Thursday, October 31, 2013

2 stars--When the Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress in London #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income—in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heartbreaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5 --very limited
Rating: 2 out of 5

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When the Marquess Met His Match was a hard read for me. I went into it excited. I love the cover, matchmaker/marriage of convenience stories are always a favorite of mine and I just love historicals. But it didn't work for me for the most part. Yes, some parts were unique and made me want to keep reading and the hero was rather dashing but in the end this one left me incredibly dissatisfied as a reader because I couldn't believe the romance and found the heroine completely and utterly unlikable.

So, the things I did like (because I really did love parts) before diving into what didn't work for me.

I enjoyed the set up for this one and that it was set in a slightly different historical period than your typical English romance- trains are in existence, dress is a little tighter and speech more modern. It was kind of neat seeing that slight change of view as Nicolas seeks the help of Belinda and her matchmaking services after his manipulative father cuts him off and he's forced to marry for financial reasons. All the makings for a great fiery romance since the two are definitely at odds over his needs and butt heads from the get go.

I really loved Nicholas, his rakish ways, checkered past and all. Underneath it all he's a good man that's  really suffered at the hand of his father and been beaten down until he really had no hopes and dreams anymore. Man he tore at my heart. I was totally on board with Nicholas even though he was a "fortune hunter" because he was open, honest and upfront about it. He knew what he was but wasn't a jerk about it and would treat his wife right even if love wasn't a factor in the marriage.

Now. What didn't work for me. The heroine. I love spirited women. Ones that are independent, can verbally spar with the hero and give him a little hell. But it's a fine line between feisty and bitchy and for me and Belinda was on the wrong side of it at every turn. Before even meeting him she believes all the gossip, thinks the worst of him and sets out to make his life hell. She comes across as mean, bitter and rude to a man that never once during the entire book did a thing to earn her disdain. Even after he tells her the true circumstances behind the gossip about him she can't just apologize and admit she was wrong. No, she continues playing games and laughing at his expense and talking down to him constantly about how awful he was.
Yes, she desired him, but she didn't love him, nor could she in all good conscience respect him. That wasn't likely to change either... 
And that made the romance...difficult. I can't figure out why he would fall in love with her. There was never really a kind word from her and it wasn't until the last chapter that she did anything that was remotely redeeming. The romance just wasn't believable because she never let up or allowed a real moment--other than lust--of anything nice between them. In the end I didn't want him with her. I wanted him to find someone else or to just be alone because really, to me, Belinda was abusive--verbally and mentally--and that's not something I wanted for Nicholas. He was too good for her and deserved to be treated better. It really left me in quite the mood for days knowing they ended up together.

So while the writing itself was easy to read and flowed nicely, the set up unique and the hero a good guy the heroine and her complete lack of any redeemable qualities kept this one from going in my recommendations pile. Though, it has gotten some very positive reviews so maybe she'll work for you.

Have you read Guhrke? What did you think?
Have you ever had a read like this where you just can't get on board with one of the characters?

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