REVIEW: The Mistress Memoirs by Jillian Hunter
In caring for a courtesan’s children, helping to write her memoirs, and acting as her companion, has Kate ruined any chance for her own happy-ever-after? Is she ready to trust someone with her heart, even if he’s known as a rogue with vengeance on his mind?
Miss Kate Walcott is the governess and companion to a well-known courtesan. When Kate was in need, Georgette took her into her household and they’ve become good friends who don’t always see eye-to-eye on life, children, or men. Kate has agreed to write Georgette’s memoirs because Georgette has never learned to read or write, but sometimes those memoirs teach Kate much more than she wants to know. It’s also trying when Kate is suspected of sexual prowess as much as her mistress, even though she is saving herself for the man she will marry. Georgette had warned her that working for a courtesan implies guilt by association.
Kate never thought that the guilt by association would also extend to everyone in Georgette’s household, including her three young children. But Georgette’s latest protector has gone off on business and left them to fend for themselves. Not that they ever felt there was any danger, until a group of ruffians attack one evening. Lucky for them all, Sir Colin Boscastle, Georgette’s first lover, takes this very moment to reacquaint himself with Georgette, only to corner Kate in the garden instead.
Kate intended to meet Mr. Stanley Wilkes, the village apothecary’s assistant, in the garden to get something for Georgette’s children who have all fallen ill with a bad cough. Stanley warns Kate that there is a drunken mob about to attack the house, but the warning comes too late to escape the crossfire. She’s not sure which is worse, dodging arrows on fire or dodging the fire from the lips of Georgette’s former lover, Colin.
Colin intends to lie in wait for Georgette’s latest protector, Mason Earling, to return from business to confront him for the crime of killing his father. For years, Colin has searched for his father’s murderer only to recently discover that it wasn’t the man he suspected, but his son. Now, he’s bound to protect Georgette and her household against a town who wants her gone while they wait for Mason to return. Can he do that without caring about what happens to this mishmash of a family?
Kate is such an entertaining heroine, especially since she runs the household like she’s manipulating a war zone. Her often-imbalanced friendship with a spoiled courtesan can gnaw at anyone’s patience, but add in three mischievous children and you’ll swear she’s a saint. Then there’s Colin, a true thorn in her side who desires much more from Kate than she’s ever imagined giving. It would be so much easier to settle for Mr. Stanley Wilkes, a boring apothecary assistant, then to deal with the unknown mystery Colin seems to promise.
I can’t begin to describe the depth of fun that this novel has within it. It’s the type of book that grabs your attention at the very beginning and you can’t help but rush to the end. The characterization is exquisite. THE MISTRESS MEMOIRS is filled with action, mystery, sensuality, love for extended family, rotten children to love and a bevy of eccentric characters. I was most moved by what happens in chapter twenty-three, which is hysterically funny, but also speaks to whom Kate truly is and which man will insure that she receives the happiness she deserves. I was fully invested in rooting for this couple’s happy-ever-after at that moment and would have been devastated had it not happened. I think the key is Kate’s courage to face anything life deals her and make the best of it, always thinking about the care of others instead of herself. Will she finally give herself to the man who deserves her?
After reading this novel, I realized that it’s book thirteen in a series. I suspected while reading that the characters had a past history I might have missed, but it didn’t detract from the story or make it hard to understand at all. I’m sure that fans of the series will enjoy glimpses of Colin’s brothers and cousins because I’m curious to find out more about them.
THE MISTRESS MEMOIRS is a rare treat for historical readers who love some spice in their reading coupled with great laugh-out-loud moments. Author Jillian Hunter has a keen eye for details, creating characters that leap off the page into the reader’s heart.
What’s on your mountain?