7 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: And Then He Kissed Her

Title: And Then He Kissed Her
Author: Laura Lee Guhrke

Review number: 36

Genre: Historical romance

Stand Alone/series: Book 1 of Girl-Bachelor series but it can be read as a Stand Alone

Summary: Supremely sensible Emmaline Dove wishes to share her etiquette expertise with London’s readers, and as secretary to Viscount Marlowe, Emma knows she’s in the perfect position to make her dreams come true. Marlowe might be a rake with a preference for cancan dancers and an aversion to matrimony, but he is also the city’s leading publisher, and Emma is convinced he’s her best chance to see her work in print…until she discovers the lying scoundrel has been rejecting her manuscripts without ever reading a single page!As a publisher, Harry finds reading etiquette books akin to slow, painful torture. Besides, he can’t believe his proper secretary has the passion to write anything worth reading. Then she has the nerve to call him a liar, and even resigns without notice, leaving his business in uproar and his honor in question. Harry decides it’s time to teach Miss Dove a few things that aren’t proper. But when he kisses her, he discovers that his former secretary has more passion and fire than he ever imagined, for one luscious taste of her lips only leaves him hungry for more.

Why did I read the book: Rave reviews plus this book is a RWA Rita Finalist this year. I never read anything by the author and decided to give it a go.


Funny, light and charming. This is how I would describe Laura Lee Guhrke’s And Then He Kissed Her.

At then end of 19th Century Britain, in a world divided by classes, where manners matter more than anything else, secretary Emma Dove works for publisher Harry, Viscount Marlowe. She is responsible for setting things in order and handling the smooth operation of his life. Without her, he is useless, he remembers no birthdays, no business commitments and doesn’t even buy his own gifts to his family and mistresses. He is utterly dependent on Miss Dove’s help and has been doing so for the past 5 years without so much as second thought to who Miss Dove really is – he sees her as a much efficient , non-attractive, no-fun, prim type and nothing else.

Emma on the other hand is coming to her 30th birthday and to a moment in time where she starts re-evaluating her life. As a sensible, single woman, she knows that she has a good job, which pays well, giving that she is a mere woman and that Harry is fair in his treatment of her. Plus she reckons she is at the right place for a writer to be – she has a manuscript of an etiquette book for Girls- Bachelors ad she hopes one day Harry will publish it. But after several years of trying she realises he doesn’t respect her writing . Enough is enough. She quits her job and starts working for Harry’s competitor and becomes the talk of High Society with her tips on essential things such as where to buy table linen or how to throw a dinner party. Harry is much surprised but with his keen sense of business he notices the sweet smell of money and buys the newspaper she is working for and becomes her boss again. But things are changed and their relationship now stands in equal grounds.

I thought there were two distinct parts in the novel: the first 150 pages or so explore Harry and Emma’s relationship as a boss-secretary and then as editor-author. We see much of who these people really are as individuals and there was close to none hint of a love affair blooming. But in this new partnership they start to see each other with new eyes and they talk, and they become friends of sorts and by gawd, Harry realises the woman has a temper and has a personality and a body that is after all, attractive to him.

And then oh….and then he kissed her. And it was her first kiss and it was the kiss that changed all things and that made her realise everything she had missing in life and cemented her realisation that life was passing her by.

We enter then the second part of the novel, where they become lovers and at first all is fine, until of course, reality bites and love comes into play and what Emma becomes more and more worried about what society has to say about the illicit affair. Harry keeps telling her that it doesn’t matter what other people think, what’s important is what inside one’s heart. Well, that is very easy for him to say, isn’t it, being a peer of the realm, and a rich MAN to boot. (To his defense on this point he does realise how unfair he is and how unrealistic it sounds ). But I think this is the point: the places of men and women in society were very different and they were brought to life by Laura Lee Guhrke very realistically.

In a book that was pleasing and interesting, Harry was, unfortunately, the weakest point in the novel. As a romance hero he lacked a je nes sais quoi that kept him from being one of the truly Great ones and kept me from enjoying the novel even more.

Emma on the other hand was amusing and I could relate to her inner demons and questionings. How it must have been truly difficult to live in such an era where all of your actions are so restricted and I think Laura Lee Guhrke was right on the money in exploring that aspect of the culture of the time. I also liked her writing and her light tones and banter between the characters reminded me of Julia Quinn, which is really, one of the best compliments I can think of. The last few pages, where Harry is asking for advice on how to propose, is a true delight of utter cuteness.

….and then I closed the book with a huge smile on my face.

Notable quotes/parts: right after her first kiss :

“She pressed her fingers to her lips. They were puffy, burning from the rasp of his unshaven face. Now she knew what it was to be kissed. Now she knew, and nothing would ever be the same.
Emma had the absurd desire to cry, but not with guilt and remorse a proper woman would feel. That kiss was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to her, and she wanted to weep with joy.

Additional Thoughts: Sometimes I can be so nit-picking it scares me. There are several mentions of things such as telephone, omnibus, condoms and Sherlock Holmes throughout the book which was set in 1893. I wrote down every single entry to research online and see if these things were all in use in that time. I am pleased to confirm that everything is spot on which of course, increased my admiration for Laura Lee Guhrke even more. What can I say, I pay attention to this sort of thing and they matter a great deal to me.

a great treat for romance lovers. Buy it.

7.Very Good and I will be going back for more of Laura Lee Guhrke’s books.

Reading next:
Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

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  • Katie(babs)
    April 16, 2008 at 4:30 am

    I love this new series by Guhrke. This is not blah blah regency ton blah romance. It is during a time period I adore with regular people. And Then He Kissed Her was in my top 10 for 2007. A fun read!
    I enjoyed the sequel very much, which I recommend everyone read.

  • Ana
    April 16, 2008 at 4:52 am

    Katie, I went to all book shops in Cambridge and couldn’t find her new book. Argh! Will have to order from Amazon.

  • Jill D.
    April 16, 2008 at 6:46 am

    Nice review Ana!

    I have to agree with you Guhrke’s writing style is similar to Quinn’s. Wasn’t the scene with the peaches HWOT?!

  • Ana
    April 16, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Oh yes, Jill, peaches and honey , honey and peaches.
    I actually found the whole sexual tension and the build up very hot indeed. The scene at the chocolate shop? *is it hot in here?*

  • kmont
    April 16, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I just looked into this one yesterday and cannot wait to read it. I get tired of too many historical romances, one right after another, but this one seems just different enough to be worth it.

    Enjoyed your review. 😉

  • li
    April 16, 2008 at 11:23 am

    This was my first LLG book too and I really liked it! I’ve the second sitting in my TBR pile…

  • Kristie (J)
    April 17, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Now if you want to read some REALLY good books by LLG, you need to read Conor’s Way or Breathless. IMO they blow her newer books out of the water. Since she switched to Avon, something just seemed a bit different in her writing.

  • Brie
    April 17, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Great review.

    I started reading this book about two months ago and haven’t gotten around to finishing it yet. I’m not even to the “and then he kissed her” part.

    But your review has made me want to pick this book back up and complete it.

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