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The Marriage Bed Mass Market Paperback – Jun 2 2005


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (June 2 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060774738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060774738
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #605,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Laura Lee Guhrke graduated from Boise State University with a business degree. After seven years in advertising, a stint as a caterer, and several years managing the offices of her parents' construction and development companies, she decided writing was more fun. She has written eight historical romances and has been honored with the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. Laura lives in Idaho with a golden retriever named Sam, wholoves chasing tennis balls and digging up her garden.


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First Sentence
When those in society talked about Lord and Lady Hammond, there was one conclusion about the viscount and his wife no one bothered to dispute: They couldn't stand each other. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader TOP 500 REVIEWER on Dec 24 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Lord John Hammond and his wife Viola have been estranged for nine years. Shortly after their marriage Viola discovered that John had a mistress during their courtship. At the time they married John had ended his association with the mistress, paying her off with the purchase of a necklace. John had been forced to marry an heiress due to the state of his finances. Viola is the sister of a duke, and came with a large dowry. When Viola discovered the existence of the mistress and the expensive gift purchased, with as Viola saw it her brother's money, she was furious.

Viola had always been her brothers favourite, he had doted on her all her life. She had insisted on marrying John against her brothers wishes. She was madly in love with him, and thought he loved her. Obviously that was not true. So at seventeen years old, she is alone. John having left the house after a month of Viola denying him the marital bed.

This arrangement remained until John's circumstances radically altered. His cousin and heir Percy and his son, have suddenly died. Now faced with no suitable heir to the estate, John is forced to make viola reconcile with him, and produce his own heir. But viola has no intentions of a reconciliation with John.

First read for me by this author. This is a very well written story. What I found interesting was how little women of this period had so few rights. Viola would have happily divorced John but that option was not open to women at this time. Whereas John could easily divorced Viola if he so chose. Viola has had to bear the constant gossip of John's dalliances, in the years since he left her. Making her the subject of idle gossip. But because he's a man no one ever thought he was in the wrong.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KMont on Oct. 15 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, I knew this would be an emotional tear jerker before I'd even turned the first page. What is it about characters and stories that go so horribly wrong at some point, and you just know you're in for a rocky, emotional read, but you go ahead and punish yourself anyway? Because, for me at least, it is so worth it when the characters reach a beautiful reconciliation. So, yeah, I'm willing to shed a few tears and mope for the hero and heroine, cry, laugh and cheer them on because that sort of reaction is what makes a book worthy in my opinion. When you feel strongly for the characters, you know you've found a winner.

John Hammond knew he'd be inheriting a viscountcy one day, but the yoke of responsibility was never one he worried about. Why worry when he has a relative to rely on for such boring things as an heir? When the unthinkable happens to his beloved relative, John is again faced with the fact that he must have an heir. Thankfully, he already has a wife...now he just has to convince her to let him back in her good graces after almost nine years of being out of them. Lady Viola has gotten on with her life after her husband trounced her heart in a most unforgivable manner. She no longer needs the unscrupulous man, but when John enters her life once more, demanding she do her wifely duty, her carefully constructed world comes crumbling down around her. What is she to do in the face of the one person whom she thought she could trust with her happiness? John is determined to claim his wife again, but the real question is has he learned anything from his past mistakes?

As wretched as I felt for both the hero and heroine, I just could not stop till I had completely finished their tale. John and Viola are the type of historical romance couple readers will either love or hate.
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By Rosewood on Aug. 17 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book portraying how a marriage can be rebuilt when 2 people still love each other
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 66 reviews
57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Really 3 1/2 stars -- Fascinating premise but falters a bit in the execution July 8 2005
By ellejir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is a challenge to write a historical romance with a serial adulterer as the hero, but Laura Lee Guhrke *almost* pulls it off. The hero of "The Marriage Bed" is Lord John Hammond, a charming, handsome rakish heartbreaker who has been estranged from his wife, Lady Viola Hammond for eight years at the beginning of the story. Six months after their wedding, romantic young Viola had been stunned to learn that John had been keeping a mistress all during their courtship while simultaneously professing his love for Viola. Sickened by his duplicity and realizing that he had only married her for her money, the headstrong Viola had locked John out of her bedroom and refused to listen to his (actually, rather lame) explanations. Fed up with her behavior and accusations, John left her after a month and over the years has had a string of mistresses. Viola, meanwhile, has devoted herself to charity work since divorce is not an option.

When his cousin's death unexpectedly leaves John without a trustworthy heir to his title and property, he approaches Viola with a demand to again live as husband and wife in order to produce a son and heir. Viola is unenthusiastic about the plan since he broke her heart as a young bride and since then has humiliated her for years with his series of mistresses. John proceeds to try to charm and seduce his way back into a reluctant Viola's life.

