Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

****
As a ten year old it is clear that Miss Miranda Cheever is not destined to become a great beauty and unfortunately there's plenty of other children to make that perfectly clear.  At her best friend Olivia's eleventh birthday party Miranda Cheever decides she hates Fiona Bennett and falls in love with Olivia's older brother, Viscount Turner.  Nine years later Turner is a bitter widower and Miranda is about to have her first season in London.  Will he ever see her as anything other than a clever but naive girl?

I've read all of the Bridgerton series and am now starting to work my way through the others.  You know what you're getting with a Julia Quinn book, a jolly romp through the regency period with heroines who are a bit too independent and not too beautiful and heroes that have a problem with commiting to their "true love".  It's possibly a bit predictable but done with style and great humour.  This seemed "thinner" than the others I've read, mainly beacuse it lacks a sub-plot and has fewer minor characters to become interetsed in.  Best friend Olivia doesn't come across as particularly interesting, although there is scope for her to develop with her skill for saying the most tactless thing at inappropriate moments.  It'll be interesting how this goes with the next book "What Happens in London" which is based on Olivia's story.
However, Miranda is a likeable character and doesn't come across as too wet, despite her long unrequited love for Turner.  As a hero, Turner varies from disagreeable to quite sweet, although it's clear how badly he fared with his first wife Leticia, it's not really enough to explain why he can't admit he loves Miranda.  It is corny that she has to be close to death for him to realise, but again, it just about does enough in terms of story development and in keeping this female interested!  There's the usual twists and seductions to keep things moving along.  Overall, I enjoyed it - it's well done, but not her absolute best.