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Monday, December 14, 2015

RE-READ REVIEW: "What Happens in London" by Julia Quinn


What Happens in London (Bevelstoke, #2)
(Bevelstoke #2)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Avon -- Published on June 30, 2009
Mass Market Paperback, 372 pages
Read in December 2015 (re-read)

RATING: 5 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
Enemies to Lovers, Returning Military, Beta Hero

SUMMARY
RUMORS AND GOSSIP ... THE LIFEBLOOD OF LONDON

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancee, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits ... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself ...


FIRST LINE
By the age of twelve, Harry Valentine possessed two bits of knowledge that made him rather unlike other boys of his class in England of the early nineteenth century.

MY THOUGHTS
I was in a bit of a reading slump last week so I decided to get out of it by re-reading one of my favorite historical romances.  Julia Quinn is the author that got me obsessed with the genre and What Happens in London is my favorite non-Bridgerton book of hers.  And it was wonderful to revisit Harry, Olivia, Sebastian, and others.

Sir Harry Valentine is a fabulous hero who has such a genuine personality and is someone I easily fell for.  His childhood was unorthodox with his overbearing Russian grandmother, disinterested mother, and alcoholic father.  He learned how to be independent and responsible at an early age which helps foreshadow his later occupation as a translator for the War Office.  I also really enjoyed learning about Lady Olivia Bevelstoke.  She is a beauty, but knows that there is much more to happiness and character than outward appearance.  I was impressed by her intelligence and her forthright nature which is different than other historical romance heroines.

Harry and Olivia are just a delightful and electric couple.  They get off on the wrong foot with Olivia spying on Harry after hearing that he murdered his fiancee and then getting caught.  Their early interactions are full of banter which is I always want in lighthearted historicals.
"You should be thankful that dark colors suit you. Not everyone wears black well.""Why, Lady Olivia, is that a compliment?""Not so much as a compliment to you as an insult to everyone else," she assured him."Thanks heaven for that. I don't think I would know how to conduct myself in a world in which you offered compliments.”
As the plot moves along, they spend more time together and realize how compatible they are.  I enjoyed the fact that there wasn't a Big Misunderstanding to add drama to the development of their relationship.  The romance slowly reveals itself as they become friends and then discover that they mean much more to one another.

And I have to mention the side characters especially Harry's cousin, Sebastian, whose dramatic reading of the horribly awesome Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron provided some major giggles for me.  Olivia's twin brother, Winston, provides more opportunity for her to showcase her sarcasm and wit.  And then there is Prince Alexei, a Russian aristocrat who the War Office suspects of planning an attack on England and whose interest in Olivia helps bring the main couple together.

Re-reading What Happens in London is exactly what I needed to get over my slump.  The characters are wonderfully written, the humor is smart, and the romance just made me happy.  I am still keeping my fingers crossed that Julia Quinn will look back at this book and possibly give Harry's roguish brother a story of his own.

FAVORITE QUOTE
“When a man writes a romance, the woman dies. When a woman writes one, it ends all tidy and sweet.”


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. The Secrets of Miss Miranda Cheever
2. What Happens in London
3. Ten Things I Love About You

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- Author Website

WHERE TO GET IT
Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- All Romance -- Audible

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this book! It's definitely the perfect book for when you're in a reading slump. I also really appreciate that there isn't a big misunderstanding. I have a had time with those. And seriously, Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron is practically it's own character in this book. And Sebastian's reading is really the highlight. Now I want to re-read this. I just re-read Rock Hard by Singh. I love that book so much!

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  2. There's really nothing better than a favorite reread, isn't there? JQ has the best ones, too.

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