Book Review: The Illicit Love of a Courtesan by Jane Lark

Posted September 1, 2014 by Sally in Book Reviews / 0 Comments



Title: The Illicit Love of a Courtesan (Marlow Intrigues #1)

Author: Jane Lark

Genre: Historical Romance 18+ Regency Period

Publication Date: October 3, 2013

Publisher: HarperImpulse an imprint of HarperCollins


Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty—a vessel—deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee. He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.


5 Star Review

Ellen Harding was a beautiful woman who was sold into an abusive relationship that she couldn’t escape nor felt she was good enough to try. Edward Marlow was a handsome, strong, and loving man and after seeing her, wanted Ellen for himself.   Edward was her salvation.

After having had a taste of Edward, Ellen felt like she deserved better; she hadn’t felt worthy of anything good in a long time.

She walked away, snapping shut her fan and then holding it to her chest. Her heart thumping, she weaved a path through the tables, twisting and turning, making her way through the crush of drunk and over eager men who watched the games, ignoring the hands that stroked her bottom or grazed her breast.

For a respectable woman they would part like the red sea for Moses. For a harlot, like her, they deliberately blocked her way, and often only a sharp elbow in their ribs or a shove would move them.

Normally she ignored their uncouth leers. She knew what she was, what to expect but tonight she felt vulnerable and violated.

Edward lent his love and strength to Ellen as he couldn’t save her until she wanted to be saved. Just being seen with her would risk shaming his family. But he didn’t care, to him Ellen was worth it. The road to happiness for both of them was a tough one and once again Jane Lark made the journey enjoyable for me as the reader. Her writing makes you feel like you’re a part of their story and struggling to find your happy ending along with them.

The strength and passion that Edward felt towards Ellen’s cause was positively overwhelming. Having read this series out of order (I do recommend that you start with this title first), I felt closer to Ellen than I would have, had I just met her character. Again, this wasn’t planned and I recommend you read the series in order. Already knowing the ending of her story, but not knowing what she and Edward went through to get there, made this one big book of foreshadowing. I couldn’t wait to read about how she met Edward and what they went through to save her. She was forced into it and needed a hero.

He’d called her a work of nature’s art that first night. She was, only it was more than visual, it was physical too. She could ease his soul, reduce his anger and fear and she made his life something precious. He was nothing without her, he knew it. Together they made a whole.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book directly from the author. I was not paid to read or review this book. All opinions are my own, and I was never influenced by anything or anyone.


The Marlow Intrigues Series by Jane Lark.

Jane Lark Marlow Intrigues Series

Purchase links for book #1 – The Illicit Love of a Courtesan:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes

Purchase links for book #2 – The Passionate Love of a Rake:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes

Purchase links for book #3 – The Scandalous Love of a Duke:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes

Purchase links for book #4 – The Lost Love of a Soldier:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes

Purchase links for book #5 – Capturing the Earl’s Love (FREE):

Amazon Barnes & Noble

About the Author

 photo For13_Jane_Lark_Full_Res_zps518c75cf.jpgJane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author. She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last. You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality. Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses them to create more realistic plots. ‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’ Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Connect with the Author: Blog | Facebook | Twitter Pinterest | Website

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