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Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke
published by Avon in December 2010
Abandoned at the altar...Genre: Historical romance
Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She'd loved him forever and she'd never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter... and left two weeks before their wedding.
Return of the duke...
Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she's about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable... the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?
Series: Abandoned at the Altar trilogy, Book #1
The Story: Beatrix and Will grew up together as neighbors, as friends and as sweethearts. They were about to get married when Will was offered the opportunity to join a dig in Egypt, led by Will's mentor and inspiration. Will tried to convince Beatrix to accompany him, but she couldn't leave her father behind... and the wedding was called off.
Years later, when Will has not returned for his father's funeral or assume his title, when Beatrix' father has passed away, Beatrix finally realizes that Will was not coming back and it was time for her to move on. When she meets Aidan Carr, the duke of Trathen, it seems to be a sign. She has met a good, respectful man who could make her content. So why did Will have to come back on the verge of her wedding to Aidan? Is it to stop her? Or...
My Opinion: I love Ms Guhrke's writing and she's one of my auto-buy historical romance author :) I was so looking forward to her next release and was overjoyed to discover that she'd have back-to-back releases! I have to say, I've been somewhat disappointed with her latest release and was kind of happy that she was moving on to another series. I also had high hopes, because she seemed to be part of the authors Avon was pushing with their new strategy. Well, let me tell you... it worked :)
In a way, the story of Wedding of the Season was heart-breaking. Two people in love with each other, but who cannot compromise and in the end, have to separate. There's nothing more tragic or sad in my opinion. It was also hard, because neither were at fault... or both were. Will was never going to be happy as a duke and when he had an opportunity to realize his dream, he grabbed it. Can anyone blame him? He tried to convince Beatrix to come with him, but she refused... Was his decision wrong? I don't think so. I think what many of the characters didn't realize is that Will was hurt as well. He did love Beatrix and she didn't choose him. What does that say?
As for Beatrix, she was trapped... by her father and position in society. On one hand, she couldn't leave her father behind. Is it wrong to be filial? No. Both Will and Beatrix' cousin, Julia, made Beatrix' father sounds like an overbearing man... but the man was abandoned by his wife who ran away with her lover... Can you blame him to be protective of Beatrix? Can you blame to be afraid to lose Beatrix? Ideally, he would put his fear aside and let Beatrix spread her wings... but how many can do it? On the other hand, Beatrix was raised to be a duchess. To uproot herself and live in Egypt... was it fair to her? I'm not saying that Beatrix was marrying Will for his title, because she wasn't. However, England, aristocracy and the ton, that is the only way of life that she knew...
Tragic I'm telling you. I do have to say that Beatrix suffered more... and I wished that Will would have shown more feelings about it. I mean, it's clear that neither were able to let go of their feelings for each other. That they still love each other, but also still hurt. However, I thought Will could have done something. Stay in contact, come back earlier... My romantic heart really wished that Will had come back to stop Beatrix' wedding and not because he was in need of funds. It's a bit like being far away, he could tuck his feelings for Beatrix somewhere safe and upon seeing her again, it broke the dam and flooded.
So I did like the characters and I felt for them. I understand why Beatrix was so stubborn as to getting back with Will, even after she broke her engagement with Aidan. What I found unfortunate is that we've gone through all this and the ending didn't live up to the all the drama. It was definitively rushed and I wished Will really had a way to convince Beatrix of his feelings. Yes it's a repeat of the situation and this time, Beatrix took the "right" decision... Still, I wished for a bit more, because it seemed to have been precipitated by events instead of feelings.
One of my favorite element of this book was the time period: early 1900s :) It's an in-between period - on the edge of the old, verge of the new... where old traditions and new conventions collide. I think it really enhanced the storyline and it made Wedding of the Season stand out. Not many authors tackle this time period, but it does seem to be Ms Guhrke's niche. I could imagine Beatrix in her motorcar, with her goggles and driving coat LOL. The women in their bathing suits, the Wimbledon tournaments, the aristocrats playing tennis...
Another element I liked also was the friendship and tight group that Beatrix, Will, Julia, their other cousin Paul, and the Viscount Marlowe's family formed. These people have grown up together, have spent countless summer together, have a past together. It was heart-warming to see the bonds and links still there, the friendship and camaraderie :) There were also some very interesting secondary characters such as Julia, Aidan and Paul and I'm looking forward to their books :) By the way, I know that Wedding of the Season takes place a few years after the Girl Bachelors series, and there was a mention of Lucy (Daisy's sister) who is now Lady Weston... Does that mean we'll never get her story?
My Grade: B. Overall, I enjoyed Wedding of the Season a lot :) I liked and felt for Beatrix and Will, but I do think their relationship could have taken another turn if only.... Still, a good story with great setting :) Made me really look forward to Scandal of the Year :)