Tag Archives: Historical romance

A Tale of Two Sisters by Julia Quinn

Overview
Where's My Hero? | Julia Quinn | Author of Historical Romance Novels

Title: A Tale of Two Sisters
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: The Splendid Trilogy #3.5
In: Where’s My Hero? (Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn & Kinley MacGregor)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: “Do you want to dance?” he asked, the words surprising him even as they left his lips.

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Synopsis

Dashing Ned Blydon is in a most unenviable predicament—he’s engaged to one Thornton sister, while being secretly in love with the other—in Julia Quinn’s sensuous A Tale of Two Sisters .

Thoughts

From reading the blurb for this story, I was feeling a little bit… icky. I mean, it’s a man who is engaged to one sister, and in love with another. I always have issues with those kind of horrible, blurred lines. I mean, I can’t imagine my sister taking the man that I’m involved with… but as usual Quinn took me completely by surprise and spun this story in a way that just wasn’t… icky.

Ned was a fun hero. He spends half the time trying to escape his female relatives because they’re giving him unsolicited advice. And then, when he finally does find out that they are right, he still refuses to acknowledge it out loud. I recognise a lot of this in my own activities. I am the queen of denial and tend to avoid my family when I think they won’t like my own activities. This factor probably made me connect with him a lot quicker than many other heroes who fill the pages of my books.

This storyline was fun, light-hearted, and brilliant. It finished out the Where’s My Hero? collection completely beautifully. No matter how many times I pick up a story by Quinn, I’m completely in love. And then I always have to try and find another one of her books to sink my teeth into…

<- Midsummer’s KnightWhere’s My Hero? ->

Image source: Juila Quinn

Midsummer’s Knight by Kinley MacGregor

Overview
Where's My Hero? | Julia Quinn | Author of Historical Romance Novels

Title: Midsummer’s Knight
Author: Kinley MacGregor
Series: Brotherhood of the Sword & MacAllister
In: Where’s My Hero? (Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn & Kinley MacGregor)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 24th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: He was superb.

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Synopsis

When Simon of Ravenswood secretly answered Lady Kenna’s letters in the name of a powerful earl, he was only being polite. Little did he know the lady would fall in love with the author and come between him, his best friend, and a solemn vow made long ago, in Kinley MacGregor’s enchanting Midsummer’s Knight .

Thoughts

This admittedly was a bit of a cringe-worthy romance. I really, seriously, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But it still made me cringe. Repeatedly. After all, Simon writes to a woman under someone else’s name, falls in love with her, and then accidentally proposes… all under another man’s name. If that doesn’t make you cringe, what will?

This was my first Kinley MacGregor story, and I am completely entranced. Although the storyline was a bit cringey, it was also brilliant. I thoroughly, seriously and wonderfully loved this tale and couldn’t stop thinking about it after I turned that final page. In fact, even as I write this review (a few days after finishing the novella), all those wonderful, hopeful, cheerful feelings come rushing back.

Kenna and Simon are a fun couple. I don’t love that there was a description of Kenna as kind of plain, but pretty much no description of Simon. But I did love the fact that they both tend to be regaled to the sidelines a little bit. It’d be a lonely life being overlooked frequently, so it made this story all that much more wonderful and hopeful when they find each other…

<- Against the OddsA Tale of Two Sisters ->

Image source: Juila Quinn

Against the Odds by Lisa Kleypas

Overview
Where's My Hero? | Julia Quinn | Author of Historical Romance Novels

Title: Against the Odds
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Gamblers of Craven’s #2.5
In: Where’s My Hero? (Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn & Kinley MacGregor)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 22nd December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: Bending her backward, hooking his supportive arm beneath her, he nuzzled the tender weight of her breast.

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Synopsis

When eminently sensible Lydia Craven decides to marry for security rather than love, she doesn’t calculate on the determination of devil-may-care doctor Jake Linley to rewrite the romantic formula in Lisa Kleypas’ charming romp, Against All Odds .

Thoughts

I recently bought a few books written by Kleypas, with absolutely no idea if I would enjoy them or not. Which made me seriously happy when I read this novella. After all, I loved this, and thus, I am hoping that I will love the rest of the Kleypas books that I’ve added to my shelves. Kleypas writes with humour, sass and fire. But she manages to have that sense of vulnerability and innocence in this story which I tend to love in a good regency romance.

Lydia is the kind of heroine that I tend to love. She is funny, sassy and incredibly adorable. She’s also way too logical. Which, if I’m being honest, I can do sometimes. I can’t imagine being a smart, independent, logical woman in this time period though. Yet, somehow, this persona fits. It’s not the typical regency heroine. But it’s most definitely the kind that I love.

