Title: The Courtesan
Author: Susan Carroll
Series: The Dark Queen Saga
Previous Book in the Series:
1. The Dark Queen
Date Started: August 11
Date Finished: August 14
Format: Paperback from library co-op
As the Lady of Faire Isle it is Ariane Cheney’s job to protect those on the Isle. But there are some things she can’t predict to happen. The woman who the Cheney sister’s father was having an affair with died and the house has been left to them. Ariane is about ready to decline the house, when Gabrielle decides she wants it. She doesn’t want to live on Faire Isle anymore, not with so many bad memories. Ariane forbids her from going, but she does anyway, stealing away in the middle of the night. Three years later, Gabrielle is one of the most famous courtesans at court, but she still has ghosts to put to rest.
She searches out for her friend Cassandra, a daughter of the earth who is versed in a darker sort of magic, to help summon the ghost of Captain Remy the Scrouge who perished in the bloodbath of St. Bartholomew’s Eve. The blind witch agrees to help, but for a future favor. They try to summon Remy, but he doesn’t appear. Instead, Cassandra’s master appears with a prophecy. Gabrielle is destined for greatness. She will be the mistress to the king of Navarre and be his right hand when he becomes king of France. The séance ends, with no sign of the captain, which means one of two things. Either Remy has moved on and is at peace, or he never really died in the first place.
I really loved The Dark Queen – the first book in the series – and I was kind of worried about feeling the same about book 2. Usually the second book isn’t as good as the first and when I read that this book was going to follow Gabrielle, I was even more skeptical. But I should have known better. This book was as good as book one if not better. Gabrielle is a very entertaining character who has not only an attitude but pride as well. Sometimes that got annoying during the story, especially when it came to her dealings with Remy. Two stubborn headed people in a relationship together is never a good idea, but with these two they both have horrors in their past that are preventing them from getting together. Getting over those horrors was an insane and enjoyable ride. I have to admit that Carroll made me nervous when Gabrielle revealed that the rumors that Remy had heard about her being a courtesan were true and how she was after the king of Navarre. But even that she did with grace.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I loved the characters and I really loved the different perspectives – like the Dark Queen, Gabrielle, Remy, Miri, etc – because it showed different aspects of the story, which added to the plot. I also liked the fact that we got to see Ariane and Miri, usually when the second book goes with a different character there is only a brief mention of previous characters. My only complaint was that it was a little lengthy and sometimes too many events going on at once.
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