Sunday, 24 January 2010

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn


****1/2
Olivia Bevelstoke is beautiful, blonde and slightly bored with the whole London scene. Her best friend has married her brother and although she's happy for her it has left a bit of a hole in her social life. Olivia fills this gap by spying on her new neighbour, Harry Valentine, after she hears wild stories about him...did he really kill his fiancée? Harry is amused by her inept attempts to spy on him but becomes further involved in her life when asked to spy on a Russian Prince who is very interested in pursuing Olivia. He vows to keep her safe from the suspicious prince but that becomes increasingly difficult when he realises he is in deeper than he thought.
I gave it the extra half as I thought it was a better plot than the previous Miranda Cheever novel, but it's not up to the standard of the best of the Bridgerton books. However, Olivia, despite being sooo beautiful (and I do hate perfect heroines!) is a vivacious and fun character. I thought she was a bit weak in the Miranda Cheever story, but her wit and inability to think before speaking gave the story the usual Julia Quinn sparkle. Harry is slightly different to many of her usual heroes in that he has a proper job as a translator for the war office. He's clever and bookish and although he becomes a bit of an action man towards the end it isn't his main feature. The two of them hate each other on sight, but gradually the romance develops. Have to say at first this sudden change isn't convincing but as both characters are so likeable you do want them to get together. Strangely for Quinn the love scenes seemed fairly perfunctory - not her usual stuff!

The ending is silly and contrived and was far too painlessly resolved, particularly as Alexei was foul in the earlier part of the book but then had a personality transplant. Still I really wasn't bothered as it's just a delay until they get together.

Sebastian's recital of the dreadful Miss Butterworth novel was amusing and he's someone that I'm interested in finding more about in the future. A fluffy, humorous regency romp that's not particularly memorable and not a keeper, but was entertaining.