Lobe’s second novel (Paris Hangover, 2006) offers a steamy peek inside the life of a modern day courtesan.
Despite the fancy moniker, a courtesan is simply a woman who trades sexual favors for material goods—an unlikely profession for a self-proclaimed “goody-goody” from Midwestern America. Alexandra Ward stumbles upon her chosen career after being dumped by her French fiancée. Cash-strapped and broken hearted, Alexandra gratefully accepts when her best friend offers her a free couture gown and an invitation to a fancy fashion soiree. Dressed to impress, Alexandra does just that and attracts the attention of a powerful French businessman. It’s a match made in heaven: He’s looking for a fresh new lover and she needs a meal ticket. Diamonds and the latest fashions don’t come cheap. Alexandra is required to transform herself from an ungainly graduate student into a mysterious dominatrix possessing grace and wit. Turning tricks for Mikimoto pearls and Cartier watches doesn’t give Alexandra the slightest cause for moral pause. She sees herself as providing a valuable service to France’s overworked and undersexed elite (she pities her lovers, for they are so misunderstood by their icy wives). Alexandra’s carefree morality and self-justification rants grow arduous as the chapters wear on. On the bright side, the book, packed with sex tips, serves as an excellent instruction guide to lovemaking. But the author, who idolizes all things French, is at her best when chronicling Alexandra’s wild spending sprees at Paris’s most exclusive boutiques and enjoying France’s finest wines and cuisine.
Plenty of red-hot sex, but the book lacks the punch of Lobe’s debut.