In Wedding of the Year: Abandoned at the Altar, Laura Lee Guhrke introduced us to Aidan Carr, the Duke of Trathen, and Lady Julia Yardley, the cousin of his former bride to be, Beatrix Danbury, now the Duchess of Sunderland. Both unlucky in love and marriage in totally different ways, we sense there may be more to their relationship than meets the eye, but we are not privy to whatever secrets these two hold. It all becomes clear in Scandal of the Year.
Aidan Carr, Duke of Trathen, straight-laced and honorable as dukes come, has two broken engagements behind him, the first to Beatrix and the second to a Scottish lass, who runs the other way when Aidan is discovered with Lady Julia Yardley in a compromising position. Lady Julia, married off to Baron Yardley after a disastrous teen-aged love affair, is desperate to escape her husband, and uses Aidan to that end. The story begins in divorce court (this is 1903 after all) where Aidan is named as the other man after Julia's husband discovers them in bed. Yardley is granted his divorce from his adulterous wife and Julia is finally free. Aidan cannot forget her even if the details of their afternoon and night together are a bit sketchy. What follows is the slow realization that despite his wish to find an amiable wife and sire a nursery full of children, Aidan cannot get Julia out of his mind. And despite her disastrous turn at marriage, and the damage caused by her abusive and lecherous ex-husband, Julia can't seem to forget Aidan and their past.
Laura Lee Guhrke tells the story with a series of short flash-back chapters that fill in the gaps in their relationship. We come to understand the tension between Aidan and Julia that was first obvious in the first book of the series. And we see how the relationship between these two comes full circle, despite society's mores on the subject of divorce.
So far, the Abandoned at the Altar series shows a well thought out and best of all, a tightly interrelated story line that ties up loose ends for characters we've come to care about and whose supporting roles in the previous book leaves more than a few questions unanswered. It's lovely when those characters get their own happy endings. I'm guessing the next story will be about Julia's cousin, Paul whose wealthy American wife has left him for her native shores. I like Paul as a character and I am really hoping he gets his happy ending as well. On the whole, while I enjoyed Scandal of the Year, I more thoroughly enjoyed Wedding of the Season. Read them both, however. Aidan Thomas Carr deserves to finally make it all the way to the altar.