Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Laura Lee Guhrke: The Marriage Bed

The Marriage Bed: A-
historical - Victorian
Lady Viola Hammond & Viscount John Hammond

The third book in an unofficial series, we have seen Lady Viola's estrangement from her husband in the books Guilty Pleasures and His Every Kiss.

On Ms. Guhrke's blog, she stated that she had received many inquiries about Viola and her story. When was she going to kill off John (the lowly scumbag!) so that Viola would be able to get her own story? Ms. Guhrke decided to rekindle the romance between the two, something this blogger feels she did successfully.

After eight and a half long years of separation, John is in desperate need of a legitimate heir. His cousin, Percy, whom had been responsible for producing an heir, suddenly passes and John realizes he must make amends with his wife.

One problem.
She absolutely hates him.

When they had married, she was a naive and innocent girl of seventeen who was madly in love with John. After all, he was charming, handsome, and paid the kind of attention to women that they desired. Unfortunately for Viola, John needed to marry someone with a large dowry, something Viola was in possession of with her older brother being a duke and all.

They have six months of happiness.
Then Viola realized John married her for her money, that he had never loved her, and he had even had a mistress until the day of their wedding.

She shuts him out, devastated, and John found comfort in the arms of other women.

By the start of the novel, John has had numerous (but not an excessive number) of mistresses. Viola has created a new life for herself. And society knew that Viola and John were to never be invited to the same social functions. Ever.

And so begins this surprisingly emotional novel.

Emotional for me because I completely felt for Viola. I have the greatest of admiration for any author who manages to make the main conflict of the book less than idiotic. (Like the heroes who are traumatized by a bee sting from their childhood, heroines who refuse to get with the hero because of, oh I don't know, something stupid). Had I been in Viola's situation, I would have been equally as appalled and devastated, but at the same time, I empathized for John.

I also felt this novel managed to capture a sense of realism that a romance is generally unable to do.

I did, however, have some disagreements with the way the author managed to end the book. Thirty pages left and she managed to throw some unnecessary stuff in that bungled the complete happiness I would've felt otherwise.

Bottom line: a worthwhile read, disregarding the last two (stupid) chapters.

PS: I'm totally sneaking into Borders to read Lisa Kleypas' new novel, Married by Morning. I refuse to buy it unless I know I like it. Yes, I'm cheap like that. That's how I roll. *dust shoulders off*


Happy Tuesday!
I hope your Memorial Day was safe and filled with fun.

Mine was awesome:

Pro: managed to get a tan
Con: only from mid-thigh to the knees. I'll extraordinarily tan (and hot!) thighs. Ooh yes, just call me sexy....

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