PLEASE NOTE: I was well aware of the controversy surrounding this novel when I picked it up, which was at least half the motivation for doing so.
I'm torn on the rating with this one. I liked the characters - as each was deeply drawn and behaved in accordance with their respective personal histories. On the other hand, there are scenes where Kylemore crosses the line from seduction and undoubtedly rapes Verity.
Please also note, I don't intend to criticize Ms. Campbell's intentions or portrayal in CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, as Kylemore *does* realize and acknowledge the extremity, violence, and utter abhorrence of his actions - not that it makes them okay. I just find myself unsettled (and perhaps that was what Ms. Campbell intended).
The "forced seduction"/rape scenes were not - i.m.h.o. - arousing or titillating in any way (though - again, I don't believe they were meant to be). In general I find such depictions distasteful (at best) and am hard pressed to imagine a situation in which a rape survivor would fall in love with her attacker, regardless of circumstances. A great deal of trouble arises when simple-minded individuals allude to such works of fiction as justification of real-life actions, or "proof" of women's "true" desires.
In this case though, I find Ms. Campbell's novel as deft and sensitively portrayed as it could possibly be, given the story's set-up and the genre's requirement of a HEA. (Also note: This isn't a slam against romance. I *LOVE* romance novels. All I mean is to be categorized as such, the characters must receive their HEA or at least a HFN ending. Hence my final statement.)