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How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Today I have one of three books in this tour: be sure to check the other tour stops to see what the other titles are (here later this week) and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of Three Gift Packs from Avon Romance including a Piece of Custom Jewelry and Copies of Release from All Three Authors in this tour!

Book Review: 

Prosperity for the fortunate few in America brought a new desire: the quest for the creation of, if not literally, a titled class for the privileged.  From the Vanderbuilts and Astors down to the lesser-known daughters of industrialists, marrying well became code for setting your sights on a man with a title and grand house in England.  These Gilded Age heiresses were commodities in the British marriage mills: their dowries and financial contributions to the estates far outweighed the slight tarnish of their unfamiliarity with how things are done, from that proper and stuffy British noble perspective.

The second book in Guhrke’s American Heiress in London series presents us with yet another potential scenario for a woman to search abroad for a husband.  Edie has a reputation that is irretrievably tarnished in society, she is not pure.  Sadly,, Edie was raped and her father, wanting to see her wed and happy, decides a search across the pond for a suitably needy titled man will be her salvation.

For her part, Edie wants little to do with men, and nothing at all to do with love. She is battered and bruised, and her experiences have her believing that men are particularly dangerous. She would be content to have a marriage that would keep her father from his continued interference, to a man that would be willing to allow her to live her own life.

Stuart, Duke of Margrave is an attractive prospect: handsome, impoverished, and seems completely amenable to her conditions for marriage.  In return for the title of Duchess, her dowry will provide for his estate and family, and provide him an income to travel abroad. This marriage of convenience is her perfect solution, and Stuart doesn’t see a downside for his life either.

But, five years have passed: he has decided to return to England and deal with the wife that has only become more intriguing over his years away.  Edie, for her part, has barely given her husband a thought: using the title as her shield and lance to enter society and establish her own life and interests, she has grown more confident and secure in her own abilities. You can’t help but admire her tenacity in moving forward even as she is ignoring the one thing that would truly let her bury her past trauma, as much as one could.

With Stuart’s return, Edie is faced with several unsettling thoughts, not the least of which is the attractive man in front of her, and his proposition is shocking and thrilling all at once. But her fear, both from her trauma and the upheaval that Stuart could cause her life and heart are almost more than she can face.

Ten days doesn’t seem like a long time to realize that your heart is already attached to the man you barely know, nor for him to realize that the enchanting means to an end fits every possible requirement that he could have for a mate.  Guhrke manages to finesse their developing relationship and incorporate a real sense of the concerns that Edie would have after her earlier trauma, without overreaching for unnecessary emotional angst or perseveration.  Readers can appreciate the careful pacing that Stuart employs to woo Edie and make her his, solidly and completely.  While not a light read, the story is enchanting and engrossing, keeping the reader ready for the happy ending.

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Title: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days
Author: Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: An American Heiress In London #2
Also in this series: No Mistress of Mine
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 59 minutes
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime

They had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Excerpt:

The image of her moonlit face, as luminous and smooth as alabaster, flashed across his mind, as vivid now as it had been that fateful night at Hanford House—so vivid, in fact, that despite his many efforts over the years not to think of her, he’d failed more often than he’d succeeded. It had been her image that invaded his dreams during his delirium-filled fever, not the dangerous events that had nearly killed him. Even now, he could hear her voice clearly, so resolute and uncompromising.  That you never, ever come back.  Well, as he’d told her then, never was a long time. Circumstances changed, and plans went awry. His certainly had. He turned on the carriage seat, grimacing as he shifted his weight onto one hip and stretched out his leg. The sea voyage from Mombasa to Constantinople hadn’t been too bad, even without Jones. He felt another grimace of pain that had nothing to do with his leg, and he put his valet out of his mind. Jones was gone, and there was nothing he could do about that. He focused on the pain in his leg instead. That was easier to bear. On the ship, he’d been able to move about freely, but trains and carriages were a different matter. The muscles of his thigh had knotted up before he’d even reached Rome, and by now they were so constricted that he felt his right leg must surely be at least an inch shorter than his left.

“What happened to your leg?”

Stuart glanced at the girl seated opposite him. “Do you always ask impertinent questions?”

That made her grin. “All the time. It drives Mrs. Simmons mad.”

“I don’t doubt it. But to answer your question, I was mauled by a lioness.”

Her brown eyes went wide. “Really? How exciting.”

Stuart settled back in the corner of his seat, giving her a wry look. He unknotted his tie and removed his collar stud, something he’d been longing to do ever since he’d put them on. Nothing like a stiff, tight collar to remind a man of all that was wrong with civilization.

 

“It wasn’t the least bit exciting, my dear girl,” he assured Joanna as he dropped his stud into his pocket and pulled apart his collar. “I almost died.”

 

Giveaway:

 

About Laura Lee Guhrke

Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave.

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