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Love at first sight, followed by a star-crossed lovers meme. Robert Kemble, an earl's son, meets and falls in love with Victoria, a vicar's daughter, not in his social class at all. They plan to elope, but their fathers mess it up for them and each believes the other is at fault. Seven years later, Victoria is a put-upon governess, but when Robert comes back into her life it isn't exactly plain sailing. He wants to make her his mistress; she refuses. Even so, she loses her job and ends up working as a seamstress. It's all right in the end, of course, but this is not Ms Quinn's finest book – written early in her career.
I read this when I was younger and loved it but now it is very outdated and pretty horrific in places. It reads like the worst sort of Mills and Boon, where the man attacks and the woman has stuff happen to her. It’s interesting that a plot device used by the hero in this book is used by a villain in one of Ms Quinn’s more recent books. The story has not aged well and I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.
I have loved every one of Julia Quinn's books until this one. As she explains at the start of the book in this one she explores love at first sight and unfortunately for me it just did not work. Within a day of the main 2 characters meeting they were declaring their love for one another in every other sentence, it became a mushy badly written book with unbelievable characters doing things out of character for the time the book was written in I.e. would a 'lady' go walking with a man at midnight wearing just her nightgown with a coat on top when she had only met him 2 days previous? The book sadly was a great disappointment, it irritated me so much I didn't finish it which is unheard of for Julia Quinn. I bought the next book in the Lyndon series at the same time but haven't tried to read it yet - if it follows the same style then I wont bother with that one either. As a suggestion, download the first chapter and read that first before deciding whether to buy the book.
Whether you believe in love at first sight or not, there is something magical about the idea, something whimsical and inherently young about it. Robert Kemble, Earl of Macclesfield, wasn't a believer until he stumbled across Victoria Lyndon one summer's day, and lost his heart. In a swift courtship over a halcyon summer, the pair fall head over heels and make plans to elope. However, the intervention of both disapproving fathers leads to disappointment, disillusionment and heartbreak.
Seven years later, while attending a house party, Robert discovers the family governess lost in the maze. It's her! And he's so furious he doesn't know whether to kiss or kill her. For Victoria it's just another cruel twist to an extrememly bad day, and his refusal to leave her alone only makes things worse.
No matter what he feels for her, Robert knows he can't live without her, but when she refuses to be his mistress, he feels as lost and heartbroken as he had seven years earlier. A trip home soon sets him straight about outside interference, but when he seeks out Victoria to beg her forgiveness, he finds her gone. She could be anywhere, but he has to find her. He can't lose her again...
For Robert this is a tale about love and trust, of finding that one special person and moving heaven and earth to make sure he never lets her go. But for Victoria it's something different. When she first falls for Robert she is young, naive and easily influenced. She believes that love is everything, and that's all they need.
Seven years of hard, thankless work make her bitter, insecure and uncertain of her life. After the second time of Robert breaking her heart though, she finds an independent place, which finally allows her to feel secure and be herself. When Robert shows up again she doesn't want to give that up, not for him, nor everything he offers - not even the moon.
For all the love between these two it takes a lot of time for them to actually understand each other, and what they want from life. Their bitterness makes it difficult for them to trust, but in the end this is a lovestory, and it finally conquers all. (Including Robert's annoying controlfreak streak.)
Bittersweet at times, but mostly charming, it's a wistful tale showing the development of JQ towards the master of her genre that she is today.
(Oh, and Ellie, Victoria's enterprising younger sister, goes on to much greater things in 'Brighter than the Sun'.)
Julia Quinn always masters her particular genre. This book draws one in directions one didn’t think were possible, however it is wonderful to be drawn in, left out and then drawn back in so skilfully. Another "Cant put it down" romantic novel.
Not my favourite JQ book, but as always the characterisation of the 2 protagonists is excellent and well drawn you feel genuine loyalty for them and frustration about the situation. I also think JQ highlights the vulnerability of the ‘governess’ role in these times.
I found this very addictive reading as I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I did find myself wanting to shake both Robert and Victoria at times for not talking to each other properly when they were reunited. But as the book went on I found them both engaging. Robert, I found became very adorable, especially at the cottage. I particulary loved the scene where Victoria is taking a bath. It was so nice to read a JQ book were the hero loves the heroine from the start, even during the times he was denying it to himself.
I do have a question about the name "Victoria" though. I always believed that before the Queen, it was unheard of as a Christian name for girls in this country.
The story was amazing, lots of internal conflict and character development, and, in Julia Quinn fashion, the story's situations were just so funny, loving, touching, and plain awesome. This is my third time reading the book and it is probably my absolute favorite (and that says a lot since I adore the Bridgerton series too!)
Characters are rubbish, historical details are weak and a deeply unpleasant relationship between the hero and heroine. The heroine just seems to "screech" or want to hit the hero.. and he stalks and abducts her. Just urghh.
I stumbled across Julia Quinn by accident when I picked up one of her books second hand and was looking for something to read. I have been working my way through her books and I just loved this one. There are so many hilarious scenes in it, that I found myself chuckling out loud several times. A bit embarrassing when you read at work in your lunch break!! I would highly recommend this book and all of Julia's works to anyone who wants a lighthearted, fun read.