John is certainly a charmer, but his careless treatment of the women in his life certainly is a less than heroic quality. More fatally for his character (IMO), he lacks any sense of self-awareness--he does not seem to know what a jerk he is. I tend to like flawed heroes and heroines, and I liked John fairly well although he remained a bit too selfish and immature for most of the book for my taste. Viola is a reasonably good heroine--a proud woman trying desperately not to fall for the same lines and act that she had when she first fell in love with her husband.

I thought that the premise had a lot of potential for exploring issues of betrayal and forgiveness within a marriage, and when the book concentrated on these themes I liked it a great deal. ("Do you love me?" "Of course, I adore you." This exchange from their courtship is burned into Viola's mind as a symbol of John's duplicity.) I liked less the scenes of John trying to seduce and sweet-talk his way back into Viola's life as if the past eight years had not happened. I had a lot of trouble believing that she would fall for the same old routine from him, particularly since she knew that his seduction was motivated by a desire for an heir this time and not by rediscovered love.

The story is engaging with the focus fully on the hero and heroine and their attempts to rebuild their failed marriage. I liked this book and admire the author's willingness to take on a very controversial topic.

Recommended to historical romance readers who enjoy character-driven romance with flawed heroes and heroines (with warnings to those for whom adultery is a major turn-off in a romance novel.)
49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
An aggravating read Nov. 3 2007
By Mae Adamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should have been titled Foolish. Because that is what the herioine is for accepting this degenerate masquarading as a "hero" and that is how I felt after wasting my time with this book. I liked the character of Viola from her appearances in other books by Guhrke. I hoping for something wonderful for her. Instead, the writer chose to attach the herioine to one of the worst male leads(he is no hero)ever. Lies, manipulation,infidelity, disrespect,emotional detachment and, oh yes, a bastard child. Is there no end to the humiliation Viola will endure for the love of John? And what does John bring to the table? He's witty, charming, a great lover(lots of experience) and, only after his biggest transgression has been revealed, his "love". I take that the reader is left to surmise that John's reaction to his daughter is proof that he has grown to value family and no longer looks upon Viola as his brood mare. Condraduatlations, jerk.

John is a man with absolutely no respect for women. He is a character unworthy of a fine heroine like Viola. And this is a book that was unworthy of my time. Unless you are sympathetic to doormats or think neglect and emotional abuse are attractive, steer clear of this one and save yourself the aggravation.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I hate the hero too March 24 2011
By digruntled reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
oh my gosh, I seriously hate the hero too. He's lame and a loser. He's not sorry for anything he's done to the heroine. Spoiler. He's just like oh I cheated, I'm not going to apologize for any of that because it's in the past and I can't change it (of course that would mean everything bad he did is fine in his mind because it's happened already and thus is in the past and unchangeable). He's actually like a real life cheating husband except worse because after he tries to tell her that all those other women didn't mean anything to him and that it was all just S-E-X he mentions that he only really cared about or had a deep relationship with one of the women he cheated on her with. I wish she could have gotten a divorce from him because I could see her a lot happier with some other guy than forever stuck raising her idiot husband and his mistress's son. The hero never see's things from her point of view. He's like a tiger woods except with a wife that can't legally leave him.
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Sure, Go Ahead and Make Me Cry. March 27 2006
By KMont - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, I knew this would be an emotional tear jerker before I'd even turned the first page. What is it about characters and stories that go so horribly wrong at some point, and you just know you're in for a rocky, emotional read, but you go ahead and punish yourself anyway? Because, for me at least, it is so worth it when the characters reach a beautiful reconciliation. So, yeah, I'm willing to shed a few tears and mope for the hero and heroine, cry, laugh and cheer them on because that sort of reaction is what makes a book worthy in my opinion. When you feel strongly for the characters, you know you've found a winner.

John Hammond knew he'd be inheriting a viscountcy one day, but the yoke of responsibility was never one he worried about. Why worry when he has a relative to rely on for such boring things as an heir? When the unthinkable happens to his beloved relative, John is again faced with the fact that he must have an heir. Thankfully, he already has a wife...now he just has to convince her to let him back in her good graces after almost nine years of being out of them. Lady Viola has gotten on with her life after her husband trounced her heart in a most unforgivable manner. She no longer needs the unscrupulous man, but when John enters her life once more, demanding she do her wifely duty, her carefully constructed world comes crumbling down around her. What is she to do in the face of the one person whom she thought she could trust with her happiness? John is determined to claim his wife again, but the real question is has he learned anything from his past mistakes?