Partnering Jake Linley with Lydia worked fantastically well. He manages to balance her completely – something that I think we all need in our significant other. Particularly when Lydia almost throws away her happiness on something that is mere logic. Linley is most definitely the kind of hero that I would rather warming my bed… the kind of hero that made me smile and feel wistful all throughout.

I absolutely adored this novella. And I honestly can’t wait to read more of Kleypas’ regency romances. It’s glorious, fun and seriously enjoyable. Plus, she manages to do this with wit and humour, something that I think all good romances require.

<- Where’s My Hero?Midsummer’s Knight ->

Image source: Juila Quinn

Upon a Midnight Clear by Virginia Kantra

Overview
Tied With a Bow

Title: Upon a Midnight Clear
Author: Virginia Kantra
In: Tied with a Bow (Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AngelsChristmas, Historical romanceParanormal romance
Dates read: 18th – 21st December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Her face, her chest, her whole body burned with humiliation and frustrated desire.

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Synopsis

Aimee was 13 when her mother preyed to an angel to save her life. Now, an adult, that same angel may have returned to her life, as a man. One who very much wants to save her yet again.

Thoughts

Whilst I liked this novella, it most certainly wasn’t my favourite one. It took a little while to truly get into the storyline, and even the style of writing. I do enjoy Kantra’s works, and will buy more of this series, but I’m also not head over heels in love with her work like some of the other romance authors I have filling my shelves.

I like that the angel that saves the young girl is ultimately the angel that she chooses to spend the rest of her life with. There was something incredibly sweet about that whole fate feeling, and the idea that Amy had to grow up before she could fully be committed to her angel lover. There is also her cousin, who, although she’s kind of ignorant and a little selfish, most definitely loves Amy. It gives the whole story a festive feeling full of love and affection. Or at least, that’s how I read it.

This was a really lovely and wonderful Christmas story. It’s hopeful and full of love. With just the right amount of drama and mayhem thrown in to stop you from getting bored. One I’ll read again, but not as quickly as some other stories I’ve read.

<- Tied with a BowFirst Light ->

Image source: Amazon

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Overview
Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Title: Temptation in a Kilt
Author: Victoria Roberts
Series: Bad Boys of the Highlands #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceScottish romance
Dates read: 9th – 14th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Aye.”

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Synopsis

SHE’S ON HER WAY TO SAFETY
It’s a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong’s desperation that she’s seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn’t care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control…

HE REDEFINES DANGEROUS…
Ciaran MacGregor knows it’s perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he’s stuck with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he’ll be ready to show her who he really is… on and off the battlefield.

Thoughts

This novel was easy, fun and seriously enjoyable. Like most of the historical romances in my shelves, it was enough to make me feel like I was transported in time. But not so much that I got annoyed with women’s rights. Although, this did touch well upon the issues that women would have faced at this point in time… particularly Rosalia’s history and experiences.

Rosalia and Ciaran are an amazing couple. They’re so alike, yet a great balance for one another in their differences. They’re also both annoyingly stubborn – a good match which I, myself can attest to, and fiercely independent. Although, considering Rosalia’s past, it’s somewhat surprising. And Ciaran’s stubbornness almost brings them both undone…

As Rosalia’s backstory is revealed, my heart broke a little more each time. It was seriously tragic and painful. But, it also made her ten thousand times more loveable as the story unfolded. I love when characters’ backstories are slowly reeled out and you get to enjoy learning about them in bits and pieces. Kind of like when you meet somebody in real life…

Although I loved this romance, I did find Beathag a bit of a terrifying villain. She’s pure evil and definitely not the kind of woman that I would want to mess with. At the beginning, I felt like the mentions of her were just a bit annoying and a way to show that Ciaran was no virgin. But, as the story developed, it became much more obvious that she was a key character and so not somebody that you wanted in the story. It was wonderfully done.

I seriously enjoyed this novel. But Aisling and Declan both stole the show a little bit. Partly that’s a good thing since X Marks the Scot is about Declan. But Aisling is definitely a character that I wish had her own story… doubtful considering she’s already married in this novel, and this is a historical romance series…

<- More Victoria RobertsX Marks the Scot ->

Image source: Goodreads

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Overview
Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1) by Julia Quinn

Title: Because of Miss Bridgerton
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 21st – 22nd August 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: George glanced over at Billie as he straightened.

