Wednesday, July 6

The Marriage Bed... aka The Book Junkie Strikes Again!

Last week I ordered 3 books through the UBS (they also sell new books).
  1. The Marriage Bed by Laura Lee Guhrke
  2. It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn
  3. Carved in Stone by Vicki Taylor

The first two were in yesterday, so of course I ran right out and picked them up. Now, I'm sure Carved in Stone will be in today, but I wasn't willing to wait to pick up them all up at the same time (that damned book junkie thing again).

Neither of these books ever hit the TBR pile. I started The Marriage Bed as soon as I finished Double Trouble and didn't stop reading until I finished it at 12:30 this morning. It's in His Kiss had a place of honor sitting on my night stand over night.

The Marriage Bed by Laura Lee Guhrke

He charmed her, wed her, and betrayed her ...

But now the repentant lord must

entice his enchanting wife back to the marriage bed.

That little quote is borrowed from, and is a rather simplistic description of the plot. This book is extremely well written, it has a great plot and the pacing is perfect, you could have gotten all of that from Mrs. Giggle's review.

Spoilers: Don't go any further if you don't want details...

There is a lot going on in this book. If you can't deal with adultery or long separations this book is NOT for you.

At 26, John Hammond is in desperate need of an heiress. After assuming his title he's in need of money quickly. He finds Viola (a Duke's sister) and charms her into marrying him including telling her he loves her, though he doesn't. After they are married she discovers he has kept a mistress right up until the wedding day and mistakenly believes he is still visiting her. She locks him out of their bedroom for a month and he leaves, basically for good, and she lets him.

Fast forward 8 years and now Lord Hammond is in desperate need again. Now he needs an heir, the two he has lined up for the job have died of Scarlet Fever.

John has had numerous mistress over the 8 years, and on some level he blames Viola because she locked him out--men have needs you know. Somehow Ms. Guhrke is able to show him as a charming scapegrace, he doesn't come across as the pig he is, because on one level he doesn't feel he's wrong, but at the same time when confronted he has guilt.

When he says "I never meant to hurt you..." I believed him. If you view life in black and white, you're probably not going to like this book, but if you can see through shades of grey, you will be able to believe Viola can forgive him and he does finally find redemption when he realizes how wrong he has been, how lousy he's treated women and that he does love his wife. All of this comes very late in the book.

I read this entire book with a lump in my throat. You feel for Viola, and even some of the mistresses, at times you hate John. If this were my life I wouldn't have let him back in, but this isn't my "love" story, it's John and Viola's. If you believe she's able forgive him and that he loves her, you'll believe in their HEA--I did.

I'm now 50 pages into It's in His Kiss. It's a nice lite read, much needed after spending 4 hours perpetually on the verge of tears.


Anne E said...

I have that book in my TRB pile & think I will move it up further on the list. You didn't spoil it for me, as the outcome is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but I like the idea that an author can deal with shades of gray. Know not all readers agree with this.

sybil said...

spoilers and bad spelling to follow....

To me he never takes responsiblity.

Gosh she locked him out, so after a month he orders out. BUT he doesn't take a mistress, so golly he is a good guy! And he came back, and bad ol viola doesn't just welcome him back.

So it is just as much her fault!

uh, no. I don't buy that. She was like 17 and he lied to her. This wasn't a marriage of convenience. This wasn't her family marrying her off. This was him lying and saying he loved her so he could use her money. This was him screwing his mistress up until they said I Do and then crying the child he married behaves - like a child.


There are so many turns this could have taken that would have sold me on the story. But he never feels he did wrong. He never says, I won't do this again. So it leaves me with the feeling of if she decides she doesn't want to do something in bed, well screw it, he has a window to go else where.

I don't need black and white and I wanted to like John. And I don't care how he treated his mistresses. They are paid for their services, such is life. But his wife... who he tricked into marrying him... that is another story.

The fencing scene is amazing but it still has a I know you are pissed off and I want you to vent but don't think you are right to be pissed off feel to it.

I liked the book more after the first read, after the second john doesn't come out as well. I want to believe there was a 'real' person in there just waiting for the right person to come along and free him. But god he comes off as a shit.

Tara Marie said...

To me he never takes responsiblity.

That's were I disagree with you. I think he does, even from the start he has a teeny tiny level of guilt, but not nearly enough, that's the point of the story.

From page 345 on he takes responsibility. It late, but it's there.

This was him screwing his mistress up until they said I Do and then crying the child he married behaves - like a child.

That's just it--they are both children and both behaved like children--he took his toys elsewhere when she wouldn't play. And he doesn't grow up until he's forced to his knees.

He's a pig, and an ass, but I don't have to like or love him, he's not my husband, he belongs to Viola.

For me the point isn't whether or not I can forgive him, because I wouldn't, it's whether or not she can forgive and trust him again.

sybil said...

LOL I guess a 26 year old man is about on par with a 17 year old woman ;).

I see it as I can't understand why Viola would forgive him unless she has just decided to go on the ride and it takes her where ever it takes her.

I do think both of them are at fault but I don't think Viola is at fault in anyway for their parting.

And when he says but I was gonna try and get you back but you were mean to me! Just so screamed typical cheating male.

Really as far as I, forgiving him, I can't say for sure. But I look at relationships and such completely differently than I understood Viola would.

Viola screamed to me a hearts, babies and puppies sort of love. Which is where I don't get the people saying BUT it is a arranged marriage for the times! Because it wasn't. She is a sister of a Duke, who loved her enough to want her to have her hearts, babies, and puppies love. She married with stars in her eyes - stars John put there.

sybil said...

hee this is fun... I wanna sit here and talks book not work

le sigh
life is so unfair

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

I'm currently compiling a list of smart blogs by women which center around women's issues and reading. (Since I'm a woman, I have issues, and I love reading!) I'd like to link to your site, with your permission; I'd love to be included in the party.

Tara Marie said...

Melanie--welcome to the party, you're more than welcome to list a link.

Kristie (J) said...

This is killing me you know. I still haven't made it to the store much less read the book. Auuuggghhh. But on the plus side
"yippee - no more pink"

Michelle said...

I read It's In His Kiss the other day...

I love Julia Quinn's work. I devoured Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and adored When he was Wicked.

But this me, it just doesn't live up to the others. What's your opinion?

Tara Marie said...


Romancing Mr. Bridgerton was my favorite of the series.

This one was a little bland, very witty banter and dialogue between all the characters. I enjoyed it, but it did seem to be missing something

Giselle said...

Oh yay! Someone else enjoyed the book as much as I did. At first I thought there's no way she (Guhrke) can redeem John for me. But alas I thought she did a great job of portraying him as just a man who is clueless about women (aren't they all?). Of course that isn't an excuse for his behavior but it made me understand the reasons behind his seemingly cruel actions after their separation. I can see Sybil has some valid points but I was able to get past that and if I hadn't been able to I think the final scene where he confesses his love for her would've done it for me.
Yeah I'm easy, I know.

Tara Marie said...

Giselle--I was convinced by the fencing scene, and then the end just clinched it.

I guess that makes me easy too.

Michelle said...

Tara--I thought Gregory stole the show. I couldn't really have cared less what happened to Hyacinth and geez, I've already forgotten the hero's name.

Enough said. I adore her books, but WHAT HAPPENED, JULIA???