Saturday, April 26, 2014

Early Review of How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke

    Title: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days: An American Heiress in London
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Series: American Heiress in London
    Format: Paperback; 384 pages
    Publisher: Avon (April 29, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062118196
    ISBN-13: 978-0062118196
    Author's Website:
    Notes: Received and eARC loan from the publisher.

    Once upon a time a young heiress made a deal with a Duke. She would pay off his substantial debt, manage his estates, support both him and his sponging relatives in the lifestyle they desired, and allow him to lead the life he longed to in Africa. In exchange, he'd marry her and, this is the most important thing of all, never ever return home. For five years the young Duchess lived the life of her choosing with respect and no one to account to but herself. Then one day while attempting to help her younger sister board a train headed to a finishing the most unbelievable thing happened--her husband returned home.

Once upon a time a young Duke agreed to marry an heiress most would overlook as plain, but to him she was anything but. He found her interesting and intriguing and was enchanted by her forthrightness. He agreed to her marriage terms thinking he could change her mind. After one month of a celibate marriage to a wife he'd fallen in love with, he saw the error in his logic and let the wanderlust that had besieged him his whole life have its way and left for the planes of Africa. Five years later, however, having stared death (in the shape of a lioness) straight in the eye, he felt the call to go home. As happens with most people who stare down death and survive, his priorities realigned and his longing for the wife he'd left behind and the desire for children whom could carry on his legacy called to him. He was determined to win his wife's love.

In a desperate attempt to save his marriage, the Duke proposed a challenge--if he can seduce his wife into giving him a kiss within ten day she'll give their marriage a chance otherwise he'll lose her forever.


This book has some very sweet and romantic moments, but it's submerged in the serious subject matter of a woman attempting to deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault. Physically she's okay, but mentally the night of her attack lives on in her memories years after it happened. For her, physical contact with any man is difficult as it brings back the memories and the fear of that terrible night. Luckily for Edie, her husband is an understanding, caring, patient and determined individual who once he's set his mind on something, doesn't tend to sway from it. He's determined to get past the barriers she's erected over the years and help her deal with her fears. 

While I liked the story, at times the methods Stuart utilizes to overcome Edie's fears felt a bit textbookish. I can only assume Ms. Guhrke did a lot research on the subject and incorporated what she found into her story. This isn't a bad thing, but to me it felt a touch like Stuart had been coached rather than naturally making things up as he went and seeing what worked. I would have liked to see him fumble a bit more about how to handle Edie. Perhaps what truly bothered me was that I felt Edie needed to be counselled, but I doubt such a thing existed at the time.    

What I liked about Stuart is that he was willing to take things slow with Edie. I found it odd that no mention of correspondence between the two was ever mentioned during the five years of separation. Edie, apparently, had been determined to cut all ties with her husband once the 'I do's had been said. Stuart was basically trying to build a relationship on a very weak, if not crumbling, foundation. I found his attempts to build a relationship out of virtually nothing admirable. The fact he was still determined to make a go of the marriage after finding out what happened to Edie made me like him even more.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. I wish we had witnessed more personal bonding between Edie and Stuart given they had only ten days to bond. I admired Stuart for not thinking less of his wife when he found out what happened to her. It reminded me a little of the movie Braveheart where instead of blaming his wife for being raped, William Wallace--played by Mel Gibson, recognizes his wife was not at fault. She'd done nothing to deserve what happened to her and had done nothing to encourage it. She was victimized. An idea that would probably not be shared by many of the men who lived at the time. Additionally, there are some swoon worthy declarations at the end that made me smile. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a FAN rating - the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.

Order of the An American Heiress in London series:

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