Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TBR Challenge: REVIEW: Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke

PAGES: 389
SETTING: Historical - Turn of the Century
TYPE: Straight Romance

Award-winning author Laura Lee Guhrke steps back to a time of Southern propriety--and passion--in this thrilling page-turner laced with heated sensuality. A lawyer is reunited with an unforgettable lady from his past--and together, they step into a web of small-town scandal and desire.

Lily Morgan may be Shivaree, Georgia's most talked-about lady. Everyone in town knows about the bitter break-up of her marriage five years before, when Daniel Walker, her husband's tough, uncompromising lawyer, tore her reputation to shreds and left her with nothing but a wish to get even. But now something about Daniel makes her blood boil and her pulse quicken...not with righteous fury, but with passion.

Daniel has returned to Shivaree to once again match wits with Lily Morgan. The thought of a rematch with Lily delights him. for he has never forgotten her hot temper--or her lovely looks. But when a shocking murder shakes the town, Daniel joins Lily to find a killer, and their unexpected partnership sparks something between them that they never expected--desire. Now Daniel, the strong-willed lawyer for whom winning is everything, realizes he must win the one reward he can't live without: Lily's forgiveness--and her love.

Wow, I loved this book. Breathless takes place at the turn of the century... a time period I'm not that fond of... and I still loved it. I picked this book up because Wendy said it was her favorite book of all time and she owns 2 copies of it. Could her reason for loving it be because the heroine is a librarian? Well, that could be part of it, but I'm sure it's because the writing is superb, the characters are wonderfully drawn, and the story is filled with humor and is utterly charming.

This is a enemies-to-lovers story. Daniel is a lawyer, the lowest of the low as far as Lily, the town's librarian, is concerned. During her divorce trial where he represented her husband, he falsely accused her of adultery thereby ruining her reputation in the small Georgia town where she lives. But Lily has backbone and refuses to be cowed by the gossips in town.

Now Daniel is back and Lily is horrified. Lily has been trying to get rid of the local "social club" which is nothing but a brothel which she holds responsible for her straying husband's despicable behavior. Daniel has political ambitions and his main supporter has brought him back in town to overturn the injunction against the "social club". The plot gets a bit more intense with a murder of one of the "girls" at the social club, but it is very well done and the pages just flew by. Daniel and Lily fight a growing attraction and eventually Daniel realizes that he was wrong about Lily during her divorce trial. All the characters were engaging and well written and the dialogue is witty and had some very funny moments. I especially LOVED the scene where Lily refuses to issue Daniel a library card. A hoot!

When I first read this I was a bit annoyed with how the hero refused to see the truth about the heroine until late in the story. So I gave it a B+ but after thinking and thinking about it, I realized it didn't matter and made their coming together that much better. This one is a KEEPER.

This book reminds me a little of the movie The Long, Hot Summer with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (loved that movie). Read this book with that movie in mind and you'll see what I mean.

Keishon's TBR Challenge theme for this month is friends to lovers, but enemies to lovers is even better reading in this case.



Shon said...

I'm going to have to start naming you my reading twin. I LOVED this book, too. It's been awhile since I read it but yep, this is a good one! --Keishon

Rosario said...

I adore this book as well. You're making me want to reread...

Kristie (J) said...

*sigh* I used to love her books - that is until she became just another one of a cadre who write English historicals. Breathless, Conor's Way - ahhh what once was.

Kate Diamond said...

Ooh! Librarian heroine... thanks for letting me know (I will be purchasing this book and pre-reading it before I give it to a librarian friend.)

Phyl said...

I have this in my TBR pile, too. Looks like it's time for me to dig it out. I'm reminded why I bought it in the first place. Thanks!

Wendy said...

OK, yeah - my love for this book does have a lot to do with the librarian heroine. But what a librarian heroine she is! After suffering through one too many librarian heroines who are "good girls who want to be bad" or who are 35 years old and "never been kissed" - Lily is downright revolutionary. LOL

Really though, it's all the things you said in your review. The dialogue is fantastic and this book (IMHO) should be required reading for any romance author who wants to write an "adversarial" relationship between her hero and heroine. Those are very, very tricky to write without the characters coming off as shrewish and Guhrke really nails it here.

SarahT said...

Wow, a Laura Lee Guhrke book which I haven't read! Is this one still in print? Amazon, here I come...


ReneeW said...

Keishon: Oh, man, you are so right. It's wonderful.

Rosario: So great to see you around. I have missed you. Must get over to your blog and see what's up.

Kristie: Conor's Way? Haven't read that one. Any more recs?

Kate: Any librarian would love this. Lily is not your stereotypical librarian and I loved her. Your friend will to.

Phyl: Dig it out, dig it out! You're missing out on something good. :)

Wendy: You are so right about Lily. Guhrke does an amazing job. In fact I may lend this to my non-romance reading sister who works in a library (IT dept). She will love it.

Sarah: I'm not sure it's in print but they have used copies ( and so does Paperback Swap.

Jennifer B. said...

Loved this one myself! Great review.

Kristie (J) said...

You haven't read Conor's Way???? Oh - you MUST read that one - it's my favourite Guhrke book. Another one I liked was The Charade.

ReneeW said...

Jennifer: Thanks!

Kristie: Looks like Conor's Way is a collectible - the cheapest price is around $25 but I found The Charade is available used pretty cheap. Thanks for the recs.

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