Early Review: When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke

when the marquess met his matchWhen the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: An American Heiress in London #1
Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: Oct 29, 2013
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Avon

What happens when a carefree, disreputable, stone-broke bachelor is forced to find a wife in a hurry? He hires a matchmaker, of course. What happens when the matchmaker doesn’t want to help him? Well, that’s when the fun begins…

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income—in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heartbreaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

D.G.’s Rating: 3.5 skulls = B

Laura Lee Guhrke has written some of my favorite historical romance but her last few books haven’t wowed me. I hoped When The Marquess Met His Match would make me fall in love with this author again but it fell short.  The book was a pleasant read but neither the characters, nor the setting nor the premise seemed fleshed out. The details were there but they didn’t create the right picture.

You will probably say that I’m being obnoxiously negative in this review because overall, I enjoyed the book. Both characters were nice people who had suffered and deserved some happiness in their lives. The hero was particularly funny and the heroine wasn’t obnoxious. But there was a big disconnect as to how the characters were described and how they were portrayed so I couldn’t connect with them.

Lady Belinda is supposedly an American but she didn’t feel like one. She behaves like any English aristocrat and the only American thing about her is that she has a profession. We know little of her life in America or how she grew up. In her youth, she had supposedly been very shy but during her first interaction with Nicholas, she behaved like a virago. Whenever she pulled the ‘shy’ card, it seemed inappropriate and unbelievable because she was so confident otherwise. There was an attempt to justify her blossoming from timid chrysalis to self-assured butterfly, but it didn’t ring true.

Nicholas was more consistent, but like Belinda, he didn’t seem to fit his past. When we meet him, he behaves like a really nice guy who’s fond of a good joke so you wonder how he could have led such an scandalous life. After a while we learn he has some serious daddy issues but I was surprised he never figured out things on his own – he just seemed mature enough to do so. I like characters who change for themselves and not because they are looking for somebody else’s approval so I wasn’t too crazy with the “I have to change to deserve her” plot device.

Most of the story has a lighthearted feel that was at odds with that first bitter encounter. You can understand why Belinda did what she did, but I wouldn’t have expected Nicholas to forgive and forget so easily. And after a while, it didn’t seem to matter at all because everybody behaved as if it hadn’t happened, which didn’t seem likely.

I think fans of historical romance set in the Victorian era and readers of lighthearted romances will enjoy this. For the rest, you are already forewarned that there are some inconsistencies in the characterization. If this is not a big deal for you, you may enjoy this a lot more than I did.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Avon for providing a review copy of this book!

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Comments 3

  • Nice review!

    This is one of those authors that I always mean to read, but never quite get around to it. Any suggestions on where to start?

    Thanks!

    • Two of my favorites by her are “And Then He Kissed Her” and “Guilty Pleasures”. They are both the first in the series but I would almost treat them as standalones. These were great but the rest of the series were just meh.