And Then He Kissed Her

Breathless

The Charade

His Every Kiss

The Marriage Bed

Not So Innocent

Secret Desires of a Gentleman

The Wicked Ways of a Duke

 
Wedding of the Season
by Laura Lee Guhrke
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-006-196315-5
**
Here is one of those books that I wanted to like, I really did. Set at the start of the 20th century, the author had the opportunity to give the heroine some fun traits and scenes. In fact, the tale starts out with her driving her Daimler and having a blast. But the story slowly dissolves into both predictability and, at times, silliness, causing frustration with the heroine and the hero.

Lady Beatrix Danbury was left at the altar six years ago when the Duke of Sutherland decided to leave England for Egypt. He was an Egyptologist and determined to dig for King Tut’s tomb. Even though as childhood friends Trix had followed William Mallory everywhere and had often engaged in forbidden adventures, she could not bring herself to leave everything and go to Egypt.

So two weeks before their wedding, Will left and Trix was left to pick up the pieces. Her protective father was thrilled that she stayed and she did his bidding until his death, just over a year ago. At that time, Trix went to visit her cousin Julia, who introduced her to automobiles, the can-can and a few other delicious activities. All showed brass, but none were totally scandalous. Trix met another duke, Aidan and they recently became engaged. While Trix didn’t feel the passion she had always felt for Will, she was determined to forget Will and settle for respect and comfort from Aidan.

Will has never forgotten Trix even though he tried. He had heard that she was engaged again, and had no real hope of anything, but in his subconscious he was hoping she still loved him. He returns to England in order to secure more funding. He had just about exhausted his own money and the aristocracy was slowing learning that the estates they held did not provide enough money for their lifestyles. He really did not any hope of earning more so he is looking for a sponsor.

The story opens as he returns to visit his old friend Paul, who happens to be Beatrix’s cousin. So Beatrix and Will meet and the predictable argument ensues. Then they all decide to go to a place on the coast where they used to spend every summer – Will going to follow the money for his expedition. The obvious happens again with Will and Beatrix fighting their attraction. When Aidan and Beatrix end their engagement (partly due to that attraction), Will decides to woo Beatrix and get her to come to Egypt with him this time.

Beatrix alternates between a prude, a whiner and a fluffy headed bimbo who cannot make up her own mind. Will describes her as someone who wants to do things but is too afraid. That pretty much sums up her character. The sad thing is she spends a great deal of time lamenting her character. Will, on the other hand, constantly puts up with the criticism of his abandoning her and being totally irresponsible. It doesn’t seem to matter that he has managed an expedition successfully for six years – his reputation is of someone who is carefree, always seeking adventure and never being serious. I felt at times, like I was reading a story of people who never got over how they were in high school. Juvenile is one way to describe the actions of these two throughout the story.

As excited as I was about the setting, the author never really explored it, other than allowing the women to go swimming and periodically throwing in a car ride. Aidan was an intriguing character who was never developed. I assume that is so the reader would pick Will over Aidan. And Julia seemed thrown in as a possible antagonist with Aidan, but that never developed – perhaps because Guhrke’s next book is about this pair.

Wedding of the Season is a story that never has a wedding and beyond that is vastly disappointing in both reality and as a romance. At almost 400 pages, it is way too long and did not keep my interest. I would steer clear of it.

--Shirley Lyons


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