Among The Muses's Reviews > Wedding of the Season

Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke
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Jan 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: early-1900s, historical-romance, netgalley, recommend, very-well-written

Wedding of the Season is the first book of the Abandoned at the Altar series which captures the time period on the cusp of female independence. The year is 1904 in Britain during a time where new-world adventures such as exploring the lost tombs of Egypt were taking place, but still during the time where duties to titles defined who you were. This is a story where the turn of the twentieth-century brought upon new adventures that some wanted nothing to do with, while others would be willing to risk it all to have.

Lady Beatrix (Trix) Danbury is on her way to being married to the man of her dreams. A childhood friend who she's always had a thing for, a Duke who will provide her with the stability for her and their future children, and someone who she can find adventure with. The only thing is, William Mallory, the Duke of Sunderland, has been given a chance of a lifetime. An opportunity to participate in an archeological dig to find King Tut's tomb. Much to her utter horror, William will not turn down this adventure he's always wanted, even if it means giving up his love, Trix. Exploring Egypt is one adventure Trix does want to undertake. She craves societal acceptance and standing, and financial and physical stability for her future. Unfortunately, she doesn't get what she wants. The wedding is called off.

For five years Trix waited, hoped, and dreamed of Will coming back for her, telling her he was wrong and only wanted to be with her, but sadly that never happens. When her eccentric cousin, Julia, whisks her away to Cornwall for some girl fun, she meets Duke Trathen, a handsome, stable, and likable gentleman that offers her an opportunity to have everything that Will would never give her. Giving in to her need for stability, she gives up her quest for love and accepts his proposal and sets out to live the contended future she's always wanted.

But, fate has other plans for Trix and Will. Will has returned only a couple of months before her wedding to settle other personal matters. When he accidentally runs in to Trix, he realizes that old flames are hard to fully extinguish. And as much as Trix loathes to admit it, she too, feels that old fire slowly taking her over. It's a battle of wills, life, and love that takes them both on a new adventure that neither one of them ever saw coming!


Characters: I absolutely loved the characters in this story -- whether they be primary or secondary, each was uniquely created to fulfill a role within the story.

The protagonists

Lady Beatrix Danbury was a strong, determined, beautiful young woman who lived under the close watch of her overbearing father. This fact is what shapes Trix into the type of person she became, contributing to both her strengths and flaws, and what ultimately caused her to turn down her adventure with Will. While the reader doesn't experience it, you know that Trix has truly grown up over the five years after she and Will broke off the wedding, primarily due to the death of her father and the help and encouragement of her wild cousin, Julia. She's become more independent, determined, and confident in her needs and wants for her future.

"It was time, she realized -- long past time -- to get her bearings. It was time to make her own life, not a life that depended upon a man, or on society's expectations, or on an antiquated girlhood dream. No, it was time to decide what she truly wanted for herself and work to make it happen. That was really her only choice now."


While she doesn't feel the love and passion she once had with Will with her new fiance Trathen, she knows it will provide her the future she's always dreamed of. You can't help but like her personality and feel sorry for her past and present. When Will tries to reclaim his place in her heart (which he's always had no matter what), Trix holds her ground and doesn't make it easy for him. She makes him prove his dedication to her and her heart.


While Trix is the picture of stability and social obligations and traditions, Will is her opposite. Will's desire to pursue his dreams rather than social obligations leaves him slightly jilted by society and, obviously, deeply hurts his longtime childhood friend and fiance, Trix. While I'll admit that at times Will's nonchalant, carefree personality seemed a little much for pairing with Trix, it was interesting to watch their relationship work for one another.


Many people may be pressed to feel as though Will didn't deserve to step back in to Trix's life and fight for her love again, but I have to disagree. It is in times like these that I find true romance. I'm a firm believer in what is meant to be will be. I also selfishly understand the need to pursue one's dreams despite what society may have already pre-determined for you. Despite Will's desire to not drop his career in archeology, Will also knows he has deeply hurt Trix and he makes it very well known that he is going to fight for Trix and prove that he can make both of their desires mesh together. Again, I find this ideally romantic in the sense that it's about making their future working for them both, not just one sided.

"He glanced at the drawing room windows again, then unfolded his arms and leaned closer to her. 'I want you. I want you as much as I ever did. I've spent six years lying to myself about it, and I just can't find the will to lie anymore. Now I've go a second chance with you --'


'You do not have a second chance!'

'And I'm taking it,' he went on as if she hadn't spoken. 'I want to win you back. I want you in my arms, in my bed, in my life.'


Heat was flooding her face and spreading through her body as he spoke. Her lips tingled under his heated gaze, and without thinking, she licked them nervously.

His gaze lowered to her mouth, and for a heart-stopping second, she thought he was going to kiss her, right there in full view of whoever might be looking through the doorway, but he didn't, and when he straightened away from her, she didn't know if she was relieved or disappointed."


An aspect that I really enjoyed that was a big foundation for the growth and relationship development-- both in friendship and intimate companionship -- was that everything was tied to a sense of adventure. I think most everyone can relate that growing up we all make 'adventures' some more dangerous and boundary pushing then others. The whole archeology thing with Will was the ultimate adventure that Trix wasn't willing to partake. When Will comes back in to the picture to win over Trix, the adventures pick up, with the culminating adventure being one that brings Trix and Will forever together. I enjoyed this overall woven theme into the past, present, and future for the two protagonists. It was almost like coming full circle for the two.

The secondary characters

The secondary characters truly enhanced the story. The way they were wrote in to the story made you feel like you were part of a moment in time surrounded by family and friends! And since I've already had the pleasure of reading the second book of the series, all I can say is keep your eye on Julia and Lord Trathen! You don't see a lot of them in this particular book, but you'll get a glimpse in to the future.


Voice & Writing Style

I loved, loved, loved the author's voice! This is the first time (okay, really the second because I've already read the second book of this series) that I've read a book by this author -- and I was completely blown away by the historical colloquial language and vernacular dialogue! Words such as ''motorcar" "petrol peddle" and the historical descriptions of clothing, homes, and items made you feel like you were a witness to this family and friends that made up this story at the turn of the century.


Smexiness

Guhrke has a gift of writing sexy and undeniably romantic love scenes. The context isn't over graphic, but goes into detail enough to heat up the pages. Add to the mix some delicate sensitivity of sex during the time period and it simply makes it that more deliciously 'naughty'! :)

Uniqueness

The story opens with a wedding invitation followed by a handful of societal news reports by a social gossip columnist on the scandalous break up of Trix and Will.

You don't often find well written books that depict the turn of the twentieth century Britain, on the cusp of woman rights.

The series all follows the theme of being abandoned at the altar.

~*~Final Thoughts~*~

I highly recommend this book to the historical romance lovers who want to be part of strong females and sexy men making their way in a aristocratic society that is defined by status and title obligations. Laura Lee Guhrke's unique historical voice will transport you to a different time, romance you in believing in fate and the ability to overcome personal and societal obstacles, demonstrate the power of friends and family, and convince you that love is always worth fighting for.

Stay tuned for my review on the next book of this amazing series, Scandal of the Year, which depicts the lives, hardships, and obstacles that surround Julia and Lord Trathen. It was even better than this first book!
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