- Avon Books
- Release Date
- January 2011
- Book 1 of Abandoned at the Altar
Abandoned at the altar . . .
Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She'd loved him forever and she'd never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter . . . and left two weeks before their wedding.
Return of the duke . . .
Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she's about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable . . . the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?
Jun 12, 2011 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
137 people found the following review helpful
WEDDING OF THE SEASON is the first book in Laura Lee Guhrke's ‘Abandoned at the Altar' series and is a charming ‘second chance on love' story.
It was supposed to be the wedding of the season but eight days before the nuptials, the groom, William (Will) Mallory, the Marquess of Richfield, chose to accompany the renowned archaeologist, Sir Edmund Tavistock, to Egypt rather than marry his childhood sweetheart, Lady Beatrix (Trix) Danbury.
Heartbroken, Trix hopes he will change his mind and come back, but when Will does not even return for his father's funeral or to take up his responsibilities as the new Duke of Sunderland, she realises that she needs to forget him and move on with her life. When the story opens, six years have passed since Will left and Trix is now engaged to the dependable Aidan Carr, Duke of Trathen. But her world is about to be turned upside down because Will has returned!
Nominally, he has returned to try to secure additional funding to continue his archaeological dig to locate King Tutankhamen's tomb. However, when Will sees Trix again, all the feelings for her, which he has tried so hard to forget, come flooding back. He realises he still loves her and will do everything in his power to win her back. But it is not going to be easy. He broke Trix's heart once and will have to regain, not only her love, but her trust as well. Then there's the small obstacle of her current fiancé. Can Will and Trix take a second chance on love?
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book is the unusual early Edwardian setting. This is a time of far-reaching social and economic changes when the role of women in society is evolving and the balance of power is moving away from the landed aristocracy to the nouveau riche industrialists. Ms Guhrke succeeds in capturing this changing world so well in this book. What I also find appealing is that most of the story takes place in the picturesque village of Babbacombe in South Devon, rather than the hurly-burly of London.
Six years ago, the main obstacle to Trix and Will's happiness was their conflicting dreams. Will wanted adventure and travel and not the life he was born to:
"Yes, there was my whole life laid out before me before I was even out of short pants. Can you blame me when a life I'd only dreamed of opened up?"
Whereas Trix wanted security and stability:
"I want marriage and a home of my own. That precious excavation site of yours didn't even include a house. I wanted children. Just where was I supposed to have them? In a tent?"
Neither was willing to compromise on their dreams, and when they meet again, this conflict is still the main issue. How they resolve it forms the main theme of the book.
At first, Will's determination to go to Egypt seems selfish and irresponsible, but I came to realise that he is very astute because he realises the British aristocracy is in decline and he needs to either earn money or marry into money to keep his estate solvent. So he invests his inheritance in finding Tutankhamen's tomb because success will bring a secured income for life, which is preferable to leading a life of ‘pointless duties and silly social rituals.' Even though it is risky, I quite admire his forward thinking.
He is honest in admitting that he has never stopped loving Trix and in his determination to win her back – "I want to win you back. I want you in my arms, in my bed, in my life." Even if he doesn't succeed this time, he will keep coming back in the hope of changing her mind.
I believe Trix's reluctance to venture beyond the realm of duty and tradition can be laid squarely at her father's door. We learn that her mother ran away to Paris when Trix was very young, and from that time, her father became overprotective of her because he wanted to ensure she never leave him. After her father's death, she does start to show a little more independence but only after encouragement from her scandalous cousin, Julia, Baroness Yardley.
I can certainly understand her determination not to let Will back into her life. After all he broke her heart and left her with only shattered dreams. Trix sees in her new fiancé, Aidan, someone who is the total opposite of Will, dependable and considerate and able to provide her with the kind of stable life she wants. It may be a passionless marriage, but Trix is more than willing to accept a marriage based on affection, mutual respect and shared aspirations for their future.
I love the whole idea of Will persuading Trix to go on a series of adventures with him, just as they did when they were children, in order to regain her trust. These childhood reminiscences really provide a wonderful background to the story and add depth to the characters. My favourite is the scene on Smuggler's Island. The adventures also serve to heighten the sexual tension between Trix and Will, but for me one of the best scenes is where Will suddenly turns up at Pixy Cove, where Trix is drawing, and starts to strip to go bathing and Trix can't stop staring at his body!
His shoulders and chest were wide, tanned by the hot Egyptian sun and shaped by years of hard excavation into a bronze wall of muscle and sinew. His chest tapered down to an absolutely flat stomach, and his trousers were slung low on his lean hips, revealing the deep indent of his navel and the shadowy hint of dark hair below it. Her gaze dropped another notch, she gave a choked sound and hastily forced her gaze back up, but only managed to get as far as the flat brown disks of his nipples.
Although I know there are varying opinions about the ending, it really worked for me. Of course, the happy-ever-after is never in any doubt but I loved the wonderful will they/won't they moment and finally closed the book with a satisfied sigh.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Scandal Of The Year, because it pairs Aidan and Trix's cousin, Julia. Their dislike for each other is very obvious in WEDDING OF THE SEASON and so I will be very intrigued to read their story!
If you are looking for a delightful love story with a more unusual setting, then I am sure you will enjoy WEDDING OF THE SEASON.
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