I knew that I would enjoy How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days from the moment that the heroine (Edie) first appeared in When the Marquess Met His Match, the first book in the American Heiress in London series. The entire situation that Edie was in fascinated me and I was excited to see her and her husband reunite. But, I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book and think it is definitely in the running when it comes to my favorite Laura Lee Guhrke historicals.
Edie, Duchess of Margrave, was an American heiress who snatched up the catch of the Season five years ago. But, what nobody knew was that Edie had devised a way to prevent her Season from being a total disaster by proposing marriage to Stuart, Duke of Margrave which would benefit both of them. Edie wouldn't be forced to return to New York City where an unfortunate scandal follows her everywhere and Stuart would have the funds to restore his estates. But, the catch is that Stuart (who is known for his desire to live permanently in Africa) will leave England forever and Edie will take over management of the estates. Things go pretty well for the estranged couple until a near-death experience inspires Stuart to return and try to establish a real relationship with his wife.
Edie is an intelligent woman who understands that she is not the most beautiful or the most socially adept. She was ruined in New York after a handsome suitor took advantage of her and is, understandably, very skittish about physical interactions with men. I admired her determination to stay in England and do everything in her power to insure her survival. I also liked how Edie learned the finer details of estate management in her husband's absence. She has most of the power in this relationship which I thought was an interesting twist and LLG did it in a fairly realistic fashion.
Stuart was just a great hero who was so sweet and understanding about Edie's fears. He fully embraced his unique marriage when it was proposed to him, but figured out quickly how amazing his new wife was. He also understood that his growing attraction to her would only end in disaster (on his side) so he had hightailed it out of England. When Stuart is forced to return after nearly dying in Africa, he is determined to make his marriage work though he knows how skittish Edie is. I loved how he never gave up on the marriage yet never tried to force Edie into anything. Stuart is a great example of a beta hero who still has a backbone.
The plot of this book focused mostly on Edie and Stuart and their attempts to make their marriage a real one. They spend time with each other (which I always love) and talk about everything from business to just basic everyday things. I also appreciated the fact that Edie did not keep her secret from Stuart very long and that he was willing to do anything to help her. But, it was nice to see that (while he kept his personal feelings about the situation to himself) he was determined to see justice done for her.
How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days is just an enjoyable story with two very likable main characters who finally figure out how perfect they are together. Laura Lee Guhrke excels at bringing both of them to life and making the reader fall in love with them as the story goes along.
I received a free e-galley of this book from HarperCollins/Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.