Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke

Click here to buy this book on Amazon

This is not the first time that Guhrke has written about an American heiress and an English peer and it's interesting to see how she is exploring the dynamic of these two cultures meeting and marrying at such an interesting period in history.

The talking point is that these alliances really were a commercial exchange: American money for an English title -- in very blunt terms, one is a social climber and the other a fortune hunter. The challenge, then, for a writer, is to convince us that love is possible between these characters.

This is the same challenge Belinda Featherstone is facing as she assists her fellow Americans in finding matches for their daughters in London. Belinda knows first-hand how difficult and soul-destroying these matches can be when done badly and she strives hard to make sure her clients are all happy in their chosen arrangements.

She's never failed a client before but it seems there is a first time for everything: an English lord has come to ask her assistance in finding him a wife. Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge, never imagined he would marry, let alone hire a matchmaker to find him a wife -- but circumstances have forced Nicholas into this very desperate action: his estranged father, he Duke of Landsdowne, has taken control of the trust from his mother and, thereby, cutting off his income.

Belinda hates Nicholas at first sight. He was a friend of her late husband and now shares the same apartments with her late husband's brother, Jack. She believes that they are all birds of the same feather and refuses to subject her fellow Americans to such a ne'er-do-well.

Nicholas, on the other hand, is attracted to Belinda at first sight and cannot understand her enmity. Knowing that Belinda would not help him, Nicholas sets off to figure out his situation by himself -- something that he has had to do all his life anyway.

Laura Lee Guhrke writes the opposites-attract theme so well: Nicholas is carefree and unconcerned, and Belinda is very no-nonsense and practical. From their first meeting, one can feel the romantic tension between Nicholas and Belinda. Their exchanges draw you in: as two very different philosophies battle it out. What I loved about Nicholas and Belinda is that this wasn't a case of "reforming the rake" only, but also a story of "enlightening the (dragon) lady".

"You can make up your mind while we dance. Speaking of which," he added as she lifted one of his gloved hands in hers and slapped the other to her waist, "do you lead when you waltz, too, or merely during the preliminaries?"

"That depends," she countered sweetly. "Can I waltz you straight to hell?"

"I'd adore it, since it's a place I've wished you to once or twice during the past two days But if that happens," he added with an apologetic look, "you'll have to spend eternity with me."

She shuddered visibly. "Perish the thought."
- Chapter 6

Between Nicholas and Belinda, I liked the hero more. I thought he had a more interesting story to tell: a controlling father, a life of rebelling against what was expected of him, a history of being disillusioned by the people around him, etc. Whereas, Belinda was on the verge of being identified solely by her bitterness -- and it was strange that, only now, only with Nicholas, does this side of Belinda come out. In that sense, it can be read that Nicholas is different from all the other gentlemen that Belinda has encountered.

I loved how they affected each other without even trying: a word, a look, a touch, the thinning of the lip in displeasure, the quirking of the mouth in amusement -- it was just breathtaking to see how profoundly love can affect people -- and they tried so hard to fight off the attraction because Nicholas needed money and Belinda didn't have it.

"Don't!" she cried, feeling rather vulnerable herself. She wretched free and stepped back, out of his reach, shoring up her defenses. "Don't make me like you. Don't make me want you. Don't charm me or tempt or or try to beguile me or make advances towards me. There's no future in any of it. Not for you, and certainly not for me."

"I know that." He raked a hand through his hair. "God, don't you think I know that?"
- Chapter 9

Our hero and heroine must overcome the financial hurdle and, beyond that, they must also deal with their own personal prejudices (Belinda, especially). It's a highly emotional journey for them -- and whether they reap the ultimate reward is for you to read about, dear readers. ^_^

Bottom line: I'm a big fan of Laura Lee Guhrke. Published almost two years after Trouble at the Wedding, When the Marquess Met His Match was definitely worth the wait.

To find out more about Laura Lee Guhrke and her books, click below:


  1. Love Laura’s books and am certainly looking forward to reading this one!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...