Stacy's Place on Earth
Blog Home Change to Small Font Change to Large Font
Tuesday, September 23, 2008:
"The Wicked Ways of a Duke" by Laura Lee Guhrke - Quickie review

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Avon (December 26, 2007)

ISBN-10: 0061143618

ISBN-13: 978-0061143618

She thought she was the luckiest woman in London . . .
Surviving on a seamstress' income and a steady stream of fantasies, Prudence Bosworth has always longed for love and romance. Then she inherits a fortune from the father she's never seen, with the stipulation that she wed in one year. Prudence is determined to marry for true love, and after seeing firsthand the splendid chivalry of a certain duke, only one man will do . . .
Rhys de Winter, the Duke of St. Cyres, hides his cynicism behind a quick wit and an even quicker smile. He must marry an heiress, and as luck would have it, the pretty little seamstress-turned-heiress is exactly what he needs. But he never expected to fall for Prudence, and when his shocking deception is revealed, he will stop at nothing to win her back . . . even if it means renouncing every last one of his wicked ways.

Laura Lee Guhrke & Julia Quinn are going to be in town next month for a booksigning, so I needed to get caught up on reading some of LLG's stuff. Okay, I didn't need to, but I wanted to. I've only read 2 books by her: "Guilty Pleasures" which I loved, & "And Then He Kissed Her" which was okay but nothing spectacular. Still, I love historicals, and it's always more fun to chat with an author when you've actually read their books.

I should have learned from Kati, because though we don't always agree (I didn't love "Pleasure Unbound" but I definitely saw the potential there) she is still one of the readers whose tastes are very similar to my own, and she always has a valid reason for liking/not liking something. She's one smart cookie, our Kati. And when she guest-blogged here in February, she used this book as her example.

Anywayz, so I ordered it and got it last week (along with the complete Buffy series that I treated myself to, thanx to my own love of the series, and LeeAnn's recent adoration of it after buying it for herself) and started reading it on Sunday.

Well, the hero set me off almost right away. After acting heroically twice in Prudence's presence, we soon see Rhys showing off his true colors when he beds the serving maid he rescues on one of those occasions. True, at this point, he had only met Prudence and had no interest in her once he realizes she's a virgin, but his whole "live for today and damn the consequences" mentality bothered the hell out of me. True, the servant was no innocent herself, and not looking for marriage, but that scene just set the tone for me. It just screamed self-serving, all-about-me narcissism. Normally it wouldn't set me off because I've seen this scenario before many a time, before the hero and heroine hook up in any fashion, but in this case Rhys seriously irritated me as right away he establishes himself to be a man pig.

And it only goes downhill from there. Once Prudence comes into her inheritance, a legacy she never knew anything about, Rhys, desperate for funds to save his crumbling estates and keep his sorry ass in the style to which he believes he's entitled, he goes about to manipulate her into marriage. Sensing right away she would not marry for practical reasons as most any other heiress would, he woos her, letting her believe he's falling in love with her. Of course the poor girl eventually believes it, despite the fact she was once a plain and plump seamstress, and is now a plain and plump heiress, because Rhys is so convincing, so charming and wonderful and perfect that Prudence falls immediately under his spell.

Now I liked Prudence a lot. She was essentially a good woman, hard working, loyal to her friends, trying to keep the peace in her selfish family. Yet she was also not afraid to have a good time and be a little wicked. She seriously begins to fall for Rhys, and while he doesn't lie about his circumstances (after all the best lies are those very close to the truth) he does go about winning her favor in a very underhanded manner. His valet does his spying for him, which gives him an edge, and he uses Prudence's attraction to him to keep her distracted. And it isn't until page 306(!) that the jig is finally up and Prudence finds out that Rhys has been lying to her. He has until page 372 to win her back, and frankly, it wasn't enough time for him to grovel satisfactorily enough to please this reader. I felt like he skated by here.
Where was the groveling? Where was the scene where Rhys was truly suffering, knowing that he lost the one good thing in his life? Why wasn't he in agony, repenting for treating Prudence so callously? Why? Why? Why?
Some readers may enjoy this book, and it wasn't the worst thing I've ever read, but it was such a disappointment to have the pretense drag out for so long. Instead, Rhys could have been tormented for a bit longer until he truly realized all that he'd lost. I wasn't feeling it here. By the end of the book, I still didn't like him much. I really hate it when the hero disappoints me.
Rating: *** out of *****
Have a favorite LLG book?
Which one should I read next?



  1. I've only read Guilty Pleasures and I liked it a lot. I haven't read the others, though. I've read too many bad and indifferent things about the other books so I haven't tried them. I own a few though, so I suppose that may count for something? Look forward to your next LLG review!

  2. LOL, Stace! Somedays books just set me off too. This was definitely one of them. Will I buy the next Guhrke book? You betcha. But she's on probation with me.

    Favorite Guhrke? Hands down Guilty Pleasures. I love an ugly duckling story. Although, I loved His Every Kiss as well. Since then, she hasn't totally knocked it out of the park for me. But she's generally a consistent B-/B read for me. Which is good enough.

    I hope you have a great time at the signing. I'd love to hear from you what JulieQ says about her latest writing experiment: The Lost Duke of Wyndham/Mr. Cavendish, I Presume. I had a surprising for me reaction to the books as a duet, and so I'm interested to hear what, if anything, she says about the reaction of reviewers.

  3. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who didn't love Pleasure Unbound!

  4. You must read Breathless!!! Can't believe you haven't yet. It was my first LLG and it hooked me.

    Also, have you read His Ever Kiss? It's the follow-up to Guilty Pleasures (Dylan's story) and is very good. The Marriage Bed (3rd in Guilty Series) is good too, but I think it's hit or miss with folks. I loved it, but others haven't liked it as well.

Post a Comment