Our story begins with a country girl from a large family. They’re not so poor that they’re begging for alms, but there is no money to pay tuition for...moreOur story begins with a country girl from a large family. They’re not so poor that they’re begging for alms, but there is no money to pay tuition for her four brothers to continue at Eton. They have rich relations who are going to “help” by seeing to it that the eldest daughter, Annabel, marries a wealthy man. They already have one picked out for her…
Enter the vile villain, an elderly earl desperate to find a broodmare who can produce an heir for him. He already has one heir, his nephew Sebastian (the happy-go-lucky cousin of our hero in What Happens In London), whom he hates. He’s determined to replace the nephew with a son.
Now, so far it sounds like a typical regency plot line, right? Yes, Sebastian and Annabel meet. Well, sort of. They share a kiss without ever knowing one another’s names or their mutual acquaintance with a certain elderly peer. And they would have had a lovely time at the opera if it weren’t for all of London society watching.
Oh, but I forgot to mention that Annabel makes lists. It just helps to break everything down into easily defined parts. It’s really the only way she can keep herself sane as she endures the lecherous attentions of the earl.
And I really should mention that Sebastian has an alter ego. Well, perhaps not really an alter ego. He has a female pseudonym because he’d never receive another invitation should it be discovered that he, a charming rogue received in the best of homes, writes lurid gothic romances.
I first read Ten Things in early June, but wanted to do a quick re-read before writing this review. I found myself reading every word all over again. It’s well-paced and Quinn does an excellent job of setting a scene but does not spend a lot of time describing locations and attire. She knows we’d rather read about what is happening and listening in on conversations (eavesdroppers that we are).
In addition to the handsome hero, the damsel in distress, and the vile villain, Quinn also gives us some colorful secondary characters: Annabel’s grandmother, Lady Vickers, who has found her own ways of making life among London society tolerable; her cousin, Lady Louisa, who embodies London’s unmarried daughters of the peerage; Sebastian’s cousin, Edward, a young buck whose thoughts of the curvy Annabel are anything but respectful; and Harry and Olivia, our hero and heroine from What Happens In London. Now add some very unusual and unexpected plot twists. Julia Quinn is not your typical regency author. So don’t assume situations will be resolved as they would by any other writer. You’re going to be surprised and delighted.
The only thing I found lacking in Ten Things I Love About You? I want copies of the lurid novels penned by Sarah Gorely! If you like contemporaries by Jennifer Crusie, replete with irreverent and unexpected moments of humor, you’ll enjoy Ten Things I Love About You. If you read What Happens In London beforehand, you’ll find Ten Things doubly delicious. This is one of those books that is difficult to read in the office breakroom. You’ll be giggling and then everyone will want to know why…(less)