This was my first experience with Ms. Guhrke's work and I must say that it was a pleasant surprise. I was attracted to the story since I love rags to riches stories.
We meet Prudence Bosworth, lead seamstress, as she is mending the torn hem of a spoiled society miss. On the surface, Prudence appears too good, as she takes abuse and replies "yes ma'am". Until she fantasizes stabbing Lady Alberta Denville in the leg with a needle, which I think would have been worth the fall out, as the girl deserved that and more. Then Rhys, the Duke of St. Cyr comes in and all the women in the room, including Prudence, are watching him. We learn that Rhys is a penniless, indebted duke, who is looking for an heiress to marry. Lady Alberta, a wealthy heiress has set her sights on Rhys. When Lady Alberta kicks over Prudence's sewing basket to punish her, Rhys picks up all her things. He is drawn to Prudence, which endears him to me since she is unfashionably curvy. But he senses she is innocent and he doesn't debauch virgins. Later that evening, Prudence witnesses Rhys save a serving maid from rape and that firmly cements him in her mind as a chivalrous and honorable gentleman. A day or so later, things are looking up for Prudence. A solicitor arrives at her lodgings on behalf of her late father. He had run out on her mother when she was pregnant with Prudence making her illegitimate. The deadbeat dad went to America, changed his name, became rich and married an heiress. He died without any other blood heirs. Prudence is now a very wealthy heiress but in order to stay that way she must marry. Rhys finds out about her newfound wealth but pretends he doesn't when he runs into her at the opera. It seems on the surface that Rhys isn't a nice guy but he is genuinely attracted to Prudence. Prudence discovers his duplicity and that is when he realizes that he really loves her. He resolves to do anything to get her back.
I thought this was very well done. I loved the progression of their relationship, the slow reveal of Rhys' hidden past, everything. I was impressed with the passion that is inherent in the simplest of gestures. The love scenes were well done, not once dipping into purple prose. The ending was quite a surprise and I am not often surprised with historicals anymore. All in all, this was an enjoyable read as well as a quick one. If you need something to while away a weekend or an airplane trip, you would be well served in picking The Wicked Ways of a Duke. I will be looking for more from Ms. Guhrke.
She thought she was the luckiest woman in London . . . Surviving on a seamstress' income and a steady stream of fantasies, Prudence Bosworth has always longed for love and romance. Then she inherits a fortune from the father she's never seen, with the stipulation that she wed in one year. Prudence is determined to marry for true love, and after seeing firsthand the splendid chivalry of a certain duke, only one man will do . . . Rhys de Winter, the Duke of St. Cyres, hides his cynicism behind a quick wit and an even quicker smile. He must marry an heiress, and as luck would have it, the pretty little seamstress-turned-heiress is exactly what he needs. But he never expected to fall for Prudence, and when his shocking deception is revealed, he will stop at nothing to win her back . . . even if it means renouncing every last one of his wicked ways.