Monday 24 March 2014

#CBR6 Book 22: "When the Marquess Met His Match" by Laura Lee Guhrke

Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Lady Belinda Featherstone was a young American heiress whose marriage didn't exactly work out splendidly, with her husband both blatantly cheating on her and squandering as much of her money as possible before having the good grace to die and leave her a widow. Now supporting herself as a matchmaker for other young American heiresses wanting to make a successful match into English nobility, Belinda is determined that none of her charges ever end up making as disastrous a match as she.

So when she is approached by handsome as sin Nicholas Stirling, the rakish Marquess of Trubridge, who is perfectly forthright about his need to marry an heiress, and preferably as quickly as possible, his father having cut off all his funds, Belinda flatly refuses to aid him in any way. She's convinced that Nicholas is as unscrupulous and dissolute as her husband was, and she's not going to help him break the heart of some wealthy young woman. Instead she vows to make his quest for a wife as difficult as possible. Nicholas, baffled at the devious lengths Belinda is willing to go to in order to foil his courtship plans, determines to fight just as unfairly and sets his sights on the young heiress who's currently Belinda's main charge.

Laura Lee Guhrke is absolutely in the third tier of romance authors whose works I enjoy. She writes perfectly enjoyable books, with the occasional more memorable exception, but there is nothing particularly remarkable about them, and she's certainly not one of the authors whose books I pre-order and wait impatiently for. This book started out amusing as the protagonists determined to fight each other, but Nicholas is more interested in seducing Belinda than really quarrelling with her, so the actual adversarial portion of their relationship is over relatively quickly.

The main obstacle to their future happiness is that he needs a rich wife, and believes her to be destitute, while she's determined never to marry again, certainly not to an unscrupulous and charming fortune hunter. Being a shrewd business woman, Belinda is actually ridiculously rich, and Nicholas' dreadful reputation as a rake and a bounder is mostly fabricated to frustrate, goad and provoke his horrible father as much as possible. I did like that once Nicholas discovers the truth about her finances, he's even more determined to prove to her that he can make his own money, and that he's not interested in her for her fortune. One of the things I enjoy with Victorian-set romance is that the nobleman heroes tend to need to diversify and find gainful employment. This is the first in a new series focusing on American heiresses in London, and as this was entertaining enough and I liked the appearance of the woman set to be the next heroine, I will probably be checking it out eventually.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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