Monday, October 26, 2015

#Review - Harlot by Victoria Dahl @VictoriaDahl #romance

Harlot by Victoria Dahl
Publication Date: October 26, 2015
Date Read:  October 22, 2015

He came home to marry an angel...
After two years of work in the gold fields of California, Caleb Hightower has come home to marry his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Willoughby. But when he returns, Caleb learns his refined bride-to-be is now a whore. Enraged by her betrayal, he can’t reconcile this shameless woman with the sweet innocent he once deeply loved--but Caleb knows what to do with a harlot. He’s determined to get everything from her that she’s sold to other men. And he’s prepared to pay for the pleasure of his revenge.

But all he found was sin.
Left penniless after her father’s death, Jess made a deal with a devil. Now she must face her first love, whose scorn is no match for her regret. To make amends, she’ll let Caleb quench his rage with her body. Their bargain strips them down to searing passion and naked vulnerability, and Jess can still glimpse her loving Caleb buried deep inside this rough cowboy. In the end, an unbearable truth emerges that could push them toward forgiveness…or could destroy their fragile bond forever.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

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This book was exactly what I had hoped it would be.  I was in the mood to read a short and sexy story about a bad girl.  Yes, I will admit that the title got my attention.  Any book named Harlot deserves a second look in my opinion.  I was really kind of excited to read a historical novel that didn't feature an innocent girl as the main character.  I am always looking for something a little different so I liked the premise of the story.

There really weren't any surprises in the story and some parts were largely predictable but I had such a good time reading it that I honestly didn't care.  I did empathize with Jessica.  The shame that she felt and her fears felt very real.  I like that she didn't give up even when everything seemed to be against her.  In fact, she was really pretty upbeat for someone that had had so many things go wrong for in her life.

I didn't warm up to Caleb nearly as quickly as Jessica.  He seemed very quick to judge Jessica without asking any questions.  He had to have it pointed out to him that his behavior was not exactly perfect and he may have played a role in how everything worked out.  Despite his flaws, I did end up liking him by the end of the story.  Once he takes the time to ask some much needed questions, he does see that things were not exactly how they had appeared on the surface.

The story of how Jessica ended up in her situation was really the part of the story that captured my attention.  She seemed so innocent at times despite everything that had happened.  I do wish that certain characters had been forced to pay a higher price.  The sexy parts of the story were well done and I did think that Jessica and Caleb had a lot of chemistry on the page. 

I would recommend this book to fans of historical romance with a steamy side.   I definitely plan to read more from Victoria Dahl in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Victoria Dahl via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

Photo credit: Anne Pearson
Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the Utah mountains. During the summer, she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time.) During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. 
She’s been reading romance since the age of twelve and started her first manuscript at the tender age of twenty. Occasionally, on dark and stormy nights, she bravely posts excerpts of that original story on her blog for the entertainment of her readers.
Her first published novel won the Golden Heart award. Since then, she's published over twenty-five books and novellas, including three USA Today bestsellers, and several of her books have been nominated for  the prestigious RITA® Award for excellence in the romance genre.



Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

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