The Wicked Ways Of A Duke Mass Market Paperback – Dec 4 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The latest installment in Guhrke's Girl-Bachelor Chronicles (after And Then He Kissed Her) is a capable Victorian that finds an unlikely heiress and a penniless duke headed for the altar. Prudence Bosworth is working as a lowly seamstress when she discovers that her absentee father has died a wealthy man in America and named her his sole beneficiary. But in order to inherit his vast fortune, the will stipulates that she must marry within the year. Prudence is pleasantly surprised when Rhys De Winter, the duke of St. Cyres, showers her with attention and affection. Naturally, he's hoping to restore his family's coffers, but is caught off guard when a very real attraction builds between them. Though Prudence's reverent, unsuspecting attitude toward St. Cyres might strike readers as unrealistically naïve, they should enjoy the transformation it inspires in selfish St. Cyres, and the distinctive conclusion is satisfying. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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. When she's not tapping away at her keyboard, Laura spends time relearning how to ski, mastering the wakeboard grab, and trying to actually hit a golf ball.
Top Customer Reviews
Prudence is later shocked that day after returning to her lodgings to find a solicitor waiting for her. She then discovers her father, who abandoned her mother when she was pregnant and had fled to America, has died and left her a fortune. She's now an heiress worth a million pounds a year. Rhys the Duke of St.Cyres soon hears of prudence's changed circumstances and as he's stoney broke devises a plan to marry her. But he pretends that he has no idea that she has money, and Prudence who has already put him on a pedestal swallows every lie that falls from his lips.
I liked this story Rhys was a really wicked Duke, and despite the state of his finances he lives a hedonistic lifestyle, the lies he tells Prudence were not nice. As for Prudence she's so enamoured of him she can't see the wood for the trees, she's a true romantic, and very innocent where men are concerned. When it all comes to light he gets his comeuppance. Despite all that I really liked him, I liked Prudence as well. This is a nice read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Prudence Bosworth is a 28 year old "girl bachelor" who has been on her own in London since the age of 17. Her aunt and uncle took her in after her mother died but Prudence and her aunt and cousin always had problems. She saw herself as a burden for the financially strapped family and after one too many disagreements took herself off to London to make her way in the world. She works as a seamstress at Madam Marceau's and has managed to work herself into the position of head seamstress after eleven years of hard work. Prudence knows that she is not considered to be a beauty and that the only way for her to have a 29" waist is for her to be laced into her corset so tightly she can just barely breath. She is the type person who always sees the best in people and makes the best of any situation she is in. I liked Prudence. She reminded me of a perfectly normal woman and I actually could not find any fault with her for believing what she was told. Rhys de Winter, the Duke of St.Cyres comes to her rescue at a time when she needs a little outside help. But Prudence is a very practical woman, she knows there will never be another meeting between the Duke and the seamstress.
The Duke of St. Cyres (pronounced sincere - thanks, Ms Guhrke!)is a rogue from his head to his toes. Very early on we get the full force of his character when he rescues a serving girl from the unwanted attentions of another member of the peerage (with Prudence looking on) and then later winds up with the serving girl in his bed. And believe me, he was NOT thinking about Prudence! As you will know from reading the description of this book, St. Cyres (at 33) has just become Duke after the death of his uncle. He is totally awash in debt. He has spent the last ten years living in Italy and spending every penny he had. Suddenly all the responsibility for the title and lands with all that implies falls into the lap of one who doesn't want it but must find a way to save it. Let's all hear it for the idea of 'rake marries an heiress for her money'!
Several things were different about this book. It is an historical novel but is set in 1894 so there are some modern conveniences most of us are not used to finding when we read novels set in the Regency Period (which is much more prevelant in my experience). We therefore have things such as electric lighting at the Opera House and railroad travel. These things are mentioned in a very nonchalant way and don't really play much of a part in the story, with the exception of St.Cyres buying Prudence a train of her own (with HER expectation of money, of course). Basically, this reads just like a Regency.
Something I really spent some time wondering about is why Ms Guhrke made the inheritance for Prudence so incredibly HUGE. It was so big that it was unbelievable. Just a niggle in my consciousness, but it did niggle. Also, why did Prudence do what she did at the end of the book? I know Rhys had lied to her over and over but I found that to be out of character for her and I didn't like it. I had actually hoped the author would be able to withstand any pressure put on her and leave the ending the way she led us to believe it would end. I, for one, would have been much happier (and I think Rhys would have too, deep down!). Another bothersome factor were the excerpts from the daily London papers which began each chapter. They actually told what WAS GOING to happen in the chapter. Why? I didn't like that at all. Another irritant was that Henry Bosworth changed his name to Henry Abernathy when he went to America. Why did people in London begin to call Prudence by the name of Abernathy but Rhys called her Prudence Bosworth? Awkward and not explained as far as I can find. Also, why was there only one suitor for an heiress with such a large inheritance? You will not often hear me say that a book needed to be longer but this one needed some fierce competition. Cousin Robert might as well have not even been mentioned and it was obvious that Rhys was a sweetie. Where was the competition, if not for Prudence at least for the money? Just some information for those of you who want to be warned, there are two episodes of a sexual nature in the book, not counting the serving girl because it is not explicit. Quite honestly, they do happen before Prudence and Rhys marry but they are very well done and unless you just don't want to read about that at all, they probably won't offend your sensibilities.
My overall opinion: I gave this book three stars because a)I didn't find it very exciting, b)the family secret St.Cyres was hiding was ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY OBVIOUS, c)I didn't like what Prudence did in the ending, d)I doubt very seriously that I will ever want to read this book again, and e) too many niggly bits make for a three star rating. It isn't a bad book, it just isn't as good as every other book I've ever read by this author. Way too many opportunities missed for making this a super, good book!
