Milan, Courtney. Unclaimed. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2011.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0373776030 | 422 pages | Victorian Romance
I was looking forward to finally reading Unclaimed, because it has one of my favorite tropes, which is the virgin hero paired with the more experienced heroine. And while the book overall was not as impressive as Unveiled, it was not due to deficiencies in character development, but rather issues with the pacing feeling a bit slower and the story lagging a bit in places. However, otherwise, it is a great read.
Given the setup, it would have been easy for Milan to take Mark’s character in a direction towards the self-righteous, and I’m glad she didn’t do that, and instead focused on him wanting to find the right person and genuinely being overwhelmed and annoyed by the furor his book on chastity has inspired. I also liked that there was an instance of implying that Mark preferred accountability for oneself over this mob mentality that has arisen that supposedly keeps all the other men in society in check.
While Jessica’s arc is more cliche, given the common themes of the status of the “ruined” woman in society and the somewhat frequent bleak portrayal of how courtesans ended up in that profession in the first place, that did not diminish its ability to be moving. And this is one of those stories where, despite seeming different at first, I loved how well they worked together as a couple, with my favorite moments being the times when Mark came to Jessica’s defense.
I would recommend this to fans of historical romances, especially those who like relationship dynamics that are a little bit different from the norm.