Month of Love Two Doll Review: Wedding of the Season and Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke
Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She’d loved him forever and she’d never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter . . . and left two weeks before their wedding.
Return of the duke . . .
Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she’s about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable . . . the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?
Noa: Ok, so this time? Totally Kitt’s fault! I’ve been following the works of Laura Lee Guhrke since I picked up a copy of The Marriage Bed a couple of years ago, after reading, I made sure to check out when her books come out. Some I enjoyed more, some less but her recent series – The Girl Bachelor series was a lot of fun. So you might understand why I was extremely excited when Kitt told me that Ms. Guhrke was coming to PBD for Month of Love and that Netgalley.com had the first two books of her new Abandoned at the Alter series on offer…
So, first up, this series isn’t a regency series – a fact I should have perhaps known since the Girl Bachelor series was set in the late Victorian era. But I guess I saw the cover and assumed (and we all know what assume does…) Wedding of the Season takes place in the first year of the 20th century – the latest period I’ve ever read in a historical romance. I love it! Edwardian England was a lot of fun – cars, smoking, Egypt and mummies… I thoroughly enjoyed the setting and hope more authors follow Ms. Guhrke’s footsteps in showing us a little bit more than just Regency London.
Kitt, did you like the setting?
Kitt: I loved the setting! Like you, the cover threw me, and imagine my surprise when I ended up in 1901 for it is also my first time in this time period. It was a good surprise, though, because I loved how the woman had a little more freedom, the customs were looser and a little less stuffy. Oh! And they have automobiles! Rustic, archaic models, but exciting none-the-less!
Unlike you, however, this was my first time reading Ms. Guhrke. One of the things I noticed was the feeling that I missed out on some inside information, because while Abandoned at the Alter is a stand-alone series, there are cameos from earlier books. But that wasn’t all, I felt as though I could of been told more about our heroine, Trix, and hero, Will.
When we first come upon them in Wedding of the Season, Will and Beatrix have loved each other since childhood and were engaged to be married five years earlier, but Will was offered the chance to go to Egypt and live out his dream. Beatrix – even with her craving for excitement and adventure – refuses to follow him there. Two weeks before the wedding, Will leaves without her. Now, Will’s back looking for funding, Trix is getting married again and so starts the battle of stubbornness.
What I really wanted to do is strangle them both. Repeatedly. Over and over. The reasons they each didn’t do what the other wanted is talked about to death. It’s they’re only conversation for two thirds of the book! I wanted to scream at them to stop behaving like spoiled rich kids and try talking about it – compromise – like adults.
What did you think about Trix and Will?
Noa: I have to say, I agree… I’m a bit of a Beatrix myself – always wanting adventure but never actually getting around to jumping off the cliff, so I understood Beatrix. Especially when you add the fact that she grew up with a father who wanted to wrap her up in cotton and never let her go – a bit like Emma in Jane Austen. I get why she didn’t wish to up and leave with Will two weeks before the wedding, especially as she was a young girl who knew nothing of what she was heading for.
But six years later it just doesn’t make sense! I mean, she now drives and likes the speed and excitement it offers (at 30 miles an hour -wee!) she wants to go places and has no one holding her back.. Except for a pesky fiance who we will get back to… The love of her life is back in town and she does what any girl would do – NOT – she whines. A lot. Now, me being the kvetch queen, I can sense a good one when I see it – this was not it.
And speaking of poor attempts at a kvetch – Will, sweetie, hon, leaving a woman at almost-if-not-quite the alter to go look for dead guys? Yeah, you sort of need to let go of any attempts at self righteous anger because honestly, any reader who is a woman would stake you…and possibly mummify you for good measure. You didn’t leave for a year and come back, you didn’t write and say you still love her and want her so bad – you lived, dreamed, and most likely slept with – mummies. Then you come back six years later and think – ‘hey, I have no money, I totally left all the responsibilities I have towards the people whose land and livelihood I’m responsible for behind me and intend to do so once again, right after I get some sap to bankroll me that is, and look! There’s the woman I totally adore and left for six years, why wouldn’t she want to come with?’
So yes, they both had wonderful qualities too, Will’s passion for Trix and her ability to understand her, Trix’s loyalty, those were great. I also loved hearing about their childhood which seemed quite idyllic, and it was sweet to see Will try and get Trix to admit that she wants and needs more than what she has – but I felt it could have happened sooner.
What about you Kitt?
Kitt: I completely agree with you on all of it! Except, I myself am more like Trix’s cousin, Julia. She’s a spitfire and ready to jump off any cliff – just point her in the right direction and she’s ready! My favorite is the way she razzes Trix’s fiance, Aidan – hilarious! Such a stuffy, old fashioned man who needs to loosen his cravat!
Now, a good portion of this book – I could completely live without. But it wasn’t all bad for me, though, the last third of Wedding of the Season is actually really great. Things start moving, issues are finally starting to be taken care of and the ending is delivered quite nicely! I was really happy with where we left Will and Trix – even if I don’t agree with them.
So, what are your final thoughts?
Noa: Again, I agree! It was a fun start and a bit of a slow middle, but once the characters got over their respective snits, they were great and really good for each other – like you said – I may not agree with them or their choices but the romance was there, the story was fun and from the look of the characters and the set up – this series is off to a solid start, even if it did have its shaky points. As for Aidan and Julia? Well, that’s for Scandal of the Season‘s review! ;)
From their very first meeting, Julia knew that Aidan Carr, the oh-so-proper Duke of Trathen, had a bit of the devil in him, a devil who secretly yearned for what he could not have, a devil who harbored a desire for her. So when she needed to be caught in a compromising situation, Aidan was the answer to her prayers.
One tryst just wasn’t enough . . .
