Month of Love Two Doll Review: Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke
Author: Laura Lee Guhrke
Book: Trouble at the Wedding
Release: December 27th 2011
Series: Abandoned at the Altar #3
Reviewers: Kitt and Noa
Source: Personal Libraries
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository
Annabel is about to marry the perfect man . . .
The last thing Miss Annabel Wheaton desires is true love. She learned the hard way that love makes a woman foolish and leads only to heartache. That’s why she agreed to marry an earl who needs her money. He’s got a pedigree and a country estate, and he won’t ever break her heart. There’s only one problem . . .
Christian isn’t about to let her marry that pompous prig . . .
Christian Du Quesne, Duke of Scarborough, thinks the stubborn heiress is about to make the biggest mistake of her life, and he’s determined to stop her. Tempting beautiful women is Christian’s forte, after all. When her family offers him a nice sum of money to stop the wedding, he’s happy to accept.
Falling in love with Annabel was never supposed to be part of the bargain . . .
Kitt: Last Month of Love, Noa and I reviewed the first two novels in Laura Lee Guhrke’s Abandoned at the Alter series (which you can find here if you’re interested) and now we’re back to review the third, Trouble at the Wedding. This time around it should be a little more interesting though, because while I found the series latest release to be somewhat lacking, Noa really loved it.
Noa: It’s fun how the third in the series is the one we disagree on, we’ve usually agreed when it comes to romance novels. I really loved this book, I loved the heroine, the hero, and most of all, I loved how every single time I thought the book was headed for a tried and true romance cliché, Ms. Guhrke turned the tables and surprised me. But before we continue, maybe we should share the book’s premise…
Kitt: I’ve got this! Trouble at the Wedding takes place in 1904, half aboard the Atlantic and half in London. Annabel Wheaton is an American heiress looking for her way into Society through marriage. Normally, I don’t like social climber heroines, but Annabel is doing it for a slightly different and altogether altruistic reason which makes her ambitions less disingenuous in my eyes.
Noa: I’ll add that I don’t usually like the social climbers either, though I am a fan of the Buccaneers, I guess it bothers me less when you remember girls didn’t have much of a choice, and in this case, Annabel really does have some altruistic reasons.
Kitt: I remember, I remember and it is possible I’m still a teensy bit jaded by a resent read of another social climber, but that’s for another review, another time. Now let me finish! :p Where was I? Oh yes, when we meet Annabel, she’s already found the man who is going to make all her dreams happen in the Earl of Rumsford. This arrangement works both ways, because while Annabel needs a tittle, the Earl needs money. Not everyone is thrilled with this union, though. Annabel’s uncle Arthur has been doing his best to thwart the wedding to no avail, but then he gets this brilliant idea for the rakish Duke of Scarborough, Christian De Quesne, to talk Annabel out of a life he thinks she isn’t ready for.
I personally found this premise a little uninteresting compared to Ms. Guhrke’s previous releases in this series. The first part of Trouble at the Wedding goes smoothly and at a steady pace, but it’s too unmatched for my taste, because on one hand it felt like it took too long for the prevention of the wedding to happen, and then on the other, it felt as if Christian and Annabel aren’t given enough time. And while the lust is pretty high, it’s after the initial buildup that the romance just turned into another one of those “I can’t marry you because you don’t love me” romances that so frustrate me. After a while everything just feels a little too forced and then events happen because they’re needed to move the characters in the right position instead of a more natural transition. But more on that later, Noa, what did you think of the plot?
Noa: Ok, so it really seems like this one is going to be complete disagreement ;) I actually thought the premise was fun, starting out in NY, the book then moves to the high seas and then on to England – Christian never expected to be the Duke of Scarborough, but with his father and big brother dead, and the family pile (and the pile of debt that comes with it) now his, he has to make some changes in his life, but due to his own past, he refuses to take the easy way out by marrying money. He has his eye on a business venture and needs to find an “in” … which is how he gets mixed up in trying to talk Annabel out of her marriage. I thought the book moved at a steady pace, I do understand where you might have felt things were a bit drawn out, but I actually liked the way things unfolded on the romance front. But Kitt, I want to know, what did you think of our hero and heroine?
Kitt: Believe it or not I actually really liked our heroine. Annabel is a rags to riches Southern Belle. Yes, she has beauty, but she also has smarts, wit and a healthy amount of stubbornness that she utilizes to her advantage whether it is in business or matrimony. She’s also one of the few heroines that I’ve come across to have her own money – not her parents or her brothers, but hers. The problem is that now she no longer belongs back home in the back waters of Mississippi, but neither does she feel like she belongs to the high society she now finds herself in. The number one thing she longs for – and something I think we all can relate to – is acceptance.
As for Christian De Quesne (it’s Du Cane, in case you wondering), he’s a notorious rake and gambler struggling to adjust to the new role he never thought to find himself in as a second son. Also, he’s been married once before… to another American heiress. His story really bothers me and his actions do very little to comfort me. He married his first wife for her money and when she was at her lowest, he was off gambling with her money in France. I find it extremely hard to find sympathy for his plight of the dukedoms dwindling funds when he was doing the exact same thing his brother did. What did it matter that his brother was the duke at the time? And saying that his youth was to blame is a weak and inexcusable excuse – that’s what is you know, an excuse. But I’m sure you saw him differently, what did you think of the roguish Duke of Scarborough?
Noa: First of all, I agree about Annabel, she was a fun gutsy heroine who wasn’t afraid to go out and get what she wanted – loved how she got her vengeance on her so called sweetheart! Yet she has this vulnerability that makes us as readers empathize. She isn’t hard the way many gutsy heroines are written.
As for Christian, I get where you’re coming from but… I disagree :p he does not justify his actions with his first wife, if anything, they are the reason he is so adamantly against marrying for money. Was he perfect? No. But that would make him a bit boring. I loved how in Annabel he saw a way to make up for some of his mistakes, he sought to make her realize she didn’t have to change, that to me is awesome.
I have to get to my favorite part of the story, I mentioned it before: the lack of clichés. This is what really made this book a fun read for me. Every time I thought the book was headed in a “not that again” direction, Ms. Guhrke swerved and surprised me.
I just had so much fun with Annabel and Christian, I think what I really wanted was more time. More time of them together, more time for him to explain his motivations to Annabel… I didn’t want it to end.
Kitt: Ah, we are in agreement, but our views of the situation are different. I, too, recognized his motives behind his not wanting to marry, not only to Annabel, but ever again regardless of wealth. The problem was that I didn’t feel Christians love towards Annabel, but instead his determination to do the right thing felt more to me like atonement for his first wives suicide. At first, yes, I could see him unknowingly falling for Annabel, but somewhere around the second half, it changed or he changed and instead, it felt more like he was trying to convince himself into love to make the new situation he found himself in easier.
I just wanted, and again like you, more – more time of them together, more time for him to explain his motives to Annabel, and more time for him to fall in love. So, while I didn’t enjoy this books story as much as the first two, I didn’t completely hate it either. Trouble at the Wedding is one I would recommend those who are interested to find out and decide for themselves.
Noa: I think this book ties for me with the second book in the Abandoned at the Alter series – Scandal of the Year. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next installment in the series…wherever it takes us.
So, disagreement in the Dollhouse – but what did you think? Let us know in the comments!
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