Rhys does a few things that evening that captures Prudence's attention and respect and endears him to her. Knowing her place in society, she admires the Duke from a far, knowing nothing will ever come of it.
Rhys De Winter is the heir to a crumbling estate and enormous debt. His one goal is to marry quickly and marry rich. When the seamstress he fancied for a tryst turns out to have a change in luck and status, his plans start evolving.
This is a Cinderella story; a girl goes from rags to riches overnight all the while falling in love with someone who was once out of her reach and yet now, is attainable. Though I pretty much knew every twist and turn the author was going to take, I still found myself enjoying the read and the characters within.
I love the historical romances when the author can truly transport her reader to the time period; and this one did. I could almost hear the swish of layered fabrics on the women's gowns, hear the echoes in the empty castle, and smell the lavender in the lavender house. There weren't too many surprises along the way, but it didn't take away from the pleasure of reading. Enjoy!
Cherise Everhard, March 2008
I liked this book, but I only gave it 4 stars because, while it was very good and I heartily recommend it, it didn't quite have the emotional punch of other LLG books. I loved the premise--poor seamstress inherits pots and pots of money from her father. Naturally, this then puts her in the path of money hungry noblemen. Enter our hero--Rhys. We know right away he needs Prudence's money, but I enjoyed the path to true love with all the bumps we know are along the way. Rhys made no pretense of what he was after, but of course he didn't tell Prudence.
Laura Lee Guhrke is an excellent author, an autobuy for me, and one whose books I anxiously await. Her writing is outstanding in this one, but it didn't quite have the gripping quality I was hoping for. Prudence was a female who was right up there with the great female heroines in books today, so I guess it was Rhys who let me down. I liked him, but he left me a little cold. Maybe it was subconsciously because I don't care all that much for blond heroes.
Anyway, this is a book far above the level of a lot of romance novels I have slogged through, but it just didn't quite grab me. On the whole, though, I am still anxiously awaiting the next bachelor girl story.
So where do I start?!
Prudence was sympathetic, but after awhile the urge to slap her grew a little too strong. I liked her when the book started: she's independent, works hard, is kind and generous, smart (or so we thought), and she doesn't have the beautiful face and figure (she's supposed to be a little plump --- don't let the cover drawings fool you) that heroines often do.
My opinion changed pretty quickly as I became increasingly frustrated with her. Prudence is supposed to be 28 years old and have lived in London *by herself* for 11 years . . . yet she's still so naive and gullible?!?! I didn't view this as sweet and innocent --- which is Rhys' interpretation --- but just plain annoying and dumb. She acts childish, is overly romantic, and is basically a lovesick puppy who acts far too desperate for a man who doesn't seem to have many redeemable qualities --- if any. I *love* reformed rake stories, don't get me wrong, but usually there is some underlying goodness that can be accessed; Rhys is by no means cruel or mean and at least he has that going for him, however my overwhelming feeling towards him was definitely one of contempt.
Rhys is selfish, lazy, uncaring, and solely driven by lust. He is *unbelievably* manipulative and even though we sometimes have heroes who are the bad-boys-we-love-to-love, this went way beyond that. It was kind of like St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas' IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN --- i.e. he's bad enough to be the villain of this book but good enough to be the hero of the next one.
We see no process of change --- up until the day before Prudence discovers his duplicity, he's still acting irresponsible and lazy. Then he spends the day touring one of his estates that is in horrible condition, and all of a sudden he's Mr. man-of-the-people, ready to settle down with his wife, have children, take on work and duties . . . even though the day before he had still be wanting to shirk his ducal responsibilities and spend his time with Prudence traveling around Europe and never settling down.
One of the most unbelievable and annoying things about Prudence and the plot is that never once is she suspicious of Rhys and his pretense that he has no idea of her change in circumstances. It's essential how Guhrke decided to have her story play out, and that's really the only reason it's there, because HELLO?! Has he not spoken to another living being in London or read a single paper?!?! The seamstress-turned-millionaire-heiress is supposed to be the talk of the town, so unless he's a hermit, how would it be possible that he hasn't heard and doesn't hear for two weeks?!
Secondly, the belief that they love each other is utterly and completely ridiculous. We're dealing with books of ~300 pages here, however some authors are able to truly show you and make you completely believe that two characters who didn't know one another before have indeed fallen in love with one another and will have their HEA. (Mary Balogh comes to mind, as I find that is true with almost all her books and I'm always amazed at how complex her characters are and how intricate her stories --- especially compared to a lot of other HR authors out there).
This is seriously how the story goes: Rhys and Prudence meet at a ball, speak a few sentences; they meet at the opera, speak a little longer; he follows her to a museum, great conversation; they have a nice afternoon together alone, with a picnic and fishing; . . . and that's it, she's in love with him and wants to marry him. I'm sorry, but it would take more than two brief conversations and two afternoons for me to decide to tie myself for life to another person, especially in that day and age when women didn't have the rights they do today.
Prudence is able to choose her husband --- why decide after a week acquaintance that this is the guy for you? Basically: lust. Yup, that is pretty much what drives both sides of that relationship. She loves how he's good looking (how wonderful for her), he likes her "luscious" body --- and the fact that she's loaded (how wonderful for him).
1) And Then He Kissed Her --- Emma
2) THE WICKED WAYS OF A DUKE --- Prudence
3) Secret Desires of a Gentleman --- Maria
4) With Seduction in Mind --- Daisy
The hero was unlikable, the heroine was pitiful, the romance was completely unrealistic and implausible, there was lust but no love, and the only good part of the entire book was the actual blow-up when Prudence discovers the treachery and the unusual ending. *SKIP IT* and read Guhrke's Guilty Pleasures or And Then He Kissed Her instead.