So after a week, I've read three novels and if I'm not wrong, they were the debut novels of Julia Quinn:
published in 1995, re-released by Avon in 2003
Emma Dunster is an American heiress who is spending some time in England with her cousins. The day of her debut ball, she and her cousin, Anabella, sneak into the kitchen in maid outfit to help out, in order to avoid going over the tedious details of the ball. Emma goes out to buy eggs and ends up saving the nephew of Alexander Ridgely, Duke of Ashbourne, from being ran over.My thoughts: Hmmm, the story was okay. I mean, nothing very original, but well-written. The only thing that really annoyed me was Emma could be very stubborn sometimes. Not that it's bad, but in some circumstances, it can get on the reader's nerves. One of my favorite part was when her aunt, Lady Caroline, points out that Emma almost ruined her marriage of love simply because she's been stubborn. Otherwise, both characteres were enjoyable, but perhaps a bit too much.
Alexander has no intention of getting married and thus, has been avoiding balls and bashes like the plague. However, his interest in the maid who saved his nephew is too strong and he attends Lord Worth's ball and quickly realizes that Emma is no maid, but a lady. So starts the game of seduction between the two.
Dancing at Midnight: 3.5/5
published in 1995, re-released by Avon in 2002
Lady Anabella Blydon is taking a break from the marriage mart. While her parents are in Italy and her brother at school, she has gone to her cousin, Emma,'s house for a little stay. One day, while reading under a tree, she meets Lord John Blackwood.My thoughts: I liked this book better I think. It was a little bit funnier and John wasn't as domineering as Alexander. I also prefer Belle who's more level-head than her cousin. Again, the story wasn't that original, but still enjoyable :)
John Blackwood is the youngest son of an Earl and has received the title of Baron as a reward for his act of courage during the war, which he had to leave after an injury which left him with a permanent limp. Anabella and John quickly fall in love; however, their happiness is at risk with the return of John's old enemy...
Minx : 2.75/5
published in 1996, re-released by Avon in 2004
William Dunfor is Alexander and Belle's best friend. He has unexpectedly inherited a title and a property in Cornwell. There, he discovers that the land and property has been managed and run by Henrietta Barrett, aka Henry, a young girl who was a relative of the previous Baron's wife.My thoughts: Quite frankly, I was looking forward to this book the most since I thought it had the most potential. However, I was disappointed. I thought the beginning was great and half-way through the book, it seems Ms Quinn wasn't sure how her characters should be or perhaps she changed her mind and the storyline became predictable and cliche. Dunford was a good character: gentleman and funny; however, I didnt' think he would care about society that much. As for Henry, she started out as a tomboy and then, became a lady... which I truthfully, didn't expect. I wished Henry would have been older and stronger... becoming a lady in my opinion, seems like a weakness. As if she couldn't hold her head high and didn't have a stronger backbone. Also, I thought that Ms Quinn took the easy way out with the huge misunderstanding. All in all, not that book was bad, just not as good as it could have been.
Henry has been running the estate ever since the death of her grandmother's cousin; the Baron being too busy to grieve. She loves the place and nobody knows it as well and so, she's afraid that the new lord will kick her out or marry her off. She comes up with a plan: if he doesn't like the place, he probably won't stay and so tries to make Dunford's stay as miserable as possible. The plan fails and both become friends instead, with Dunford reassurance that he won't kick her out. Their attraction is palpable, but everything goes awry once Dunford learns that Henry is actually his ward.
Verdict - Hmmm, so what to say? I know that these are her debut novels and there are quite good for a debut. My complaint is that it seems her main storyline wasn't developed enough or long enough to carry the entire novel and so she had to add intrigues and misunderstandings. Not that it's bad, but it didn't fit sometimes.
Otherwise, I'll definitively read more of Ms Quinn's books, starting with the ones I bought. However, Ms Quinn didn't impress me enough to be an auto-buy. Ms Quinn has a very strong voice and is one of the best in the historical romance genre; however, this genre is just not for me. I get bored quickly and I find most of the storylines redundant.
If you're interested, here is the link to her website: here.