I was so so so bored reading this book.
It really is quite a shame. I had such high hopes for the book because of all the raving reviews. I agree with other reviewers that it isn't very sporting of Robert to refuse to marry Belinda but expect her to stay on as his mistress. But that did not bother me so much. I mean, Belinda should have left him then, instead of staying with him after she realized that he was not going to marry her. I don't even think she should realize only then. She should have known from the beginning that one day she would need to walk away.
I have always believed, that in love there is really no shame. Call me someone with loose morals but true love happens ever so rarely and the reality ever so harsh. The important thing is to make your decisions and BE ABLE TO live with the consequences. No false hopes. As for hurting someone else' feelings.....well, in the end we are only responsible for our own happiness. This is not being selfish. This is about making decisions being fully aware of the ramifications and consequences of your actions. If you give, give freely. That is the only way to live a responsible life. If you love, it hardly matters if the other person loves you back or does what you expect them to do. If it matters, well, then maybe you need to re-examine your intentions.
Belinda made the decision to stay knowing that Robert would not offer for her. Why did Robert's decision to marry come as a surprise, for the life of me, I could not understand. Nobody lied to anybody. They both knew what they were doing, walked in with their eyes open, so to speak. Then at least part amiably and accept that it was not meant to be. I would have more respect for them both, had they acted thusly.
But enough with my heathenish view on relationships.
My real problem with the story is that I don't like either Robert or Belinda. I like Belinda even less than Robert. I must say the courtesan theme is not what bothers me. I read Elizabeth Hoyt's [b: The Ice Princess|17227081|I'm Dating the Ice Princess (The Ice Princess, #1)|Filipina|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381763065s/17227081.jpg|23739727] and I love the herioen, who had been a prosititute for 10 years when the book started. I do not care if the heroine is a courtesan. But I do care whether I could identify with her. And I could not identify with Belinda. It was not her fault what had happened. So please stop with the self-pity and wanting. A duke naturally would need to think twice before he committed himself to a known courtesan. Was that ever a surprise? I do not believe in this romantic notion of "if he loves me he must do a and b". Sometimes people need time to come to such revelations. You can only make decisions based on your wishes and beliefs, not on what you wish others would do. It is childish and unfair. Be an adult and make your decisions. Own them. No one is responsible for making you happy. And you are not responsible for anyone else's happiness.
For 400 pages I was bored out of my freaking skull. I never could like Belinda or Robert. There is too much "building-up" of the story with all the secondary characters who I hardly care about. It is not a poorly written book at all. But I do not care for the story, much to my dismay.
(Re-reading [book: Lord of Fire] actually made me realize: I have read this series before. Maybe not the entire series but definitely the first 4. And I only recall loving Lord of Fire and mildly liking [book: Lord of Ice]. I remember disliking The Duke. If my memories had served me I could have saved myself 5 euros. But well, without The Duke I would not have found Lord of Fire again. So all is forgiven!!)