Mephistia's Reviews > What Happens in London

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
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Aug 28, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: relationships-romance-f
Read in August, 2010

Okay, I don't normally read romance. Not because I look down on the genre or people who read it -- different people enjoy different things, and I don't enjoy romance novels.

It has something to do with the usual dynamic, with this woman presented as "strong" and "different," but invariably beautiful and intelligent and weak-kneed about this certain man and thinks it's romantic when he orders her around.

Or maybe it's the all-too-frequent trope of man and woman meet, man and woman hate at first site, man and woman have sexual tensions galore, man rapes woman but it's not really rape because she enjoyed it even though she kept saying no and never gave permission, woman then falls in love with man.

Or maybe it's the appalling inattention to historical detail.

Or maybe it's just the fact that there's only so many synonyms for "cock" or "breast," and apparently "cock" is too foul to use in many romance novels, so you end up with ridiculous phrasing like, "Hard, thick, shaft."

I'm absolutely certain that someone who adores romance but dislikes my favored genres (sci-fi, fantasy, non-fiction) could, if they so desired, list off various things they dislike about my beloved genres. And they might even be right -- but I either overlook/ don't care/ don't see these flaws as important.

All that said, I like Julia Quinn. I like that she seems to be laughing at herself, and she seems to have a sense of humor. I like how her writing is all playful and bubbly, and even though she follows certain tropes (true love is always recognizable by weak knees and a willingness to follow orders when he's the one giving them!), it all seems so light-hearted.

Plus, I can't feel anything but pleased and encouraged by the fact that sex, when it finally happens, happens in the latter part of the book. After they've already had multiple conversations and realized they're in love. I don't like the trend of romance novels for sex being the impetus to love. That's not cool.

I mean, I have nothing against loveless sex, or sex for passion or pleasure's sake. And I'm sure that some people get into a no-strings attached sexual relationship and end up falling in love. But the thing is, generally a the realization of love doesn't come from a night of hot sex, and romance novels perpetuate a damaging belief with that.

So I think it's pretty cool that Quinn always has the relationship build first, then mixes in the sex.

I've read other romance writers, and I have to say, Quinn is the most readable. I usually find myself laughing out loud or grinning stupidly at least twice during one of her books, and usually more frequently. I recommend her highly.
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