Tag Archives: Laura Lee Guhrke

So You Want to Read a (Historical, Contemporary, New Adult, Paranormal) Romance …

Alternatively: The Worst Romance Novels I Have Ever Read

This recommendations list is gleaned from at least 80 authors and over 500 books.

Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started

Looking for something specific? Here’s a list of authors I’ve read enough to see thematic consistencies and it’s hard to go wrong with these writers:

Tessa Dare – FUN, bring your willing suspension of disbelief, on double-secret probation right now
Laura Florand – contemporary romances set in France, great intensity
Carla Kelly – lovely Regency romances, often military-themed
Lisa Kleypas  – the gold standard, also writes contemporaries
Julie Anne Long – extremely clever and funny
Courtney Milan – The very best currently publishing, one for the pantheon.
Julia Quinn – An excellent place to launch your reading. Start with The Bridgertons.

I lovehate Jennifer Ashley’s sincere romance mired in tortured heroes and overwrought plotting.

This list is an edited version of my Complete Reading List by Author. Reviewed books are linked.

Mallory, a frequent commenter, asked me to make a personal Top 5 list. I tried. I couldn’t do it.

CLASSICS

  1. Balogh, Mary Slightly Dangerous – historical
  2. Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date  – new adult novella
  3. Chase, Loretta Lord of Scoundrelshistorical
  4. Gabaldon, Diana Outlanderhistorical
  5. Heyer, Georgette Venetia (Dameral/Venetia) – historical
  6. Jenkins, Beverly Indigo  – historical
  7. Kinsale, Laura Flowers from the Storm old school, historical
  8. Kleypas, Lisa Dreaming of Youhistorical
  9. Kleypas, Lisa The Devil in Winter  – historical
  10. Long, Julie Anne What I Did for a Duke – historical
  11. Milan, Courtney A Kiss for Midwinter – historical novella
  12. Milan, Courtney The Suffragette Scandal  – historical
  13. Montgomery, L.M. The Blue Castle – historical now, but not when published
  14. Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton  Bridgerton Book 4 – historical
  15. Thorne, Sally The Hating Game – contemporary

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And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke

Laura Lee Guhrke is usually a fallback author for me, with Lorraine Heath and Eloisa James, but All About Romance publishes an annual list of their readership’s top romances of all time and I had seen And Then He Kissed Her on it a few years ago, so this historical romance had been on my personal wish list for a while. Recently, it came up on Amazon for $1.99 and I snapped it up immediately. It did not disappoint.

Emmaline Dove (GREAT name) has been the personal secretary to handsome, divorced Harry the Earl for five years. Subsuming herself to her role, she is everything he needs her to be and he, of course,  takes her for granted. Having written and submitted five etiquette books to him, which he always refuses to publish, Emma’s final straw comes when she realises that Harry has never actually read any of her books before rejecting them. She quits. He panics. She gets a job writing etiquette and household advice (read: late Victorian Martha Stewart) working for a competitor. He buys the competitor’s newspaper. They work together. Harry finally gets to know the real Emma, not the perfect secretary version she portrayed for her job. They fall in love and each is freed from their misconceptions about themselves and their lives. Lovely.

When I started And Then He Kissed Her, I feared it would be a Victorian office romance, but it avoided that pitfall and was a great genre read. Harry and Emma had strong chemistry and the story was by turns sweet, funny, and sexy. There were some hodge-podgey historical elements that irked me a bit, such as Harry admonishing Emma to be her own person and do what she wants in life to which one of the voices in my head replied, “Easy for you to say rich, male, aristocratic person who can do whatever the hell you want!”, but my quibbles were not any great detriment to the story. It was an enjoyable read and one I suspect I will revisit. Plus, as I had hoped, the title of the book does occur in the text and it was wonderfully timed.

Laura Lee Guhrke reviews: When the Marquess Met His Match and How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

The American Heiress in London Series: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

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

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

The American Heiress in London Series: When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke

I have read one Laura Lee Guhrke historical romance already, Scandal of the Year, and while it had some nice moments, I did not rush out to track down her catalogue. Guhrke does have a book on All About Romance’s Top 100 list, And Then He Kissed Her, that I keep meaning to read, but for now, I’m reviewing the book they happened to have at my library.

When the Marquess Met His Match is the first book in Guhrke’s new “An American Heiress in London” series. The heroine, Lady Belinda Featherstone, came to England with her ambitious parents and a fortune. In short order, she was married, alternately ignored and insulted by her spouse, beggared, and, mercifully, widowed. She has set herself up as a matchmaker for rich American women and English men looking for a generously dowered spouse. Belinda prides herself finding suitable partners for her clients and sincerely tries to ensure their matches will be more successful than hers.

Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge, is a classic romance rake: handsome, spoiled, and charming. He’s also beset by a difficult father. Cut off without a farthing until he marries according to the Duke’s wishes, he hires Belinda to find him a rich wife who can a. support him and b. tick his father off as much as possible. She is, of course, instantly attracted to him, but leery of his mercenary goals and his seeming resemblance to her twerp of a husband. Belinda agrees to work for Nicholas and he goes to work on her. Thrown constantly together through their efforts, Belinda decides to ignore her attraction and tells Nicholas that he needs to grow the hell up. Nicholas takes the scolding to heart and moves his life in a productive direction. They get married. The end.

The book was perfectly satisfactory, passing the time pleasantly enough, but not particularly involving. Guhrke described their attraction well, but beyond the physical appeal and some biographical details, there wasn’t a lot of time devoted to the falling in love portion of the story. Guhrke does gets my appreciation for not setting her books in the Regency, and for the evocative detail of the costumes, in particular the love scene including the time-consuming and exhaustive removal of a woman’s complete ensemble, buttons, bows, ribbons, hooks, and all.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch The Buccaneers as it has similar themes and is a costume bustlegasm.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.