Kate Bergeron has become the newly acquired mistress of the Prince of Wales. Unfortunately, the Prince is currently caught up in a scandalous divorce and cannot yet acknowledge to the Ton that Kate is his new mistress without hindering his case. So, the Prince instructs his friend, Grayson Christopher, the Duke of Darlington, to pretend to be having an affair with Kate to throw the gossips off him.
Neither Kate nor Grayson is pleased about the arrangement. Grayson seems to be the typical arrogant Lord, looking down on Kate from his lofty position in society. Grayson cannot imagine spending time with a woman who uses her body for profit. But, as they are forced to attend events together, the facades start to crumble. Suddenly, Grayson and Kate seem to have more in common than either could ever realize. The attraction is strong between them, but the Prince of Wales is standing in the way. And besides, a Duke and a courtesan are destined for a doomed relationship, right?
The passion and chemistry between Grayson and Kate is strong, even when it is mixed with their initial dislike. Grayson most assuredly defines the strong and proud Duke role, but it is nice to get to know him without his ducal face on. He is warm and kind and is starting to realize there is a lot about the world of London he has ignored for a long time.
Kate is pure graciousness. She knows she is only a courtesan but she frankly acts better than many of the ladies of polite society. She has a passion for helping others, she wants to run her own bakery, and she has positive hopes for her future. She is pragmatic however and knows falling for Grayson will bring about her total ruin.
For the most part, this is a very strong romance. However, Grayson proves to be the weaker of the two characters and there were times when his behavior was cruel despite the lessons he learned throughout the story. For the most part however, this book is a solid romance. Kate is a very likable woman and her attempts to elevate herself to a better life are strategic and wise, even if they are not always the choices that make her the happiest.
A Courtesanís Scandal has drama, tempestuous romance, and satisfying characterization. Julia London can write riveting romance.