the H knew the truth, he was mad she'd tricked him. Give me a break. The girl was 16 when he left her with no money, no word if she was alright.
It was just wasn't my kind of book...
Stacey is Sassy
DNF at 35% no rating as I did not finish.

Well, my first attempt using my new Romance Package from Audible was unfortunately not to my liking. I checked out a few reviews and saw that I wasn't alone. Now, unlike others, I kind of knew that I'd be meeting a douchewaffle hero who has no respect for his wedding vows. Where I differ, is that it wasn't my biggest problem (it was a problem, just not my biggest problem). Unfortunately, the narration, mixed with the storyline didn't work. Now, I actually
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've given this a B at AAR, so 4 stars.

I have to confess that when I read the opening scene of this, Joanna Shupe’s début novel, I almost closed the book and picked up something else. In it, the heroine watches her long-estranged husband pleasuring (though not shagging!) another woman in the middle of a game of cards at a very debauched party – which isn’t really the sort of thing I expect to read right at the beginning of a romantic novel! But I reasoned that I was probably supposed to think “e
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars

For more quotes and comments - Buddy Read Courtesan Duchess

Hero marries young heroine, leaves before they even consummate wedding night and stays away for YEARS. Why? His father made him get married because he wants to make sure hero continues the family line. Hero does not want to continue line because he hates his father. Why hero didn't just leave before getting married? I don't know.

Heroine is left to the horrible mother-in-law who doesn't live in their home and gets a stipend cont
Joanna Loves Reading
1. The writing
2. Spicy sex scenes (calling them love scenes would be inaccurate) (also a con because I listened to some of these at work, my bad)
Bonus: good narration effort by Carmen Rose, whom I was leery to try again after the last experience.

1. The Hero a.k.a jerk ass wanker shithead
2. Not feeling the love (NOT AT ALL)
3. Stupid Villain (utterly, ridiculously stupid and also nonsensical)
4. Plot
5. The only time the h&h’s spend together in any sort of agreeable way is in sack. THAT I
Valerie Bowman
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best debuts I've read in years. Joanna Shupe's The Courtesan Duchess is fast-paced, compelling, and super sexy. You won't be able to put it down. ...more
Well, this one just didn't hit home for me with the plot, the H nor the h. This was an audiobook listen of this story and although I enjoyed the narrator, I did not care for the story plot and especially the H in the book. Thought he was a total jerk, especially if he couldn't remember a woman he married. I also did think the heroine had to much sense either to sit and watch her husband get his kicks off with a barmaid right in front of her face without confronting him.

Not sure if I've read anyt
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love it I LOVE IT SOOO MUCH .. you may predict some of the events still the Author will blow your mind by other super unexpected things .
Nick & Julia were adorable .. more so were her funny aunt Theo & the incredible Hulk : fitz
Julia's and Nick's best friend Simon was something else i must know his secret so see you in next book Si ;)

Check out my other reviews at Little Miss Bookmark!

OOH!! This is a good one! Okay ... The Courtesan Duchess. So very good! First, for those of you that don't know what a courtesan is ... it's basically a prostitute for rich fellas back in the day. It was no secret that dudes went outside of the marriage for ... things that they didn't want the mother of their children to do and/or basically to just be a dog. And it was okay back then, women didn't talk about it, courtesans were just a part of th
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
First time reading this Author and she just gained a new reader.

This book starts in "steam" mode and doesn't let up for about 1/2 of the book. Hot!!

Not going to really go into details about the synopsis of the book. The summary pretty much covers it. Nick (the Hero) was forced to marry Julia by his Father, who he hated (I hated him too). He's bitter and leaves for EIGHT YEARS, right after the "I do's". Julia is treated horribly by his family during the time he's away by his family. Thank goodnes
Whoa. Don't know what possessed me to buy this one! I like a good 'forgotten bride' story, but the hero has to have at least 2 brain cells to rub together. Really he was a balless wonder...

This is to remind me why I don't read this author;
(view spoiler)
Aly is so frigging bored
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
It was an enjoyable read, I can't say that I was blown away though. I liked both characters, they had flaws and made mistakes and they felt human. That being said, the hero was a complete asshole for at least 50% of the book. Many people know that I liked assholes, but this guy... he couldn't even admit he was mistaken and apologies, that made me rate the book less.

All in all, I enjoyed myself and I'm definitely reading the next one. I'm hoping the author will write the story of the courtes
Sammy Loves Books
Julia, the Duchess of Colton


I love it when a couple falls in love after they say "I do"!!
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
While I dislike the hero's attitude for most of the book I couldn't help but like him. It was the oddest feeling. He was horrible to his wife due to having had a horrible life and everything was so unfair. That being said, I was surprised by how entertaining this read was. He had to work a loooot for her forgiveness, and although I don't like when things drag for too long, I enjoyed this book. It was a super steamy romance, a lot of angst, mistrust, lies, danger, travel. I will be reading more o ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Well that's two romance buddy reads that did not end well, LOL. I love reading these books with WhiskeyintheJar Romance but wow. This one actually somehow maybe beat out the last book where we had the virgin kidnapped by the escaped convict who threatened her all the time, but somehow love happened.

