Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Laura Lee Guhrke: The Wicked Ways of a Duke

The Wicked Ways of a Duke: B

Prudence Bosworth & Rhys de Winter, Duke of St. Cyres
Sequel to And Then He Kissed Her

Prudence is a poor seamstress, working hard to earn her living. She sees Rhys, is attracted to his good looks and starts to idolize him when she witnesses him acting “honorable” and “gentlemanly.” She doesn’t listen to society’s rumors of Rhys actually being a rake…

Things take a turn for the better and overnight, Prudence becomes an heiress – her father, the cad who ran off when she was a child, had actually gone to America and was the founder of the famous Abernathy department stores. She’s rich – in that her annual allowance is a million pounds per year! (Think back to when prices were a lot cheaper PLUS the fact that the current conversion rate is almost two dollars to the pound! I imagine, in today’s terms, she’d be making well over 10 million a year…)

Rhys, the Duke of St. Cyres, is in a pitiful state. He’s beyond poor. He’s dirt poor. However, it is a solution that can be quickly remedied: marry wealthy. To his wonderful surprise, the cute seamstress that caught his eye has grown into an overnight sensation.

He goes about manipulating and playing Prudence like a well-tuned piano and convinces her to marry him. Rhys is beyond surprised when he feels himself starting to fall in love with Prudence.

There is a catch to Prudence’s inheritance: she must marry within a year, with her prospective fiancĂ© approved by the Board of Male Members handling her finances. The entire ton is aware of these rules and when Prudence announces her decision to marry Rhys, people warn her about his rakish ways.

But, as expected, the truth comes out. Prudence feels betrayed and she calls off the wedding. She stands up to her scumbagish cousins – the ones who ignored her for years, making her work long hours to survive and ones that magically reappeared after finding out she was rich. She chooses to donate her inheritance to charity.

I won’t go into too much detail but magically, everything gets solved and everyone is happy in the end. (Sorry, have I said too much?)

The firs half of the book is an absolute bore. I put it down and almost didn’t pick it back up; I only finished it because it was the book selection for my book club. The second half of the book redeems the lackluster first half and the ending is nice. Enjoyable read…except for the fact that the British sure liked to name females after strange character traits: this is like the seventh Prudence I’ve read about. (And there apparently were a million girls named Patience, Faith, Hope, Grace, and all those nice things that girls have deep inside them…)

I liked that Guhrke really went out of way to make Rhys a really huge asshole. But we all know that he loves her (deep down) and his actions at the end of the book are wonderful. A bit cheesy, but wonderful.

Worth reading for fun.

A word of caution! The cover art for this book is absolutely hideous. I want to rip it off and shred it into tiny pieces.

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