I enjoyed this historical romance very much. Set in 1833 London, story concerns a viscount John and his estranged wife, Viola. They've been married nearly 9 years, but estranged for most of them. Viola was in love with John, but he married her for her money. She felt betrayed when she learned he'd kept a mistress until they got married. They live apart and no longer speak or even attend the same parties, but now John's cousin (his heir) has died and he desperately needs to win back his wife so that he can have a son and an heir. I enjoyed the depiction of Viola who, despite her name, is no shrinking violet, but a a very spirited woman who lets John know exactly what she thinks of him in no uncertain terms.
John is a silver-tongued charmer who has always had women fall in love with him easily and can't understand why Viola is being so stubborn about not wanting to reconcile with him. He sets about making a plan to charm and entice Viola back into the marriage bed, which results in some hilarious consequences when things don't go according to plan.
I enjoyed the amount of work the author put into character development, especially John's metamorphasis from a charming rake incapable of love into a loving husband. There are some very touching moments.
A very different kind of romance novel where the husband and wife have been estranged for 8 years. This made it a bit hard to really like John, the hero. The author chose a really difficult subject and did finally wind up redeeming the hero. The author also does an excellent job of weaving characters from previous books into the story.
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. On one hand both Viola and John are smart, witty, and likeable characters who you can't help rooting for. On the other hand, John cheated - repeatedly - and Guhrke asks Viola and the reader to trust in him and the feelings he's unable to express. The tension between Viola and John is almost tangible, and that is what drives the book. By the end, Guhrke is adding some hard truths to what it takes to make a relationship work. A good read, but not light.
This was an aggravating book. Neither the husband or the wife are particularly endearing. In fact, I found them both insufferable. The wife does nothing to help her case but spew accusations without any intelligence and the husband refuses to explain himself, instead just making sarcastic comments and expecting her to accept him. The only thing that got me to the end of this book was the author, who is a great writer, and my inability to stop a book once I start it.
Laura Lee Guhrke is one of my favorite new finds. I like series with characters introduced and returning in later stories. I loved the tension between the characters. This book is funny, touching, painful, and very sweet. I loved John and Viola's courtship.
Urgh.. the book is well-written but I don't like the 2 main characters one bit. John is charming and has women falling in love left and right. However, he is an unfeeling cad -- cheated on his wife repeatedly, unable to love, treat women like dirt!!