"And Then He Kissed Her" by Laura Lee Guhrke

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian era)

The Story: Harry Marlowe is a successful publishing mogul and a known ladies' man. For the last five years his life--business and personal--has been kept in order through the efforts of his sensible, complacent, and remarkably efficient secretary, Emma Dove.

Emma is a self-declared "girl-bachelor" with an expertise in etiquette and housekeeping, a real precursor to Martha Stewart. She has long-since talked herself out of falling for her boss's charms, but she can't help but feel like she's missing out on life by being so straight-laced and conservative.

My Thoughts: What I liked most about this story was the believable, gradual build-up to Emma and Harry's involvement. When the book opens, the two have already known each other for years, showing a comfortable and somewhat amusing familiarity between Emma and Harry. Kind of like my favorite scene from Two Weeks Notice, when Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant are eating lunch together and we see the little quirks of a two people who've been around each other too long. There's just enough intimacy that you're waiting for the UST to kick in. And then, with an unexpected turn of events, it finally does and nothing's ever the same again. Not a whirlwind romance, but rather the sudden realization of what's been under your nose the whole time. He notices how the light reflects off her hair. She realizes the sincere man behind the glib womanizer.

Having read one other book by Guhrke, I have to say she's revived my interest in historic romances. I've been more inclined towards contemporary settings of late, which means these types of books sometimes come across as hokey. However, Guhrke has a writing style that facilitates the mental time-jump, making the story genuine instead of trite.

And yes, this novel has all its pages.

Recommendation: A good book to read with your morning coffee/tea or during the quiet hours just before bed.

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