"The Courtesan Duchess" had two leads who should have dusted their hands off after meeting and agreeing to go live separate lives. The first few sex scenes I had a hard time with (believable scal
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is so steamy! The premise is that Julia will impersonate a famous courtesan, travel to Italy, seduce her wayward husband and return to England carrying his heir. It’s the seduction part that is really well developed. The chase and dance that Nick and Julia (or Juliet as she introduces herself) was just SO MUCH FUN! Julia was a revelation! She taunted and teased Nick and played the seductress to perfection.
If you love a book where there is INSANE foreplay followed by some of the best lo
Kimberly Rocha~ Book Obsessed Chicks

"I wonder if you truly possess the skill to back up your arrogance."
His eyes heated to liquid silver. "If you find a private alcove, I'll happily demonstrate my abilities before the end of the performance. After all, it's only fair to know what you're getting"

Before I begin my review of Joanna Shupe's debut novel THE COURTESAN DUCHESS, I need to first say that this book is one of the best debuts of the year and I am not saying that lightly. Joanna Shupe is eloquent
Under the Covers Book Blog
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
You may have seen me talk about Joanna Shupe in videos/social media.  Last year I discovered her books when I read a Christmas anthology she was part of.  I wanted to read more of her books, especially her NYC Gilded Age stories.  But I found this gem on Audible Romance and couldn't pass up the opportunity to start yet another series.  Such is the life of a book hoarder.

First things first, this book is not about a courtesan.  Our heroine gets help from a courtesan to figure out how to seduce
Yesy (The Book Vagrant)
there was so much potential for this to be an angsty, second-chance...ish romance but the hero was frustrating and a hypocrite and the pacing was weird and anticlimactic

(adding an extra .5 stars because I liked Julia even if her judgement was a little... questionable, to say the least)
Cee (The Mistress Case)
A memorable and stunning debut by Joanna Shupe!

Cue standing ovation for The Courtesan Duchess for bringing on the heat.

It’s crucial to have a sympathetic protagonist. Not a pitiful one. Sympathetic. There’s a huge difference. Which is why it was effortless to support Julia’s cause. Can you imagine? Pretending to be a courtesan and having your husband desire you as a woman, not as a wife? A husband who hardly cares about what’s happening to you in England while he’s abroad having endless dallianc
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first half of the book was a 5-star for me, I couldn't put it down until I passed out at 3am. This is my first book by this author and she writes a good steamy story! I didn't find it to be over-the-top raunchy, or looking for shock value points... but definitely a very good steamy. She does an awesome job describing emotions in her writing, from lust to anger. It was all very believable. The last half of the book, about the point where they are back in England... it fell a bit for me. It wa ...more
Christy W
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Courtesan Duchess did not disappoint. It was a great story in so many ways and more entertaining than I expected. In a genre where I expect far-fetched plots, it fares along well with it’s competition. I especially appreciate a romance with zero whiny/annoying characters (don’t get me wrong - it can make for an interesting storyline - if it’s done right). This story played out nicely to dominate my Sunday afternoon (housecleaning on audio). There were no lengthy angst ridden chapters and a g ...more
Nicholas Francis Seaton, the seventh Duke of Colton known as the Depraved Duke married Lady Julia Seaton because of his father wishes. He does not want anything to do with his estates or his wife. Without the Duke's direction, Julia is desperate. Julia has to take matters in her own hands and comes up with a plan to seduce her husband to get a heir. Lady Julia seeks advise and guidance from a known courtesan and pretends to be Mrs. Juliet Leighton, another known courtesan. Nick's friend, Damien ...more
Bad title + worse book blurb = unforgettable, steamy story with fun leads and memorable secondary characters?




I would not have picked this up judging by the book title, the cover, or the book blurb. In fact, all three things made me want to put the book down.

However, after coming across it in my TBR book list, I was curious and some of the nasty GoodReads reviews on here sealed the deal. I think I’m coming around to the estranged couple trope and its subtrope, estranged wife pretends to
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been really into historical romances recently (if it wasn’t obvious from all the books I read recently😂).

And I really enjoyed this one. Would give it a 3.5 stars ! The angst and storyline was ADDICTING and GREAT.

The characters too!

This is about Julia and Nick - they married 8 years ago and he left never to come back (arranged marriage). They barely spoke or interacted in that time.

Julia runs into trouble and formulates a plan to seduce her husband to get an heir. She learns to become a se
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
**2.5 stars**

The Courtesan Duchess had one of those conflicts where BOTH were correct in feeling how they felt: given his abandonment, she was right in doing everything in her power to secure herself financially and he was right to be mad as hell when he discovered that she had deceived him to conceive a child. I even think he was right to wait until he could be sure he was the father (which normally would have been a pretty shitty thing to do) but hell, when a woman goes to the trouble she went
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
This is one of those love it or hate it book. Just hearing the series name and the word deceptions, you can guess some people behave badly. It has elements to it that a lot of readers don't like, and I think the variety of ratings and reactions reflect that. I had no issues, because I thought it was real and raw and angsty and frustrating and all the things. I like to go through those feelings when I read, so this one worked for me. And it was well written. The only issue that I had was some of ...more
Danielle A
This is one of those books where the main story and couple was going to be a wash for me from the very beginning. Nothing wrong with Joanna's writing - she had a nice balance of details and pacing and I sped right through this but it just fell flat to me. Also I did enjoy how some of this was set in Venice and San Marco was talked about. It's an iconic place in Venezia.

The characters were just not likable enough. I understood their povs and history but I didn't feel like they suited each other.
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Award-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on instead of attending classes, yet still managed to graduate with a journalism degree. She

Other books in the series

Wicked Deceptions (3 books)
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