Friday, April 13, 2007

The Marriage Bed by Laura Lee Guhrke

The times I have read about John and Viola Hammond's relationship (in both Guilty Pleasure and His Every Kiss) I admit to having developed and affinity to their situation. It seems that Viola despised her husband passionately and John could care less about his wife. I really could not see them ever reconciling yet that is exactly what Guhrke set out to do in this book.

John Hammond has led a life of carelessness but he is finally facing his responsibilities when he finds he needs an heir. John always thought that his title would pass on to his cousin Percy and then his son, but Percy goes ahead and dies of scarlet fever! Now he has to find a way to reconcile with his wife Viola to assure an heir that will secure his viscount title doesn't pass onto his other idiot cousin.

Viola had been hurt by this man in the past when she discovered that he had not married her for love but for the money her dowry brought. She shut him out of the marriage bed then and he sought refuge in other womens arms. He now wants her to forgive his transgressions of the past so that she will allow him to return to that marriage bed to beget the heir he needs. Well, she will have no part of it. Yet, society dictates that if her husband comes to claim her, he has the legal right to take her away, and take her away he does, forcing his presence in her life and unsettling her with her wit and laughter.

What John had not realized was that more than making love to Viola, he missed the love Viola gave him so freely and he is determined to gain access not just to the marriage bed but into the heart of his wife.

On the down side of this one is that Viola was not a very likable character, she caused the riff in her marriage by her stubbornness and her lake of faith in the relationship she was starting to develop with her new husband . Then John went off and didn't fight for her adding fuel to the fire. I had a hard time believing that after so many years of hating her husband Viola just suddenly accepted him and yet Guhrke made the journey of these two back to each other so enticing that I could accept the spontaneous acceptance of Viola's husband back into her life and that alone made it a great book.

Grade: B+


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