Dorothea's Reviews > Everything and the Moon

Everything and the Moon by Julia Quinn
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's review
Mar 28, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: romance
Read in June, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I've read worse romance novels, but this is the first one that I've ever actually thrown across the room in rage. The other books I'd read by Julia Quinn made me really trust her as someone with a feminist understanding about female autonomy and male-female power dynamics. Everything and the Moon betrayed that trust throughout its plot, summarized below.

The book goes wrong from the first. In the 'Dear Reader' author's note, Quinn says that in this book she tries something she normally doesn't believe in: having the hero fall in love with the heroine at first sight. I wish she'd never tried this at all, because the result was an immature young man with a great deal of power (social and financial--he's an earl) suddenly developing an obsession with a naive young woman who has none (her father is a clergyman). He's used to getting everything he wants, so when he decides he wants to spend the rest of his life with her, he doesn't believe anything could stand in his way. He convinces her that they are fated for each other, then when their fathers unwittingly conspire to break them up, believes that she's intentionally jilted him and goes off to London to live a cynical, worldly life.

Her heart is broken, she no longer trusts her father, and in order to escape from her old life she finds a series of miserable jobs as a governess. Seven years later, he discovers her again at a garden party he's attending at her employer's home. She wants nothing to do with him, but, still driven by obsession and anger, he forces her to pay attention to him on multiple occasions. When she makes it clear to him that his association with her is placing her job, and therefore her entire welfare, in jeopardy, his first thought is that she can always put herself in his protection.

When she is fired, through something that is, in fact, indirectly his fault (his attentions to her made another party guest sexually interested in her; when he attempts to rape her the hero rescues her and beats up her attacker, who later slanders her to her employer), she finally finds employment that makes her happy: work in a dress shop where she makes friends and feels that she is in control of her life at last. However, the hero can't believe that she's happy without him, and when he discovers that she is living in a "dangerous part of town" he begins stalking her. No, really. He stands outside her window, he "escorts" her to and from her job, he constantly sends her presents that she never asked for, and he continually berates her about her choices.

Finally, when someone is killed in her neighborhood, he kidnaps her--he persuades her to ride home from work in his carriage, she falls asleep, and when she wakes up they're halfway to his cottage by the sea. She's horrified and tries to explain to him (again) why her autonomy is important to her, but she only sounds pathetic and he doesn't get it.

They stop at an inn for the night. She attempts to escape, but doesn't get far before she's attacked by two men in the street. He rescues her, then blames her for endangering herself and tells her she's sleeping in his bed for the rest of the night. [This is when I threw the book against the wall. I wasn't even going to finish reading it, but I ended up too curious not to.]

It turns out he doesn't actually rape her then--how nice of him! They continue to his cottage, where he makes her feel guilty because she turns him on so much that he's in pain. So eventually she does have sex with him.

Let me go over that again. She's been abducted and taken to the middle of nowhere from where she has no ability whatsoever to return. If she did return, she would probably have no job because she's been missing from it without excuse for several days. She feels morally obliged to him for saving her from being violently raped twice. She is sexually attracted to him and can't help feeling some nostalgic affection for him (despite her better judgment). Her position is hopeless, unless, as he makes absolutely clear, she marries him. At this point she has sex with him.

Of course, it's great sex and she doesn't feel bad at all about it in the morning, because they after all were destined for each other. They go back to London and get married and live happily ever after.

Heroine: "I just worry sometimes that you won't let me have my way."
Hero: "But I love you and I want to protect you FOREVER!"
Heroine: "Oh, okay."

If I were trying to write a book that sympathetically spells out the twisted psychology of a stalker, it would come out very much like this one. The more I think about it the more it blows my mind that Quinn wrote it herself, given her statements about being a feminist, and her understanding, demonstrated clearly in other books, of why men in the social situations she writes about have inherently more power than women, why that isn't fair, and why it's important that romantic heroines retain a whole lot of personal autonomy. My only guess is that her feminism developed a whole lot after she wrote this book, as it's one of her earliest.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose This. Essentially this review was my entire opinion of the book (up until the point I stopped which was after they ate oysters). I have always greatly enjoyed Julia Quinn's books, and I am rarely disappointed in her writing. But the Hero in this book was way too controlling for it ever to be a romance. Thank you for this review!

Dorothea Rose wrote: "This. Essentially this review was my entire opinion of the book (up until the point I stopped which was after they ate oysters). I have always greatly enjoyed Julia Quinn's books, and I am rarely d..."

I'm glad you liked my review! I don't remember the oyster part anymore, but I still remember how mad this book made me, heh.

message 3: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose Be glad that at least some of it has faded from your memory. It is still too fresh in my mind for me to ignore. *sigh* what a disappointment, but I guess every author makes mistakes sometimes.

Roanne Araneta Couldn't have put it better myself. Your review pretty much sums up everything that I think... and feel about the book. I've always enjoyed reading Julia Quinn, but I found this one a bit disappointing and worse I can't make myself stop reading, I'm obsessively curious as to how this story unfolds at the same time barely preventing myself from screaming and throwing the book.

Laili Worded much better than my review. I was too angry! The only reason I didn't throw the book was because I had it on my Kindle on my phone. Even then I had to take a break to calm down because I was so tempted to just smash my phone on the walls.

Mandi This book has been a struggle for me since I started it two days ago. It had an off feel right from the beginning, and I hated Robert from the minute he decided to ruin Victoria. I've been trying to get through it, but I just finished the part at the inn. I can't do it. I would count Julia Quinn as one of my favorite historical romance authors, if not my absolute favorite, but I can't believe she wrote these characters. Everything you said is exactly what I've been thinking as I read. I've read very nearly all of her books (I think this one and the sequel are the last on my list), and I've never seen her write relationships this way. I don't think I can finish this one, and I'm not sure if I'll give the sequel a try or not.

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