As wretched as I felt for both the hero and heroine, I just could not stop till I had completely finished their tale. John and Viola are the type of historical romance couple readers will either love or hate. Both have been wounded by the other and simply cannot come to terms with their differences and so they trade hurtful barbs and cutting remarks for years. The reason they worked for me, I confess with no small amount of glee, is that John does have a remarkable revelation about his character, his utter disregard for the feelings of the women in his life. He was a lier, he was a cheater and he broke hearts. In a way, this historical is unique because it tells of the awakening of a typical "rogue" and how he comes to realize how his actions have hurt others, especially his estranged wife. I just love it when a character like his gets what's coming to him. In this case he got an in-the-face dousing of pure and simple reality. It just took the love of an exceptional woman like Viola to help him accomplish it. Did he deserve her? No, not really. But did they deserve a chance at happiness? Absolutely, and that is what this book is all about. I just love it too when I find a new author to read and I am planning to backtrack to her previous titles before this one. Many interesting secondary characters - i.e. Viola's brother Anthony and his wife Daphne, their mutual friend Dylan - all have their own stories prior to this one. (See "His Every Kiss" and "Guilty Pleasures") Despite the heartache this one evoked I give it five stars for being an absolute pleasure to read.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A risky premise May 20 2011
By C. J. Rae - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
To get the preliminaries out of the way, Guhrke took a risk with this novel. Not too many romances are written about two people where adultery is involved, unless it involves jettisoning the unfaithful partner out of a cannon. I am disappointed with the blurb on Amazon - the plot has nothing to do with John Hammond being in love with his cousin's wife and everything to do with the fact that he is young, frightened of the sudden responsibility he's inherited with his father's death and a product of his society, where it is acceptable to marry for money and keep a mistress on the side - and he chooses to marry for those reasons rather than for love, to the tragic disillusionment of his new wife, Viola, the only sister of a wealthy duke where she has been sheltered and protected...and just a little spoiled.

Please do not read beyond this point if you dislike spoilers.

I can understand why some people dislike John as a protagonist - he is unfaithful, disrespectful of the majority of women in his life and extremely emotionally detached. This is not the experience that most readers in the romance genre are looking for. However, I found John a very realistic character in all his flaws and found the novel fulfilling in his emotional journey toward a greater self-awareness of his own flaws. I particularly found the scene where he discovers his bastard son very emotionally grabbing because it is in that moment that the character realizes exactly what he has to lose and how his emotional detachment has contributed to his disrespectful attitude toward women. Ultimately, John is extremely imperfect and his actions have had consequences for him and for his wife, Viola. However, one theme I do continually pick up the romance genre for is to see an imperfect hero redeemed, which Guhrke ultimately managed to do for me.

What startles me is how much I disliked Viola as a heroine at times. I found her behavior to be extremely spoiled and childish. It's not that she doesn't have the right to be hurt and angry with John, it was her general attitude toward those around her. What redeemed her for me was that Guhrke made it clear, I thought, that Viola's own character flaws included being spoiled by her brother and never having really been forced to grow up, which as she starts to work to understand what happened within her marriage and how John's adultery had nothing to do with her and everything to do with him that she really begins to come into her own, grow up, and stop running away from her problems.

The biggest theme of this novel, if you will, is an exploration of what happens when the lines of communication are not there in a relationship, when they break down. Viola is very good at communicating her immediate needs and emotions, but not as good at empathizing with others, preferring to make quick judgments and never waver. John suffered a emotionally cold early childhood and lost the only person he had to connect with, his sister, in a tragic accident that he witnessed at a young age (which I would have liked to know a little more about - no more than a page or so of additional information, since it truly is a past event that shaped John but that we don't need to go into extensive detail about). For a child to become emotionally detached with that kind of background, in this type of society, which does not value women as much more than possessions and brood mares, makes logical sense. John does show that where he does make an emotional connection (to his cousin Percy and his wife), that he is very capable of emotional depth. To the rest of the world, he present a charming, likable facade that discourages people from trying to probe further (including Viola when they first meet) for thinking that they already know everything there is to know about John Hammond.

Ultimately, when I read historical romance, I am more forgiving of adulterous heroes and heroines. Because, frankly, there aren't a lot of options. We live in a society where divorce is acceptable and adultery generally is the end of a relationship. John and Viola do not. If there is going to be a Happily Ever After for these two characters, they are going to have to fight through the mess that they've created of their marriage to achieve it.

Bottom line? If adultery is a deal breaker for you in fiction, you will not enjoy this book. Otherwise, you will probably enjoy it.

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