Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Julia Quinn debut novels

So last week, when I went crazy at the bookstore and bought too much books, I ended up buying many Julia Quinn's novels. Now, I'm not that huge of fan of historical romances and I never read Julia Quinn. However, this author has a good reputation and once I started reading the back blurbs of the novels, I couldn't put them back on the shelves! They all sound so good :D

So after a week, I've read three novels and if I'm not wrong, they were the debut novels of Julia Quinn:

Splendid: 3/5
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.

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.
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.

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.

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...
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 :)

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.

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.
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.

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.


  1. I just don't like the 'American Heiresses' storylines and avoid them all.

  2. These books weren't that impressive IIRC. I like her older works better.

  3. Rasberry swyrl - well this "American Heiress" book wasn't bad. Sure they did allude to her accent, but that was about it.

    Holly - aren't these her older works? LOL :D I thought Splendid was her first book! what does IIRC stands again?

  4. O've never read this author but I think I have one of her novels in the TBR.

  5. You like historical romance no, Mailyn? I think you should give it a try :P

  6. I gave up on her way back with The Duke and I- the one and only I ever read by her. Just didn't hold my interest ...

  7. Oops, I meant to say NEWER works. LOL

  8. I haven't read any of those books and you've just scared me away from them. LOL. Oh well...haha.

  9. Zeek - they're not bad, just nothing really new LOL :P

    Holly - Ohh, that makes more sense now :D ah well, I think I have one of the Bridgerton series... perhaps that one will be more interesting... but don't you think that the storylines are limited in historicals?

    Rowena - ah well, sorry :P but then, I guess you don't miss that much :P I'll let you know if there's one you really need to read :D by the way, do you read many historical? it seems to me you're more a contemporary gal :D

  10. I liked them when I read them (when they first came out) I'm not sure how they would hold up today for me. And I stopped reading her somewhere in the middle of the Bridgerton series

  11. hey Kristie - i guess you're right. If I haven't read so many historical, the books would have probably been more enjoyable...

  12. I loved The Duke and I. I like her Brigderton series. Except for the last book.

  13. Hey Isabel :D I'm glad you liked her book :P I don't think I have that one though...