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Synopsis

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…

Thoughts

I absolutely adored reading about an earlier Bridgerton. The Bridgertons series very quickly became one of my favourites, so finding out about a Bridgerton from the generation before. It fulfilled that need to return to the world, whilst still experiencing a whole new journey. Add to that the fact that you can see how similar Billie and Daphne are to one another… it was brilliantly done and a great journey that I seriously, seriously loved.

Having said that, I do wish that Billie made an appearance in the Bridgertons series. I’m fairly certain that she’s the aunt… so I really don’t understand why she is only in this series, and not making cameo appearances elsewhere. One can imagine and dream though.

This is a light, fun and wonderful journey. I love a good regency romance that leaves you smiling. But still has enough going on that you are constantly hoping for the best. I always seem to become very quickly enamoured with the characters in Julia Quinn’s books. And all I want is for the best outcome. Of course, you know that that’s going to happen… but I still spent a lot of time being emotionally invested and hoping that George and Billie would realise what was RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR NOSES! They did… but I still had moments of intense feelings.

I think that one of my favourite things about this couple is the way that they flirt. It’s very unorthodox. Kind of like the way I flirt with my husband. They manage to fit barbs, compliments and wit into all of their interactions. It leaves you feeling incredibly happy, complete and hoping for the best of the best outcomes in their lives. Plus, this kind of flirting seems to just show a complete knowledge of and acceptance of each other – flaws and all. The best way to love in my honest opinion…

Not only was this a fantastic romance that left me feeling incredibly happy and content. But it also introduced the game of Pall Mall (which is pretty importance in The Viscount Who Love Me) and The Mallet of Death. I loved the creation of this and I don’t think that I could have grinned any wider during this scene in the book…

<- More Julia QuinnThe Girl with the Make-Believe Husband ->

Image source: Goodreads

Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

Overview
Once A Soldier by Mary Jo Putney - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Once a Soldier
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Series: Rogues Redeemed #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 30th – 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Zebra Books
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: She was human and female.

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Synopsis

Rogues Redeemed

As heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities. Instead he went to war. Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last. But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her.

Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence. But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match.

Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel’s enemies. For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they’d dared imagine…

Thoughts

This was a great historical romance. It’s a genre that I’m getting more and more enthralled in… and this was a great example of exactly what this genre can offer. It was cute, filled with historical moments and just a great, easy, and fun read. I love that the language was approachable, and although some of the historical moments aren’t ones that I specifically know about… it was still filled with enough information that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.

Although I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction books that are based around the early 1800s and the war with Napoleon – this is the first one that actually features the war. There are battles, warfare and a fair amount of blood amongst the romance that takes bloom on these pages. You know that it’s going to be a little more intense and gruesome when the opening scene is five men stuck in a basement, about to be shot…

I found Athena’s past and familial situation to be a little heartbreaking to be completely honest. I’ve read a lot of books in which the lead character has a bit of a tragic past. But for some reason, Athena’s was just so much worse. Which, of course, made her happily ever after moment at the end all that much better. And, the fact that part of that was her moment of reconnecting with family… my heart melted a little and left me with some seriously happy feelings.

I loved that in this story – Will is aware that Athena has some hang ups (even if he doesn’t understand some of them), and willing to be a little more sly in his courtship. I also loved the way that Athena and he found different categories for different styles of relationships. It was very well done, very cute and seriously fun. It added a touch of lightness to a story that would otherwise be really intense and deep. Now I can’t wait to find out what the other rogues have been up to and how they will all find their own forms of redemption.

<- More Mary Jo PutneyOnce a Rebel ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

Overview
Ten Things I Love About You | Julia Quinn

Title: Ten Things I Love About You
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 12th July 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Because she was.

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Synopsis

Ten Things You Should Know About This Book

  1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
  2. Annabel Winslow’s family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind AND The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
  3. Sebastian’s uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
  4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
  5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
  6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
  7. is shocking,
  8. is delicious, and
  9. is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to
  10. Happily. Ever. After.
Thoughts

This was the final book in the Bevelstoke series. And, for me, I think it might have been the best. Although, now that I think about the other two… I also loved them. There was just something about Annabel’s situation that drew me in and plucked at my heart strings far more strongly than the other heroines in this series.

