Book Review: The Corrupt Comte by Edie Harris

The Corrupt Comte by Edie HarrisTitle:The Corrupt Comte
Series: The Bourbon Boys Quartet, Book 1
Author: Edie Harris
Genre: Historical Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: bought
Published: August 27, 2013 by Samhain Publishing

Gaspard Toussaint is known throughout 1820 French society as the “molly comte”, a foppish throw pillow of an aristocrat. But his entire life is a twisted mass of secrets and lies as a spy for the Crown. His final covert act will have him fleeing his broken country forever…but before he can escape, he needs the power and safety that only money can provide. And no one has more money than English heiress Claudia Pascale.

The only child of a wealthy tradesman, Claudia has continually failed to catch a husband—due in large part to her uncontrollable stutter. Spurned by a dashing French lieutenant and desperate to escape her parents’ household, she joins forces with the seemingly harmless Gaspard to learn how to properly ensnare a spouse: through seduction.

All too soon, Gaspard’s lessons in delicious domination and sinful submission make Claudia suspicious that he is not what everyone believes him to be. And Gaspard realizes his quest to possess her is becoming less about her dowry…and more about the woman herself.

Warning: Contains an aggressive Frenchman with extremely loose morals, a determined heiress who can’t refuse a dare, and bedroom games where boundaries were made to be crossed.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Excellent historical romance with a very unique hero that successfully turned an erotic romance into an emotional one.

The Set Up: Gaspard plays his role of a gay French aristocrat while living the life of a spy. He needs money and no one has more than half-English heiress, Claudia, who wants nothing more than to leave her abusive family. Claudia thinks taking seduction lessons from the harmless “molly” Gaspard will teach her how to seduce a man but she doesn’t count on being seduced by Gaspard.

Why I Read this Book: The synopsis had me at a hetro spy masquerading as a gay one.

What I Liked: This is a stellar romance. For me it’s rare that an author successfully turns an erotic romance into an emotional one but that’s what happens here. From the time Gaspard takes Claudia into the closet for an erotic game, I knew this would be a luscious, sensual novel. What I didn’t expect is that Gaspard and Claudia’s eroticism would include emotional intimacy where they slowly open up to each other about their fears, hopes and secret desires—both sexual and emotional. Gaspard has an frantic desire to love Claudia and Claudia’s acceptance and reciprocation is powerful to read. Even when these two bumble their way into love and hurt each other, they somehow use sex to communicate emotional needs. For instance, Gaspard uses his wiles to get Claudia married to him and she’s rightly hurt and bitter. Gaspard knows this and invites Claudia to sexually dominate him and in doing so they find an emotional equilibrium in their relationship. Very rarely do I find an erotic novel that successfully uses sex to form an emotional bond between the leads but that’s done brilliantly here.

What I Also Liked: This novel doesn’t ever do the easy fix and I so appreciate that. For example, in most romance novels a hetro-male lead would never truly engage in gay sex, especially for something like espionage but that is the case here and readers witness it firsthand. Likewise, Gaspard and Claudia’s very lives are at risk if Gaspard suddenly announces he wasn’t gay all along and how the novel deals with this is messy, imperfect and definitely not the typical HEA. I loved this and think other jaded readers will too.

This is set up as the first in a series since Gaspard is just one of the spies working for a corrupt French official. Gaspard’s fellow spies are fascinating characters and I can’t wait for their stories.

Reader note: I’m no BDSM fan and the synopsis hints at that but I didn’t find much BDSM in the novel. Simple domination and submission was in the novel but nothing extreme at all or I wouldn’t have enjoyed it like I did!

What I Didn’t Like: I don’t like young leads and nearly stopped reading this book when at novel’s beginning Gaspard says Claudia can’t be more than eighteen years old. That isn’t the case, she’s a bit older which was good for my taste. Given this was a historical and how mature Claudia was, I’m glad I stuck with the novel as I enjoyed it greatly.

IMO: Historical readers looking for a unique and compelling read should absolutely read this erotic and emotional novel.


J9’s Rating:
4 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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