WEDDING OF THE SEASON Laura Lee Guhrke
Abandoned at the Altar
Avon Books
ISBN: 978-0-06-196315-5
January 2011
Historical Romance

Devonshire , England , 1896 - 1902

Gossip is rampant, with Lady Beatrix Danbury again the topic.  First, it was the broken engagement between her and William Mallory, Marquess of Richfield, later to become Duke of Sunderland, and now after the death of her father, Lady Beatrix is found enjoying herself at the seashore in Cornwall with her scandalous cousin, Baroness Yardley.  She has been walking along the shore with no shoes, speeding in motorcars, and dancing with the handsome Aidan Carr, Duke Trathen.  Such disreputable behavior for a woman who should be mourning her father's passing!

It has been six years, and William is home.  He had wanted Beatrix, better known as Trix, to go with him to Egypt on his archaeological expedition, but she refused, and William couldn't give up his dream.  Trix has been trying to forget William and make a new life for herself.  Now, she is going to marry a more staid man, Aidan Carr, and have a WEDDING OF THE SEASON.  The attraction between Trix and William is as strong as ever, but Trix wants a family and her life as a privileged woman in England ; William is determined to return to Egypt to continue looking for the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of Kings .  He can't imagine living a life filled with boring ducal duties.  He has spent most of his inheritance and is now looking for a loan or a sponsor to continue his expedition.  No matter the love between them, there was never any hope, but beneath the bravado of indifference is churning desire.  The relationship between Trix and Aidan is based on suitability rather than passion.

Trix's and William's families have always gone to Pixy Cove in August for vacation.  It holds some of their happiest childhood memories.  William decides to go to Pixy Cove to confront the wealthy Viscount Marlowe who might be willing to sponsor his archaeological expedition.  So what if Trix and Aidan will also be there for the month.  Aren't they all adults?

The world is changing at the turn of the century in England .  There is more freedom for men and women and more choices.  Trix has never been able to fulfill her dreams because fear and duty kept her in line, first to her father and now to Aidan.  William has always been a risk taker, determined to live life to the fullest.  There is sexual tension in WEDDING OF THE SEASON as the two ex-lovers pretend an indifference that neither feels.  Secondary character Aidan is a man dedicated to duty, and readers can imagine a life with him would be safe and dull.

WEDDING OF THE SEASON is a beautifully written tale with excellent dialogue and good pacing.  The characters are all intriguing as they play out a month in Pixy Cove.  The story is a stunning beginning to a new series, Abandoned at the Altar , followed by SCANDAL OF THE YEAR in late January 2011, Aidan's romance.  Readers can always count on Ms. Guhrke for a riveting read.

Marilyn Heyman