Julie (jjmachshev)'s Reviews > Secret Desires of a Gentleman

Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke
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Feb 01, 09

bookshelves: 2009-reads, queuemyreview
Read in February, 2009

Reviewed for queuemyreview.com; book release Oct08

The end of the Victorian era brought about many changes in public and private life. Women were becoming more visible as other than wives and Laura Lee Guhrke’s latest historical romance gives us a closer look at one woman’s struggle. “Secret Desires of a Gentleman” is Guhrke’s salute to pastries and working women…and what a delicious story it is!

Maria is finally ready to open her patisserie with the help of a sponsor. All that’s left is to find the right location. When she comes upon the perfect kitchen in the perfect place, she’s giddy with glee…until she bumps into an old acquaintance while exiting the shop. When she was a young girl who’d just lost her father and was now all alone, the horridly upright and uptight Marquess of Kayne used his position to break up a marriage between Maria and his younger brother. While Maria has gotten over the younger brother, she still misses the older brother who was her dearest friend and playmate…until he inherited the estate and became lost to her forever. But it’s been twelve years now and surely they can all be adults?

Phillip was forced to leave behind his childhood at a young age and his friendship with a servant was just one of the casualties. But he recognizes Maria immediately…how could he not when visions of her have haunted him all these years? Phillip quickly realizes he still cares for Maria and now burns for her with all the ardor of a man. Yet she is still beneath him in station and how can he allow himself what he denied his brother?

What did I like about this story? I liked that Maria is a strong character who didn’t wait around for a man to ‘save’ her. She knew what she wanted and worked her butt off to make her dreams come true. I also enjoyed Guhrke’s ability to describe her characters so accurately that I think I would recognize them if I met them on the street!

What didn’t I like about this story? Phillip is such a snob. I still don’t understand how Maria could continue to love someone who so blatantly demeaned her. He doesn’t change until the very end of the story and had I not been reading to review, I likely wouldn’t have finished it. His arrogance and feelings of entitlement came through loud and clear, but I would have liked to see him mellow a bit sooner…but it’s not my story, is it?

I enjoy reading Laura Lee Guhrke. Her stories always evoke strong reactions in me and “Secret Desires of a Gentleman” is no different. This time her hero was (unfortunately) someone I ‘love to hate’…that would be great for a villain, but doesn’t make me happy when he’s the hero.
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