Saturday, 1 May 2010

What Happens In London by Julia Quinn

Cor. May already.

I read this historical romance (about 17 named characters in a 400 page novel) in 12 hours. The question is, 'Why do some authors get good reviews while others get criticism?'

The story on offer is basically a rehash of 'Rendevous' by JAK which was probably written in 1996 or some other ancient era. A much inferior rehash.

Basically this book begins seriously depressive, becomes light-hearted about mid-way and ends up in slap-stick. As in madcap. As in farcical. Completely negating all the serious scenes in the story. From which you can tell that I didn't laugh when I was supposed to and just got annoyed. My bad.

The plot is just as full of holes as, say, Heat Seeker. With some identical weaknesses. Like turning the so called bad guy into a harmless guy half way through the novel. The Prince Alexei who tells Olivia he's like to rape her (in Russian) is not the same guy who listens enthralled to Sebastian as he acts out that ghastly 'story within a story' Ms Butterworth and the Mad Baron. I grew to hate that stupid novella.

Another piece of useless padding was all that stuff about the hero's father's relationship with alcohol. What purpose did that serve? It was completely irrelevant to the storyline? The hero Harry cleans up his Dad's puke 127 times. Did I really need to know that? Or how Harry changed his mind about going to college on a whim. Just totally irrelevant. And just why did Olivia's Mom leave her alone to be slobbered over by the Prince?

What was good about the story is how Olivia and Harry fall in love. That was nice. There is no way Olivia's aristocratic Dad would ever, ever have accepted Harry's proposal to his daughter. Harry has much less wealth and status. Olivia will be sneered at by many of her peers for marrying Harry. I only say that because in the story so much is written about the social positions of each of the main couple.

I didn't like how useless Harry is in finding Olivia when she is kidnapped. He acts completely irrationally and almost has fisticuffs with a guy who is basically harmless...that's the legacy of a drunk Dad of course. There is one scene of rumpy-pumpy in the whole story. It felt completely out of sync with the general tone of the book. Which is 'kisses' as AAR might say. It very much read like the hero was taking advantage of a naive ninny heroine.

In the end I felt let down because the story seemed to promise so much and actually delivered very little that was interesting. Like really neither of the main couple have any character at all. I mean the author goes out of her way to portray the heroine as have absolutely no attributes other than being beautiful. And loyal to her friends and family. Whilst the hero is basically disempowered by his family. Harry's behaviour after about the middle of the book turns out to be rather shabby and shallow. The hero's bff Sebastian is written way more interesting than Harry. But that's probably deliberate sequel baiting. When I think about it even the bodyguard Vladimir is more interesting than Harry.

I think Caroline Linden's View To A Kiss covers pretty much the same ground also.

But nothing can compare to the AWESOME 'Rendevous.'

Coincidentally. I think all three books have the same name for the hero. But only Rendevous writes the hero as being in control of his life. And only Rendevous gives the heroine any character at all. I thought Augusta was an absolutely marvellous creation. Particularly when she challenges her husband to a duel even though she has zilch fighting skills. Now that was meaningfully funny. It is also one of the few romances that portrays both the courtship and the married life of the main couple. Like I said. Awesome!

tbh Reading a novel like 'What Happens' makes me understand (and appreciate) the market for edgey erotica. RockOn Lora! al.

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