Sandy M’s review of Wedding of the Season (Abandoned at the Alter, Book 1) by Laura Lee Gurhke
Historical Romance published by Avon 28 Dec 10
I had already chosen this book to review when I discovered in scheduling Lynne’s review that she also chose to read it. I’m always fascinated how readers and reviewers have such different takes on the books they read. When it comes to this book, Lynne and I aren’t too different in the fact it didn’t work well for us, but we’re polar opposites when it comes to why.
The biggest difference is I don’t care one bit about historical accuracy when I read. Though I was one who enjoyed my school years, history was not a subject I ever took to. So I know the basics, but, with a few exceptions, I have no idea when historic events happened. Being an author who does research and a Brit, Lynne has a vast knowledge base I don’t possess – along with other readers out there, I’m sure – when it comes to reading historical romance. So the fact that the search for and discovery of King Tut didn’t happen in the year this book takes place or any of the other “errors” in the book means nothing to me. I have no idea about Royal Dukes versus plain old Dukes, so all of that and anything else that may have been inaccurately told went right over my head.
I do agree with Lynne when it comes to the heroine, Beatrix. She’s the main reason this book did not work well for me. There’s too many inconsistencies in the way she looks at life. She wants excitement and thrills, but she lets duty mar those wants when she refuses to go to Egypt with Will six years earlier. She gives up the trip and discoveries of a lifetime all because her father wants her with him. What? She’s engaged to be married to the man she loves, a man she’ll soon give everything to. Why in the world would she stay for her father because of his fears, which to me were unfounded and very selfish after so many years.
Also, Beatrix is just way too whiny. Half the time she reminds me of a 13 year old who stomps their feet and pouts, argues incessantly when they don’t get their way or they don’t like what’s going on. She has cause to be a little petulant when Will first returns from Egypt. It’s the first time she’s seen him in years after he hightailed it away from the alter. But that attitude just goes on far too long, and I want to send her to her room without supper every time she has a fit.
Will is a tad better character than Beatrix in that he does go for what he wants in life, though I do see Lynne’s point about him shirking his responsibilities by being gone so long. But his father is alive during the majority of that time and Will wants to experience what he can while he can due to the fact his entire is mapped out for him. When he’s finally Duke, finding Tut is so in his blood by that time, I can see why he can’t give it up. Almost like a gambler waiting for the next turn of the card, the next place they dig they’ll find the right tomb. And I definitely understand his need to continue the search after so many years – it’s all wasted time if he doesn’t stick with it. He does, however, take care of his responsibilities when he makes it home. I guess the old adage better late than never applies to Will. He’s single minded in his endeavors, including winning Beatrix back once he sets his mind to it.
The ending is a little too fixed for me, too predictable. Will and Beatrix each do an about-face in the way they now feel about each other’s wants out of life and almost go too far in their wanting to be a part of the other’s passion. (spoiler highlight to read) I’d rather have had Beatrix get rid of her attitude much earlier in the book, give Will his second chance, and have them both in Egypt working together, showing us how their life could be, instead of them driving off into the sunset just on their way to Egypt. Would have been much more interesting and a departure from what’s gone before to give the story a much needed boost.
So after all of this, then why do I read historical romance? Romance novels like this one are fantasy for me. So if an author decides to take literary, historical, or any other kind of license to write her book like Ms. Guhrke has, more power to her. I read romance, no matter the genre, for the romance, how men and women interact, the feeling of the particular era, that type of thing. I’m not reading historical romance to have a history lesson. I won’t remember a field full of Devonshire ponies that couldn’t exist at a given point in time over that scorching kiss that gets Will and Beatrix in trouble and is the rocky start to their new life together.
So totally different ways how reviewers read and look at books, which leads to different things that we each get out of the story. I’m a step up from Lynne with her Did Not Finish grade, but not by a very wide margin. If Beatrix hadn’t shaped up when she did, I might have agreed with Lynne’s and put the book aside too. I’d rather have the inaccuracies that go over my head than a heroine who’s wishy-washy and acts like a child.
Read LynneC’s review here.
Abandoned at the altar…
Lady Beatrix Danbury has always known she would marry William Mallory. She’d loved him forever, and she’d never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together and his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter, and left two weeks before their wedding.
Return of the duke…
Will has no illusions that Beatrix will welcome him back with open arms, but six years has not diminished his love or his desire for her. The only problem is that she’s about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable… the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: