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The Marriage Bed (Avon Romantic Treasure) [Mass Market Paperback]

Laura Lee Guhrke
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 4.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reissue edition (July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060774738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060774738
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 10.6 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sure, Go Ahead and Make Me Cry. 31 May 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sensuous re awakening 28 May 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First let me say I love Laura lee Gurkhe and this book is my favourite of hers and just about my favourite of the genre.

Briefly the story is Lord Hammond and his young wife Viola have lived seperate lives for years never being in the same house or attending the events where they know the other will be.

Hammond receives the news his beloved cousin and his son have died.

Hammond had never worried about an heir to his estates and titles but this devastating news means he must win his beautiful wife back to his bed after his years of keeping mistresses there.

The slow build up to the re awakening of a passion they only felt for one another is delicious.

I cannot recommend it highly enough I have never written a review before but feel that after reading others reviews it is only right I share my joy about this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acceptable Read - nothing outstanding 1 Mar 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the start the characters did not engage my interest - they sadly lacked depth, tension and passion.

This may be due to the fact that the lead male character strayed from the 'marriage bed' after not having 'relations' with his wife for one whole month! Eight years and 5 mistresses later fate dictates that he fulfils his titled position within society and suddenly needs an heir hence the necessity to renew his relationship with his wife. The lead seems to have no inclination that he leaves love struck women in his wake and doesn't show any compassion or remorse. Admittedly the pace picks up towards the end of the book but it all seemed so false - I wanted to be swept along with the passion, tension and sexual awareness but sadly the booked didn't awaken these emotions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A TROUBLED MARRIAGE 24 Dec 2012
By L. Sims TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really 3 1/2 stars -- Fascinating premise but falters a bit in the execution 8 July 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.)
43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An aggravating read 3 Nov 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.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I hate the hero too 25 Mar 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.
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sure, Go Ahead and Make Me Cry. 27 Mar 2006
By K. Montgomery - 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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars PISSED ME OFF 5 Jun 2013
By ASpoon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
First something positive, I loved the fact the author brought back some of my favorite characters...Anthony Duke of Tremore and Daphne his duchess. I wonder how life continued for them.

Now for the negative, I know this is just a book, however having been where Viola has been, it was just depressing reading about how her husband treated her. And it's such a shame that women in that era had to endure that. But she had a damn good idea about going to American and starting a new life and I think she had other options, like Anthony her brother could have easily stopped her income just to spite her husband and leave him broke, buying women jewelry with HER MONEY...what an ass...she could have sought out a lover that was well skilled in dueling and started an affair and her husband would have to request a duel and be killed...so many options. But NO, I was just DONE when he had that baby outside his marriage and Viola just instantly started to take care of the baby, like really how much of a fool can you be at this point....Viola deserved so much better, too bad she didn't seem to think so.

By the way...one part of the book just had me throwing my hands in the air...when her husband finally opened up about his sisters death like immediately once he finished his sentence, Viola started to give him oral pleasure...This came out of NO WHERE...I mean the author took a complete left at this point...
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