BEHIND THE COURTESAN by newcomer Bronwyn Stuart weaves a touching tale of redemption and healing between plucky courtesan, Sophie Martin and her one-time best-friend, the illegitimate son of a Duke, Blake Vale.

When courtesan Sophia Martin returns to the village she fled as a young woman, she knows it won’t be a happy reunion—but she can’t refuse her brother’s request to attend his expectant wife. Trapped until the baby arrives, she must navigate the social rift she caused when she left to pursue a disreputable life—and keep the true reason for her departure from the man she once loved, the bastard son of the Duke who ruined her.

Blake Vale has never forgotten Sophia, but he can’t accept the decisions she made, the courtesan’s life she leads, or the fact she’s cast aside her true self. Plain old Sophia has to be inside this hardened woman somewhere, and he’s determined to make her see she doesn’t need rich men to be happy, and that their future has nothing to do with the past.

Bronwyn Stuart weaves a touching tale of redemption and healing

When the dukedom suddenly falls within his reach, Blake must come to terms with his own past and his birthright, and what that means for his future…and Sophia.

Ms. Stuart has done a good job in her second novel drawing the reader in with lively banter between  Sophie and Blake. With a bet on the line, neither one is willing to back down and some of the dialog is downright funny!  That being said, I found myself wanting to be drawn in more as a reader, especially given the horrific circumstances surrounding Sophia’s flight to London.  I wanted more of a visual narrative.  I wanted to feel the absolute angst and heartache, the humiliation, the indignation, the humility, the betrayal, all of it.  I wanted to smell what the characters were smelling, see what the characters were seeing more than the small glimpse the author gave us   Also, toward the end, some of the dialog seemed inconsistent with the characters we came to know within the pages of the book.

All in all, I think Ms. Stuart wrote a heartwarming tale that illustrates the many reasons why we should never judge another based solely on what we see, to believe in second chances, but above all, know that love can conquer all.

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About the Reviewer

Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton - Dayna is the very busy divorced mother of four "exceptional" children. She spends her time running not only this website but is also the founder and President of Rising Phoenix Charitable Foundation ( - a charitable organization which benefits women and children's causes. Dayna is a firm believer in the worth and value of individuals and hopes to help all embrace who they are, nourish themselves and then "pay it forward" by helping others around them to do the same. In her spare time, Dayna enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and hopes to someday have the time to write a book herself. Dayna is also an avid lover of film and the process that goes into making them. From an early age, she remembers watching the Academy Awards with her mom and cheering on her favorites. When Dayna was little, she just knew she was going to be a big star someday and she would practice in front of a mirror accepting her Oscar. Dayna took four years of drama, which she loved, but found her true passion was dancing. Even today you can catch Dayna dancing just about everywhere she goes, including beaches in the moonlight ...