The second book in Laura Lee Guhrke’s “An American Heiress in London” historical romance series, How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days, focuses on a marriage of convenience under renovation. It was rather sweet in its way, but Guhrke continues to be a library loan author for me. I will likely read the rest of the series, but I will not purchase the books.
Disgraced and shamed by an involuntary sexual encounter, such is the way of things, Edie has wealth beyond the dreams of avarice and a desperate need not to return to New York where her entirely unfair humiliation will continue hourly and for the rest of her life. Spotting the eligible, handsome, and, this is the helpful bit, impecunious Stuart, Duke of Something, she quickly makes and acts on a plan. Gossip reports that Stuart wants to go on an extended expedition to Africa, so Edie offers him the deal of a lifetime within five minutes of first setting eyes on him: They will marry, she will be the duchess to his in absentia duke, and his financial woes will disappear, but he must never return. Stuart had rather liked the look of Edie before the bargain was presented, but/and he leaps at her offer. They will marry and live together for six weeks before he “abandons” her and his life in England. You think they are going to fall in love and he never leaves, right? Wrong. He bolts after four weeks.
Five years later…
Having almost died from wounds sustained in a lion attack – which you must admit is so much more manly than nearly succumbing to a parasitic infection – Stuart has reassessed his life and decided return to England’s green and pleasant land. He wants a quiet life with his wife and, hopefully, children. Edie is horrified by his return. She loves the niche she has carved for herself. She has friends, respect, and has taken excellent care of the duchy. She neither needs, nor wants, a husband, but she cannot get a divorce without grounds and needs Stuart to agree to a legal separation as an alternative. Edie and Stuart embark on a wager. If Edie chooses to kiss him within 10 days, they will continue their marriage. If she does not, he signs the legal separation contract. You think they are going to fall in love and he never leaves, right? Correct. Stuart is a sweet and funny man eager to see if that spark he felt for Edie during their contractually agreed upon romance is still there. She is a kind and sincere person who has learned to live with her wounds, if not heal them. The restlessness that made Stuart leave is apparently resolved and he will not pine for his days of adventure. I didn’t buy that for a second, but he and Edie agree to find their way together which is, after all, what one looks for in a romance novel.
The American Heiress in London series:
When the Marquess Met His Match – pleasant and serviceable
How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days – please see above
Catch a Falling Heiress – January 2015