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The Lady Most Likely... by Julia Quinn
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's review
Apr 28, 12

bookshelves: read-2012, bookbag, fiction, historical
Read from April 24 to 27, 2012 — I own a copy

A three-part novel set in 1817, which is really three connected novellas by three different authors. The idea is that Hugh, Earl of Briarly, has decided to take a wife. He asks his sister to produce a list of eligible young ladies; she does so, and then organises a house part to which they and various other friends are invited.

The first two parts of the novel are about two of these ladies falling in love with other men, and the final part features Hugh and the lady (not on his list) with whom it was obvious in the first chapter that he was going to end up marrying. Somewhat predictable, but that's not a problem - this genre of romantic story usually is.

Unfortunately, the storylines are thin, almost devoid of conflict, and the characterisation poor. The first part was written in a muddle of modern and 19th century language, and did not feel at all authentic; the second part worked better from that point of view, and was my favourite of the three sections. The final part also works well from the writing point of view, but ends with a very raunchy scene which added nothing to the novel, and which was so entirely out of character for the people concerned that it didn't work at all.

Add to that a rather annoying number of anachronisms, and even some jarring Americanisms (which wouldn't have been a problem for a contemporary novel but were quite out of place in an early 19th century stately home) and I really wasn't very impressed. The idea of the collaboration was intriguing, but the final result, of three rather dull novellas, was something of a disappointment.

Still, it would probably make good holiday reading as it's fairly fluffy and undemanding.

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