“A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man” by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan

Regency London’s most celebrated, the Blackbird, was a woman before her time—uninhibited, financially independent, and free to live by her own rules. Schooled in the sensual arts by the one man she loved the most, she recorded every wicked detail in her diaries…

When Boston museum curator Piper Chase-Pierpont unearths the Blackbird’s steamy memoirs, she’s aroused and challenged by what she finds. Could the courtesan’s diaries be used as a modern girl’s guide to finding love and empowerment?
One curious curator—one very lucky man—are about to find out…

REVIEW: “A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man” opens in present time Boston with our heroine Piper, a senior curator at the Boston Museum of Culture and Society, as she’s gathering some material for the Herrington exhibit for which she’s in charge. By pure fluke, she stumbles upon a 187 year old diary of Ophelia Herrington who she realizes was a courtesan in England long before she became one of the leaders of Boston society as well as a voice against slavery and free speech for women.

As the story progresses, I got to know Piper and the world she lives in, her dreams, her regrets and slowly I was pulled in and vested into her life. When the hero Mick, who left her some ten years ago, walks back into her life, I couldn’t help but root for this young woman to win him back, especially when I found out the reason behind his abrupt departure all those years ago.

Magnus “Mick” Malloy was an assistant lecturer a decade ago at the Wellesley and that’s when he met Piper, a brilliant, cute and shy chick that had dry sense of humor that intrigued him. He was back in Boston from his world-wide explorations and for the next six months he would be working as a consultant to the board of trustees at Piper’s museum.

Chapter after chapter the authors slowly took me from present day Boston, and thanks to Piper’s reading of Ophelia’s diary, back to 19th Century London.One thread that connected both stories is the compelling need of both women to be free. My heart went out to both of them as I followed their journey toward that freedom, toward their self discovery and their own sexuality. I rejoiced as they broke the invisible chains that society in Ophelia’s case, and parents in Piper’s case, have put on them.

For some, the very explicit love scenes might be too much, but in my opinion, all of them were very well written and will set your heart aflutter. This is an erotic love story and the erotic scenes were done with taste, care and forethought, not just put there willy-nilly to fill up the pages. Through those scenes I could feel the love of these men who were blessed with these extraordinary women.

At the beginning of the book the authors were switching from present to past every few chapters. The switch was less and less as the book went on, so that by the end I was reading them almost simultaneously. The pace and the switch between the two stories was intense and suspenseful. And then the end came and I just wept. I promise you that by the end you will be weeping too.

Ms. Bradley and Ms. Donovan gifted us with a tale of true love that in the end conquered all that was in its path, including our two heroines. I am amazed that two women wrote this book. One of these authors I’ve never read, while the other I’ve read and own every book she ever wrote. I truly could not say where one ended and the other began; that’s how seamlessly intertwined the book is! Brava Ladies!

*I got the ARC of this book from Early Reviewers Giveaway at The LibraryThing.com  for an honest review.