Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke

January 10, 2012 
What a nice beginning for 2012!

Spoiler's ahead. If you are a fan of Laura Lee Guhrke, Trouble at the Wedding will not disappoint.  This story takes us to one of my favorite time periods - Edwardian - love - love - love the clothes from that period.  Thank goodness we do not wear the swan-bill corset anymore, although I think the Gibson girl silhouette is interesting.  This is also the era of the so-called "dollar Princesses."  A time period when English estates were having financial troubles and one of the solutions was to marry wealthy American heiresses to replenish their coffers.  If you're interested, Jennie Jerome (Churchill), Consuelo Vanderbilt, Mary Leiter, Cornelia Martin, May Goelet and Nancy Langhorne Shaw (Astor), were some of these women.  And, in most cases their marriages were not happy, both partners finding interest elsewhere, if you get my drift.  This habit was also responsible for lovely weekend parties of discreet door knocking.
Anyway, that's what we have in this tale.  We have our extremely wealthy American heiress, Annabel, who is about to marry an aristocratic chinless English earl.  Now, there is a catch with the heiress. She may be rich, but she does not fit in with Mrs. Astor's elite 400.  No siree, she's from the backwaters of Mississippi.  Her daddy just happened to strike gold.  And, even though this is a work of fiction, one can only imagine what her life would have been trying to break into the New York elite snob society of the day. (Probably not too much different than today.)  This vulnerability is one of the strong components in the story, and it's also one of the reasons I loved Annabel so much.  She is a smart, strong woman, but she's been hurt in the past.  She wants to fit in s-o much, however, she is a little bit blinded to what it is she is trying to fit into. It just takes Annabel some time to realize that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.  I was little puzzled as to why she decided that she would be more accepted in English aristocracy than she was in American so-called aristocracy.  After-all, her background isn't exactly upper-crusty.  Which brings me to something else I liked in this book.  I was pleased with Miss Guhrke's portrayal of Annabel's background. Yes, she's from the Mississippi backwaters!  Yes, she says "sugar" and drops her consonants.  But at no time did I feel the need to laugh at her because of where she came from.  In fact, the southern/backwater theme was very nicely written.  I was glad that Ms. Guhrke didn't fall into the "let's make fun of the country yokel because they're yokels" writing. I'm not fond of stereotyping, unless, of course, it's the elite we're poking. 
Then, we have Christian, our hero.  He's a duke and he needs money.  And, in this book, he almost plays second fiddle to our heroine.  Now, he has numerous weights he's carrying around.  He was married before and for some reason, he blames himself for her death.  Didn't quite understand that, but I excuse him for being so young when he was married.  However, you would think after a few years he would shed some of his guilt. Evidently not.  Anyway, as I said before, he needs money - fast!  So, he is hired by Annabel's uncle to break up the wedding between Annabel and her chinless earl fiance. Being the scoundrel that he is, Christian agrees - then, he sees Annabel - and falls for her immediately.  I chose to believe he falls in love with her immediately, however, his love for Annabel isn't always that convincing.  I'm not going to go into too much detail except to say that there are some twists and turns in the plots.  Some things I didn't see coming.  There is a nice balance of poignancy and humor.  In fact, the first wedding scene is both funny and sad at the same time.
This is a delightful addition to the Abandoned at the Altar series, with an especially strong heroine who has a very vulnerable side.  Usually, I am drawn to the heroes in the book.  While I found Christian to be delightful and I enjoyed his humor, it was Annabel who stole the show.  There was also a point when I wanted to knock their heads together, and tell them that they loved each other - but I didn't.  When all is said and done, if you have been enjoying this series, you won't want to miss this Trouble at the Wedding. Great addition!!!

Time/Place: Edwardian England
Sensuality: Sort of Hot


Tracy said...

Wasn't it good? I'm so glad you liked it...and Annabel. She was one tough cookie, that's for sure. :)

SidneyKay said...

Yes, I think Annabel may be one of the better heroines I've read in awhile. I'll have to put her on some kind of list.