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This book is fabulous...Harry & Olivia are very much believable characters....thoroughly enjoyed reading this book...the plot too was interesting but the best part was how harry & Olivia start liking & falling in love with each other....I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a light romance and also humor in a book.....
When Sir Harry Valentine moves in next door to the Bevelstokes, Olivia is intrigued by local gossip (that he murdered his fiancée) and sets out to spy on him--exceptionally ineptly, causing initial friction between them. (Let's be honest, they hate each other.) Harry knows a bit about spying, having joined the Hussars with his dashing cousin, Sebastian, survived the Peninsular Campaign, and moved on to working for the War Office. True, it's the boring part of the War Office since he's mostly translating Russian documents for them (thanks to his grandmother he speaks the language fluently) but he rather enjoys the quiet life. However when he gets instructions to spy on a Russian prince who has shown a marked interest in Miss Bevelstoke, things get interesting. Julia Quinn has given us an interesting hero with an intriguing family backstory which has given him the odd hangup. There's a plot (besides the romance) which works well and a terrific proposal scene. This is the followup to The Secret Diaries of Miranda Cheever. Julia Quinn is always worth reading. There's witty dialogue, a lot of humour, high excitement and the obligatory sex scene (which she writes well).
This has got to be one of my favourite JQ books and I think that Harry is probably one my favourite of her heroes. I like that he is not a rake as so many of her men are but he is still witty. He is also kind hearted and intelligent. At first I thought that Olivia would not be the sort of girl to interest him, that he would be more suited to someone with more about her. But there is more to the Oliva we met in "The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever" and she turns out to be the perfect match. I loved that there was no inequality like in so many of her books, when it usually seems the woman falls in love first. Harry and Olivia hate each on sight, then actually grow to respect each other and fall in love almost at the same time. It was nice that they didn't come together until they were in love as well. I bugs me a little that with most JQ books the man more often than not just desires the woman rather than loves her the first time they make love.
I also love that this book actually had more of a plot as well, not just the romance and it was full of laugh out loud humour. I couldn't wait to find out what happens next.
Finally I loved the gothic novel "Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron" got a mention again. I think I would actually like to read this crazy book, killer pigeons and all!
Also has my favourite JQ lines when Harry says to Sebastian:
'You scream like a leettle girl.' to which Sebastian asks
'Is there any reason you're saying that with a German accent?'
They say he killed his fiancé. Lady Olivia Bevelstoke doesn't know who 'they' are exactly, nor does she believe it for a moment, but she's always been curious. And Sir Harry Valentine does spend an inordinate amount of time in his study. Acting peculiarly.
Fluent in both French and Russian, Sir Harry works for the boring part of the War Office, because despite spending years in the Hussars fighting Napoleon he'd rather translate documents than become a spy. But fluent Russian speakers are hard to come by in London, so when a Russian prince arrives - under suspicion regarding his motives and loyalty - Harry is the obvious choice to keep an eye on him.
It just so happens that Olivia is Harry's neighbour - but that doesn't explain why she's spent the best part of a week spying on him. When the prince starts showing marked interest in Olivia, Harry soon gets every chance to find out. Whether he wants to or not.
JQ is back on form with this delightful tale of rumours, suspicion and the amusing consequences of jumping to conclusions. Olivia is a true JQ heroine, with wonderful quirks - like her mental list making - and Harry is an intelligent hero, who is refreshingly comfortable with himself and his emotions. There's no self-delusion for him.
As lovely as their burgeoning relationship is, however, what makes this special is the wit, the ludicrous situations and fabulous supporting characters. Only JQ could have two characters court convincingly out of the windows of two separate houses, with ten feet between them. Or write more than one brilliant drawing room scene - though Sebastian definitely steals the show in the second.
A glorious return to form, complete with princes, badly written gothic novels and one of the best proposal scenes I've ever come across. This follow up to
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever
is an absolute winner. Can't wait for Seb's tale.
This book is a revelation as it is so well written & so very light, frothy & humerously balanced. Why does it work so well is because both the main characters are thrown together & so begins this incident of errors. Harry works for the war office & part of his job is to translate documents from Russian to English & enter Olivia who has just acquired him as her neighbour & rumour has it that he had murdered his fiance. She spies on him from her bedroom window whilst he is in his drawing room office & he pretends that he does not know that she is there. What these 2 go through, their thoughts, their initial hatred of each other, their growing attraction & the characters (especially Sebastian that add credence to the storyline) that round off this novel is brilliantly executed. What is so sweet about this modern day Jane Austen type novel ( there is no resemblance to the story so do not please be discouraged to buy this book) in style of writing is the feelings that slowly develope & bud into strong emotion. Julia Quinn has her own unique style but she has a lot of passion in developing the characters & the subtle story line that then leaves the reader with a spring to their step. Loved the highs & lows to their growing feelings for each other to the climax when Olivia realises that she has not known Harry at all well & is shocked to realise that she had placed all her trust in this one person & feels that she has been misguided. This particular scene was really well written without going overboard. Rounded off again with a nice romantic humourous touch. Loved it immensely.
Another gem from Julia Quinn. I loved the humour and the charm of the characters. Julia writes in such a way as to transport you into the story, bringing the characters to life. She knows how to keep you so intrigued that you can’t bare to put the book down until you’ve reached the last page and then leaves you wanting more. Bring on book 3!
A lovely mix of humour and romance with JQ’s telltale ability to develop characters and an intriguing storyline. If you want a purist regency story... this is not it, but it does draw on the events and behaviours at the time. There are some real laugh out loud moments