I had planned to just read a little of this book, and then go to sleep. I was kind of exhausted. But, that certainly didn’t happen. Again, Annabel’s plight and difficulties just completely drew me in. And every time I thought that there was a natural pause in this story coming up… a new challenge reared its ugly head and pulled me right back in again. It was an adventure that I was just swept away in. And next thing I knew… I’d stayed up WAY past my bedtime…

My only real moment of ow, that’s not the way it should be was when there just wasn’t quite enough comeuppance at the ending of this story. I think that the ending Quinn went with was absolutely wonderful and kind of perfect. But I’m of the vindictive persuasion… so I wanted the horrifying and somewhat evil Newbury to suffer. And suffer. And suffer. And, well, you get my vindictive little drift…

Sebastian most certainly drew my attention with his actions in Chapter Seventeen of What Happens in London. Which meant that I just couldn’t wait to find out who he would end up with. And Annabel just wasn’t what I pictured – but everything that I needed. Partner that with the fact that he’s a writer, an insomniac and just all round enjoyable and witty in his characterisation… I thought that he was the mot perfect of the three heroes in this series…

<- What Happens In LondonMore Julia Quinn ->

Image source: Julia Quinn

What Happens In London by Julia Quinn

Overview
What Happens in London :HarperCollins Australia

Title: What Happens in London
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 10th – 11th July 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: “I thought you’d stopped counting.”

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Synopsis

Rumors and Gossip…
The lifeblood of London…

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his finacee, 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 curatins, 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…

Thoughts

From her first appearance in The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, I fell a little in love with Olivia. There is just something humorous, witty and intriguing about the beautiful girl who can’t keep her impulses to herself. So when I realised that the next novel in this trilogy was about her, and started with her spying on her neighbour… I was completely swept away. And intrigued. And just generally in my happy place…

I was kind of floored by the “bad guy” in this story at the end. In fact, as I’m reading more and more Julia Quinn stories, I was surprised that there truly was a “bad guy”. Normally the people who get in the way of a good happily ever after moment in her stories (the ones that I’ve read thus far anyway) are the two romantic leads themselves. So when someone else gets in Olivia’s way… I was pleasantly surprised. I love when an author I’ve been reading a lot of is able to completely surprise me. There is just something all that much more exciting about such an act.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the spy angle. The war with the French and Napoleon are mentioned frequently in many of Quinn’s regency romances – but I’ve never read one that features spying and Russian. I also just loved the Russian spin and the fact that the lead male, Harry, is in love with the language. It made me weirdly keen to go out and learn Russian of all languages. That extra bit of subterfuge made this all that much more difficult to put down…. Especially when I was curled up with a nice cup of tea in my onesie whilst reading this…

Even Miranda managed to make an appearance in this book. Although, not enough of one to truly make me happy in this. She is mentioned frequently, and it makes me imagine a reality in which Turner, Miranda, Olivia and Harry all continue to live happily and a little less than conservatively… it definitely meant that I finished this book on a huge, happy smile.

<- The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda CheeverTen Things I Love About You ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

Overview
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever | Julia Quinn

Title: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 5th – 6th July 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: That is neither here nor there.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

2 March 1810…
Today, I fell in love.

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her – until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.

But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day – while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier – and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers…

Thoughts

I have been reading a lot lately, and I really wanted and needed something that was just pleasantly, easily light and fluffy. Which is exactly what this is. After all, that is exactly what I love about Julia Quinn. You know there will be a happy ending. You enjoy the journey. And everything is just… generally, good and easy. Perfect for a nice night when you just want to sink into a good book with a nice, big glass of wine.

Miranda is predictably sweet. I love that at the beginning she feels a little like a wallflower. Until she is crossed, and in this case, I would be completely on her side. Then she is a bit of a hellcat. The imagery of her trying to beat a man with her bag is ingrained into my mind. And still has me giggling mercilessly. I would probably want to do the exact same thing in her shoes… it helped that when Turner begins to see her for who she is… he actually acknowledges that fire and spirit and states that his own brother would not be a good match for it. It just made the relationship all the more sweet… he recognised her less than desirable (at that time) qualities and adored them about her, didn’t dismiss her.

Where Miranda is predictably sweet, Turner is kind of a moron throughout much of this story. I kind of love him because he’s a wonderful character. But he’s just so damn stubborn. And even after that moment when he and Miranda finally decide to show their love for one another… he continues to be a moron. And stubborn. And just too damn scared to do or say anything that is against what he believes to be his truth… even when it’s damn obvious that he’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

Although the middle point where there is a great problem and milestone to overcome is kind of great. It’s also kind of frustrating. Because Turner is a fool. And, even as the story reaches its conclusion, you still want to smack some sense into the boy. Luckily though, at the point when you are just starting to get truly, and deeply fed up… things are solved and the horrors are mitigated. It’s a great story. A great ending and just all round cute. The perfect happy, peaceful and bubbly story to spend a night with.

<- More Julia QuinnWhat Happens In London ->

Image source: Julia Quinn