Aidan is supposed to be looking for a bride, yet his scandalous liaison with Julia is all he can think about. Hot, erotic memories of kissing her skin, falling into her bed, pulling her naked body on top of his own continue to torment and tempt him. What is it about this brazen seductress that he finds so hard to resist? And how can he stop himself from falling into her bed a second time?
Kitt: I want to put my gushing out there early and tell you that I really liked this book! The romance, the story, the drama! Oh and the hero! Aiden has now taken up ranks in my book boyfriend stable! He’s utterly delicious!
Noa: Gush away! I absolutely agree, and I’m surprised that I do! :D When I read Wedding of the Season I thought there was no way I would like Scandal of the Year simply because Aidan was so wooden in it. How can you have a hero who is so stuffy? But Ms. Guhrke really did it. She made Aidan a wonderful hero without changing his character. He didn’t become something very different in this book; he hasn’t all of a sudden shown true colors as a rake…Nope! He remained true to his character but because we now get to see it in depth – well, this one is a keeper.
Which reminds me – I keep asking myself whether reading Wedding of the Season is essential in order to read Scandal of the Year…I do believe they are standalone but in a series. I liked that Ms. Guhrke didn’t spend half the book detailing events in Wedding of the Season, but on the other hand, you do get the pertinent information to this story.
As for Julia – what a fabulous heroine. She had depth, intelligence, a three dimensional character who shined on every page. And I love how she calls Aidan “Petal”…. I’ve been calling everyone around me Petal for the last week.
What did you think of Julia and her story?
Kitt: Aiden was a surprise! Like you, I was extremely happy that Ms. Guhrke didn’t change his character, but instead, he stayed true to himself and we got to find out how truly charming and scandalous ;) he can be.
As to not get sidetracked with my gushing for Aiden, you should know I thought Julia was awesome as well! For what you said, but I also think Aiden described her best – “..a beautiful, strong, and terribly vulnerable woman, a woman who had suffered much and come out stronger on the other side. A woman who needed rest and tranquility and security more than even she understood.”
Noa: *gets teary eyed* beautiful!
Kitt: Again, Scandal of the Year starts off after the fact – we always seem to be coming in after the good parts have already happened, huh? It’s about a year and a half later and Julia has finally gotten rid of her tyrant husband, but the means to her marriages end has a high price, because Julia is now a social pariah and Aidan is slightly tarnished in the eyes of the ton, although he is a wealthy, single duke so he’s not given the cut direct. However, their mutual notoriety and mutual friends force them to be in contact with each other and ultimately gives them the time to discover and develop their romance.
Much like the first, this book does center a round past events, but unlike the first, I found that I didn’t mind it as much. I would have never guessed from Wedding of the Season that Aiden and Julia had a thirteen year old history with each other and living it out through past scenes was kind of fun. I can see, though, how this could not be for some. With us living in the past, the present of Aiden and Julia’s romance is somewhat rushed and their turn around happens really fast – like in twenty pages.
What did you think of their story?
Noa: I really loved it. I’m getting so tired of immature heroes and heroines and for me, this book was a refreshing change. Julia and Aidan were such a fun couple to ‘watch’, possibly because they are complete opposites without being caricatures of a ‘type’, but also because they weren’t trying to change each other – if Wedding of the Season was about two people trying to change each other and change their ways, Scandal of the Year was about learning to accept each other’s different foibles – not faults, foibles.
Like you, I was surprised at just how long Aidan and Julia knew each other but I didn’t mind the jumps from past to present, it didn’t ruin the flow of the book for me and I liked how the scenes from the past were connected to a relevant scene in the present. The fact that Julia was always a bit… unruly ;) and Aidan was always Mr. Proper (sorry, Lord Proper) made the romance between them more real – Aidan knew who she was before they grew up, and she knew what he was like from way back when – they didn’t fall in love with a fantasy of each other, they fell in love with the person standing before them.
As for Aidan’s scandalous side…if only Trix (Wedding of the Season) knew then what we know now… since honestly? The love scene in Scandal of the Year leaves the one in Wedding of the Season in the dust.
So, any thought on what next in this series?
Kitt: You always seem to have a way of taking my thoughts and putting them to words ;) Especially when I really like a book, I find it harder to express why, you know? So it’s no surprise that I once again agree with everything you just said. Like you, the fact that Aiden and Julia wanted each other for who they were and not for whom the other wants them to be made me like this book so much more. Love is never about changing the other and instead about loving the other for exactly the way they are.
After Scandal of the Year, I find myself excited for the next in Ms. Guhrke’s Abandoned at the Alter series. If I actually had my pick, I’d choose Julia and Trix’s cousin, Paul, to be the next story we read about. His feelings for his wife are conveyed quite loudly without a word being uttered. It’s obvious he’s been hurt terribly. I want to know what happened to make her move back home and if the marriage can be salvaged, but alas, since the series is about abandonment at the altar, and not marriage, we may not get to see his story for some time.
What about you?
Noa: Ah! but you see I have some insider information (ok, ok, I visited the website) and while I was SURE Paul would feature as the next installment’s hero – hey, it might be a “I’m going to get my wife back before she makes a huge mistake” theme – but no! It seems that Trouble at the Wedding (January 2012) will focus on a new set of people. So I wonder if Paul will ever get his happy ending or if we will just have to wait a little bit longer to get it.
I think we both agree that this book was fabulous :) Laura Lee Guhrke got it right – the hero, heroine, plot, setting…I for one can’t wait to read what else she has in store for us, now all that remains is to urge you dear readers to get into the lovin’ groove and let us know what you thought.
Abandoned at the Alter
Wedding of the Season-December 28, 2010
Scandal of the Year-February 1, 2011
Trouble at the Wedding-January 2012