Secret Desires Of A Gentleman Mass Market Paperback – Sep 3 2008
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
About the Author
Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned more than twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction's highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First, I did not like that 12 years had passed since Philip had sent the Maria away. (I guess all the girl bachelors have to be pushing 30) From a plot point of view, it bothered me because the way Philip was portrayed,it to seemed to me implausible that he would not have married during that time span. Second,the potential for the previous girl bachelors to meet, dish and advise Maria was wasted! I would have liked it better if Emma and Prudence would met at Marias shop and talked as the independent women they were, but no we had to go back to their old boarding house for tea and have the landlady, Mrs. Morris,lecture Maria on the importance of virtue and reputation. I felt the whole time I was reading this scene that the only reason for Maria to be there at tea was to introduce the reader to the next girl bachelor for the next book in the series. Third, the love story had such potential, but the time spent between the Philip and Maria as they were opening up, revealing their true feelings and admitting their love for each other was too brief. The author built up the story and in my opinion let me down with a final scene that I truly hated!!! *Spoiler Alert* in comments if your interested in why I hated the ending.
This book really disapointed me. I loved "And then he kissed her" the first Girl-Bachelor book. Emma and Harry were such great characters, the story was fresh and plot held my attention. The second book in the series. Wicked ways of a Duke was subpar.I have yet to read the whole thing though I read parts of it and the end because it could not keep my interest. I hope that Laura Lee Gurke gives us something new in the next book in the series and gets away from the aristoracy, please champion a captain of industry or a Military officer for god sakes. I will have a hard time believing if the next book follows the formula of the first three books that four women from Mrs. Morris boarding house would all marry into the aristoracy. If that is the case Mrs. morris will be a rich women because she will be able to charge whatever rent she wants because girls be flocking to her door since her establishment seems to be the hot spot in London to marry and aristocrat!
Maria is supposed to be one of the finest pastry chefs in Europe. Her father was once the chef to the "hero," Phillip. Because Maria is the daughter of the help, Phillip cannot get over the difference in their social positions, and treats Maria shabbily throughout almost the entire book. There is no heat or chemistry between them; when he grabs her and kisses her, then later basically attacks her in a carriage, it seemed to make no sense. They really don't seem to like each other very much, and it's not the kind of "they don't like each other but there is a lot of tension building" fun sort of plot you might expect.
Perhaps the most egregious part of the book is the ending. Phillip proposes to her in front of a whole roomful of people at a dinner. This might have been romantic, but somehow I just kept wishing it would end. It felt stilted and embarrassing and completely implausible. And then there is the matter of Maria's greatest joy in life, which is supposed to be cooking. She is a marvelous pastry chef, as previously mentioned, and her lifelong dream is to have her own pastry shop. She finally achieves this at the beginning of the book, and chapter after chapter we are reminded of her love of and dedication to her job, which is really her passion. After Phillip proposes, Maria decides, in one sentence, to give it all up! Again, this didn't feel real or authentic to the character.
Guhrke is a good writer, so her vivid descriptions and excellent secondary characters (especially Lawrence, the younger and much more appealing brother) earn this book two stars. But the lead characters and story just seem "off." A disappointing entry in an otherwise good series.
Maria Martingale, like Emmaline Dove in the wonderful first book of the series And Then He Kissed Her, goes into trade, opening up her own pastry shop. Of course, the perfect location for her shop is right next door to the Hawthorne brothers, with whom she has a complicated history, to put it mildly.
What ensues is a charming homage to the seminal romance novel, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, with Phillip Hawthorne as a nice stand-in for Mr. Darcy, as well as the classic movie Sabrina - The Centennial Collection. Guhrke does a great job of integrating these two timeless plots and bringing them alive during the Victorian era, a unique time for women in history when "girl-bachelors" did indeed start to "mess with typewriters and latch-keys" (from A Room With A View ... although E.M. Forester's Howards End (Dover Thrift Editions) is probably a more accurate and sober depiction of the era).
Honestly, the only reason why I couldn't give this one five stars is because of the overly sappy ending, which was totally cringe-worthy. But the rest of the novel more than makes up for the ending!
I thought at first it was going to be another homerun for Ms. Guhrke, but it soon became clear that it had problems. One of which was the attitude of the hero. Yes, he changes his tune in time, but he spends quite a bit of the book pontificating on how he is so much more superior than our lowly pastry chef heroine. And while that is true from society's perspective, considering their history it makes him seem uncaring, snobbish and sometimes downright mean. It would have been nice to see him show a little more appreciation for his 'true north'.
In some ways it was refreshing seeing him come to realize that he had always been in love with Maria, the chef's daughter, but it took just a little too long for him to realize it. For her part, I really liked Maria, except for those 3 or 4 times when she sounded like a card carrying suffragette. The 'you must respect me, I'm an independent woman' routine didn't seem appropriate for the time period and made her seem a little unreasonable. Not that Phillip helped anything with his stark proclamations and demands.
But it was all interesting enough that I might have gotten over all that if the ending hadn't been so rushed. It could have used another chapter or an epilogue at the very least. I was not crazy about the public make-up scene either. Totally out of character for the straightlaced Marquess of Hawthorne. I'm sure that was intentional to show us how much he had changed and how much he loved Maria after all, but it didn't ring true to me.
Not the worst book I've read, but it could have been better.
Unlike other posters on this board, I found myself liking Phillip much better tha Maria. He may have seemed like a snob, but all his objections about a union between Maria and him or his brother are valid and in keeping with the times. In comparison, Maria's complete disregard of the social gap or her utter unawareness of it seemed very unreal and conceited. I found it ironic and contradictory that the author chose to write a series about girl-bachelors - independent women in trade whose merit lies not in their birth but in their intelligence and character - and yet still found it necessary to pair them all up with rich aristocrats. And if the author insists on such pairings, why fail to explore the social ramifications? It's a little hard for me to believe the society would have so readily accepted both Prudence's and Emma's matches. This series has so much potential to be so much more complex and richer. It's a pity that the author chose to make it into romance-lite. I would love it if one of the next books in the series featured a boy-next-door hero - someone who's actually worth less than the price of a small island.
As for the story, the biggest flaw is that the central romance wasn't developed enough. We find out early on that Phillip was in love with Maria, and has been for years, but Maria remained clueless and it wasn't until the book is two thirds over that she exhibited any kind of feeling towards him at all. I didn't get the feeling that she thought much about him at all prior to his big declaration, and even afterwards it still felt pretty one-sided.
Still, this was an entertaining and quick read and I would definitely check out other books in the series if given the chance.