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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and the Scholar by Denise Golinowski

The Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and the Scholar by Denise Golinowski
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Heat Level: Sweet
Length: Short Story (111 pages)
Genre: Historical
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Temptation is her profession, seduction in her blood, but when a courtesan falls in love with an impoverished scholar, can she risk her heart and his life?

For a courtesan with siren’s blood, drawing men to her bed is as natural as breathing, but Lisara Hammett refuses to feel anything beyond the physical. A generations-old curse dooms the women of her bloodline to lose any man they love.

Reyst Andulon does not believe in superstition nor magical creatures—but he does believe he is not good enough for Lady Lisara. Lisara begs to differ, but must risk the pain of her family curse or lose Reyst forever.

Myths and stories: “They have no place here because man forbade them a place. When you find yourself where man no longer holds mastery, you may discover your position shifting. When you stand alone beneath a wind-swept sky on a landscape barren of man’s impositions, the world is an entirely different place.” Though this phrase doesn’t appear until past page 20, it is a great truth that really touched a chord in me.

The Festival of the Flowers is a battle between the madness of love and reason, but it is more than that. The novel tells the story of poor scholar Reyst, a man of brains and deep thought and Lisara, a courtesan with a hint of siren blood and a whole lot of belief in curses.

Reyst bowled me over with his long hair, tall build and honeyed voice (ah, what a voice can do), and Lisara is vulnerable yet strong and determined about her options in life. I particularly loved the way her siren gift didn’t work with him and how though he initially refused to believe in myths he eventually falls pray to the contradiction of life.

They are the main characters, but their story would not have been possible without the help of their friends: Tamryn and Teller. These heart warming, well constructed secondary characters demonstrate the importance of friendship in life.

The novel reads itself, for Ms. Golinowski describes nicely and knows how to build up a climax (that rise to the first kiss was fantastic). The Festival of the Flowers is a sweet and delightful read that will leave you with a happy afterglow.