When the Marquess Met His Match
An American Heiress in London-Book 1
By Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: Avon BooksRelease Date: 10/29/13
In the first of a dazzling new series, USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke introduces London’s most renowned matchmaker—and a scoundrel intent on seducing his way to the altar.
She’s the matchmaker…
Lady Belinda Featherstone’s job is to guide American heiresses to matrimony, and away from men like Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge. But the charming, disreputable marquess needs a wealthy bride, and he hires Belinda to help him find one. Her task seems easy: find that scoundrel the sort of wife he so richly deserves. But Nicholas’s hot, searing kiss soon proves her task will be anything but easy.
He’s the perfect match…
Nicholas plans to wed a rich, pretty young darling to restore his fortune, and he’s happy to pay a marriage broker to help him. But one taste of Belinda’s lips and Nicholas’s sensible scheme to marry for money goes awry, and he yearns to show his beautiful matchmaker he’s the perfect match…for her.
My introduction to Laura Lee Guhrke and her books came back in 2007 when a friend of mine recommended her Girl Bachelor books to me. There was a lyrical quality to her writing that drew me in immediately, and I’ve been a LLG fan ever since. Secret Desires of a Gentleman is still one of my all time favorite romances. With her new An American Heiress in London series, Laura has introduced us to a whole new cast of characters to fall in love with.
Lady Belinda Feathestone is an American heiress who married a British aristocrat who made no bones about the fact that he married her for her money as soon as they wed. Now a widow, Belinda has found a niche for herself helping other American heiresses navigate British society and make good matches. Due to her past experience, she is once bitten and more than twice shy. Belinda is on a mission to protect these young heiresses from making an unwise match like she did. Therefore, when Nicholas, the Marquess of Trubridge, an acknowledged rake and fortune hunter, asks her to help him find a wife and catches the eye of friend and fellow heiress Rosalie Harlow, she’s determined to stop him at all costs.
I struggled a bit with my feelings for Belinda. On the one hand, I completely understood why she immediately saw Nicholas as a foe to be vanquished, and why she would go to such lengths to stop him. She is driven by her past experience, and wanting to protect her clients from fortune hunters like her late husband. However, the tactics she used went a bit too far, in my opinion, and made me lose some sympathy for her. In addition, Belinda has her emotions so clamped down, and she is so consumed with maintaining propriety and her reputation, that it made it hard for me to relate to her. But ultimately, throughout the course of the novel, Belinda lets down the walls she built up and learns to trust her heart again. I found myself liking her more and more as she dealt with the scars from her past, and I liked her true personality emerging. The real Belinda is actually very passionate and feisty, and very protective of those she cares about. THAT Belinda I relate to and would want as a friend. The leap of faith Belinda takes to prove her trust and love for Nicholas truly warmed my heart and made me sigh with happiness.
Nicholas, the Marquess of Trubridge, is not quite what he seems at first glance. Popular opinion is that he deliberately thumbs his nose at his father, the Duke of Landsdowne, and lived a carefree life on the continent, until his father forces his hand to find a suitable bride. But there’s more to the story. I admired Nicholas wanting to make something of himself on his own, and I found his fondness for science interesting. I totally understood Nicholas lashing out at his controlling and overbearing father by doing everything possible to aggravate him. Despite Belinda’s initial impressions, Nicholas is caring, loyal, funny, and trustworthy and has a big heart. In other words, a man who is nothing like her first husband. I liked and rooted for him right away. He falls head over heels for Belinda right away, and I related to his frustration with Belinda’s doubts and reluctance to open up. But his determination to prove himself worthy of Belinda made me melt and love him even more.
I like battle of the sexes stories, and When the Marquess Met His Match is a great example. The sparks fly immediately, and Belinda and Nicholas butt heads the minute they meet. The war they wage with each other was funny and Laura uses it as a great opportunity to up the tension, conflict, and emotions between Nicholas and Belinda. The first part of the book reminds me a bit of Beatrice and Benedict from Shakespeare’s Much Ado when they insult and snipe at each other, but you know the attraction and lust is boiling underneath. In a good romance novel, the love scenes are just gratuitous, but they further the story and character development of the hero and heroine. That is definitely the case with this book. Laura does a great job of using the love scenes to show the increasing trust and intimacy between Belinda and Nicholas, and that is one of my favorite aspects of the book.
When the Marquess Met His Match is not my favorite Laura Lee Guhrke, but it is still a very good book. Laura definitely knows how to write a compelling story and engage the readers’ emotions. Readers who enjoy great writing and battle of the sexes story will enjoy this book. I am definitely looking forward to her next American Heiress in London book.