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Scandal of the Year

Avon. (Abandoned at the Altar, Bk. 2). Feb. 2011. 356p. ISBN 9780061963162. pap. $7.99. HISTORICAL
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Aidan Carr, the twice-jilted Duke of Trathen, is in search of a suitable wife, and the last thing he needs back in his life and haunting his thoughts is Lady Julia Yardley, the outrageously unconventional divorcée who scandalized society and nearly ruined him the year before by naming him as the "other man" in her divorce proceedings. But Julia needs to pay her debts, and Aidan needs a social secretary, and so the mysterious Mrs. Boodle, the duke's reputedly stout, middle-aged, widowed secretary, is born, throwing the wary pair together and opening the door to the fierce emotions that still sizzle between them—and their scandalous potential. Well-done, critically placed flashbacks add character depth and historical perspective, while period references, such as the heroine's love of her Mercedes motorcar, keep readers firmly aware of the early Edwardian setting.
VERDICT Witty banter, lively humor, and electric sexual tension provide an exquisite counterpoint to the more serious issues of spousal abuse and the lack of women's rights in this poignant, passionate, spicy story that pairs a marriage-averse heroine with a caring, determined hero and stretches out the disquiet until the very end. Readers will sigh with delicious relief when the final page is turned in the latest stunning addition to Guhrke's "Abandoned at the Altar" series. RITA Award winner Guhrke (Wedding of the Season) lives in Idaho.

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