Thursday, March 8

And Then He Kissed Her

The first book finished from the new additions to my TBR pile is Laura Lee Guhrke's And Then He Kissed Her, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but then she is an autobuy for me. I ordered it without even reading the blurb or synopsis and was pleasantly surprised to find it set in 1893 London and incredibly forward thinking with a "Girl-Bachelor" heroine and a divorced Viscount hero who actually works.
Supremely sensible Emmaline Dove wishes to share her etiquette expertise with London’s readers, and as secretary to Viscount Marlowe, Emma knows she’s in the perfect position to make her dreams come true. Marlowe might be a rake with a preference for cancan dancers and an aversion to matrimony, but he is also the city’s leading publisher, and Emma is convinced he’s her best chance to see her work in print…until she discovers the lying scoundrel has been rejecting her manuscripts without ever reading a single page!

As a publisher, Harry finds reading etiquette books akin to slow, painful torture. Besides, he can’t believe his proper secretary has the passion to write anything worth reading. Then she has the nerve to call him a liar, and even resigns without notice, leaving his business in uproar and his honor in question. Harry decides it’s time to teach Miss Dove a few things that aren’t proper. But when he kisses her, he discovers that his former secretary has more passion and fire than he ever imagined, for one luscious taste of her lips only leaves him hungry for more…
So when I first read the blurb I thought "Oh no, it's going to be a redo of Guilty Pleasures", it may be one of my favorites, but I wasn't interested in rehashing it.

Ah, but it's not a redo. The only thing resembling GP is the employer/employee theme. You can't tell by the cover art this book is set in 1893 London. Emma Dove is Lord Harry Marlowe's incredibly efficient secretary, keeping his publishing empire and his personal life on schedule. Emma wants to be the Martha Stewart of the Turn of the Century, without the bad temper and jail time. Harry can't imagine anyone being remotely interested in what Miss Dove has to offer. Until she quits and takes her ideas to the competition and all of London's talking about the amazing Mrs. Bartleby (Emma's alter ego).

At first their relationship is one of indifference, moves toward adversarial and then slowly grows into love. Ms. Guhrke does a nice job developing the characters, you watch as Emma outgrows her strict upbringing to become her own person. And you understand why Harry's past has created a man who hates societal structure and rules.

A character driven story--this one really worked for me.


Jenster said...

Emma wants to be the Martha Stewart of the Turn of the Century, without the bad temper and jail time.

That's priceless!! LOL Sounds like another good one. I've never read this author, but I think I'm going to trip over to B&N online and put this on my wish list. :o)

Ann(ie) said...

That sounds good, actually.

I was just thinking that I was tired of heroes and heroines being struck with lightning bolts of lust, as soon as they set eyes on each other.

I've been thinking of doing a story with a slow build, friendship first, and then gradually coming to see this other person's attractions. I think it would be hard to pull off, but so worth it. Readers thoughts?

PS Stop by my blog and get in on my contest. The person who makes the 100th comment gets a $50 gift certificate from Amazon or a big box of Godiva chocolates.

meljean brook said...

I like most of Guhrke's, although I don't think I remembered to get the last one ... something about an Italian princess? I can't remember why I passed it up, but this one sounds good. Will have to add to my TBB list.

Tara Marie said...

Jen, Honestly while I was reading I kept thinking Martha Stewart so I had to include it in the commentary--LOL. Hope you like it.

Annie, I love a gradual build up, because it forces the story into being character driven and I'm always a sucker for a good character driven story.

You're tempting me with Godiva Chocolate? I'll be there as soon as I'm done here--LOL.

Meljean, Like I said in the review/commentary she's an autobuy for me always consistant, though I didn't love the Princess one. This one I liked.

nath said...

i'm glad you enjoyed this one Tara Marie! I've been wanting to buy it, but then I've only read one book of hers and I want to hunt down the marriage bed series first.

also, youppi for you! more books :D

Tara Marie said...

Nath, I'm on the side of loving The Marriage Bed, you either love it or hate it :D Guilty Pleasures is part of that series too.

Rosario said...

Why hadn't I heard of this one yet? It sounds great and I'm adding it to my wish list, thanks for the review!

Tara Marie said...

Rosario, Since her on line debacle it seems like she doesn't seem to get a lot of buzz, but she did debut on USA Best Sellers List at 51 I think (check out Dear Author) so apparently it doesn't affect over all sales.