Review: The General's Mistress by Jo Graham

Description (from publisher):

‘A Dutch woman flees her marriage to become a courtesan against the backdrop of the French Revolution in this steamy historical novel described as Girl With A Pearl Earring meets Dangerous Liaisons.

Elza believed her Dutch husband would be her handsome prince, with whom she’d live happily ever after. But he soon turned cold, dismissive, and scornful, more interested in politics than Elza. When he grows violent, she leaves everything and runs away to post-revolutionary Paris, where she finds herself in need of a protector. Elza makes a deal with a commander in the French army: in exchange for his defense against her husband, she will become his mistress.

So begins a sensual journey that leads from the decadent salons of Paris to the Italian coast to the bed of General Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Elza finds that she has a survivor’s instincts, a courtesan’s passion, and the gift of second sight. When a tarot reading reveals the face of a soldier who she senses is her soulmate, Elza must once again decide if she is strong enough to risk everything for her destiny.’

My thoughts:

         I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting with this book. I knew it would feature a courtesan as the word “mistress” in the title was a dead giveaway. Elza finds herself married to a man she once loved but now is bored with. She is not happy with her marriage and where she is in her life, so she decides to leave her husband and go to Paris to become the mistress of a army commander. She soon finds herself in the middle of the splendor she has always dreamed of and among the upper elite of society. This story follows Elza as she goes from the very top to the very bottom and shows us how fickle fate can really be.

        I really liked the setting of France in it’s newly republican state. Where the ‘reign of terror’ is still fresh on the populace’s minds, but the taste of liberty is still very sweet and must be protected at all costs. Politics rule Paris and the tide of power is constantly changing. A country is trying to make peace with it’s own inner turmoil within its government and on the battlefields.

       This book had a little too much romance in it for my tastes. I prefer to have more historical fiction than romance and this one was a little out of the norm for me. Not saying by any means that this isn’t a good novel, just be prepared for graphic sexual scenes and the predominance of sexual natures. The other parts of this book, that didn’t include overly described sex scenes, were very interesting. I really enjoyed Elza’s character and that she was a survivor and the thought that went into planning out her story. You can just see the research and all the details that went into describing her time period and what was normal of a courtesan at that time. I also really enjoyed the battle scenes that take place in this novel. They were vivid and give the reader the real sense of the brutality of war. This book isn’t my normal cup of tea, but it still was an interesting read. If you like your historical fiction with romance, then I think this one would be right for you.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  The General’s Mistress
Author:  Jo Graham
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Gallery
Publication Date:  October 23, 2012
Pages:  400
Genre:  Historical Fiction

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for my review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

6 thoughts on “Review: The General's Mistress by Jo Graham

  1. Sorry to hear this wasn't everything you hoped for. I do like romance, but I'm not a big fan of graphic sex scenes…or mistresses, to be honest. At least it was a 3 and interesting. =)


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