Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

Hello everyone :) So how was your week-end? I hope you got some nice weather... Here in Montreal, we got some sunshine... along with some thunderstorms ^_^; and today is quite cold. Ugh, doesn't feel much like a summer, if you asked me :(

My week-end was rather relaxing... Went for breakfast with a friend and then, went to a restaurant opening... didn't stay long though. I only read one book and a harlequin at that, so quite short... On the plus side though, I did start working on my excel spreadsheet for books. When I went to Kristie's last month (1 month already!!!), I stole her excel spreadsheet where she keeps track of all her books :) I figured it'd be easier to delete the ones I didn't have and add the surplus then starting from scratch... which it is! :) However, so far, I've only deleted... Yesterday, I actually sat for a couple of hours and added some... I still have a long way to go though ^_^; Actually, I find it scary, LOL :) To know exactly how many books I own...

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
published by Avon in June 2009

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn't believe it for a second, but still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than a nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...

Genre: Historical
Series: connected to The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever
The Story: The blurb does a very good job at summing up the storyline, so I won't try it :P

My Opinion: What Happens in London was a very cute, enjoyable and quick read. I think what I appreciate the most was the simplicity of the plot. I liked it that Olivia and Harry had time to get acquainted with each other - actually, they didn't even like each other at the beginning. The banter was quite amusing between the two.

I have not read The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, so I don't know how Olivia was in that previous book, but in this one, she's a pleasant lady. She's firm in her opinion and doesn't seem to like frivolities too much. I like the fact that she's aware of how Society perceives her and how it affects her. She's clever, level-headed and curious LOL :) Harry was a nice man... LOL, a nerdy historical hero :) I liked the fact that he lived an ordered life and wasn't a rake at all, didn't engage in debauchery. It's unfortunate that he doesn't have a close relationship with his siblings, but you can see that Harry cares and is trying, especially towards his younger brother, Edward. All in all, I enjoyed the H/H. They were pleasant and well developed enough, although they perhaps lacked some depth. The secondary characters were interesting, but perhaps too uni-dimensional. It's clear that they were there to serve a purpose and that's what they did. Sebastian was my favorite, LOL :)

Overall, the plot is quite simple, but in a good way. Harry is asked to spy on the Russian prince to figure out whether or not he is a Napoleon supporter. At the same time, he is asked to keep an eye on Olivia, because if she was to fall for a Napoleon supporter, it would be embarrassing to the English aristocracy. Harry and Olivia had lots of scenes together and it was fun and cute. Their interactions with the other characters were funny as well. The best scene was probably when Sebastian was reading a passage of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron LOL :) then, when he dislocated his shoulder and it was re-set and he screamed like a girl LOL :P One of the thing I liked as well is that there was no big misunderstanding... I was glad that at the end, when it is revealed that the reason Harry first called on her was because of duty, she didn't get angry. She understood and didn't hold it against him.

My only complaint about this book is while it was fun and enjoyable, it was also a little bit bland ^_^; I don't know, but the storyline was quite passive with little action. Oh, it was cute... but I don't know, I felt something was missing... that it could have been more interesting (without putting a murder or mystery to solve). Also, I felt like there were a few loose ends: what about Harry and Edward's relationship? What about Harry's parents - I'm assuming they're dead...

My Grade: I'm really hesitating between a B and a B+, but I think I'm going to go with a B. What Happens in London was definitively fun and enjoyable... but it was also a bit too light and fluffy. It's good, but I personally don't think it's Ms Quinn's best book.


  1. This is on my list to read this week. For some reason, I keep picking up other books before it. I'm not sure why...

  2. Lori - It happens sometimes... mental block of some kind. I just hope that you enjoy when you do pick it up :D

  3. Oh I started this last night! Hopefully I'll like it. Thanks for the review!

  4. Hi, nath. I liked this book quite a bit. Like you I found it funny and light. For me, it was a breath of fresh air after a few reads full of angst, lol!

    It made me smile from beginning to end. Sort of like a light farce, in a way.

    I think JQ's next book is about Sebastian...

  5. This sounds really good. I've been wanting a reason to pick up a JQ book, and you just gave me one!

  6. I read The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever so I was really look forward to What Happens in London. I am probably in the minority here (from other reviews I read about) but I enjoyed TSDOMMC more so than WHIL. I thought What Happens in London had too much cuteness in it. The first several chapters, the dialogues and the H/H povs were cute and funny but afterwards it came to be too much. WHIL storyline was way too fluffed and too bland. Though my opinion may stem from how it differed from TSDOMMC. My grading would be between B-/C+.

  7. I didn't care for the first book so I don't know if i'll read this one or not yet. good review.

  8. I have this one in the TBR pile - I'll pull it out if I'm grumpy ;)

    It's been a month already!? Wow.


  9. I've got my books in excel too. I just wish I could take it with when I go to UBS. I'll be curious to see what your final number is. :)

    I haven't read a JQ in a while. This sounds like something I would need to be in the mood for. Thanks for the review. ;)

  10. Btw, I also have my books listed in an excel spreadsheet too. I had to as it got to be the point that I couldn't remember what I have, what I read, who was in what books, the series number, and most importantly, the upcoming books to be released. I have my "bookshelf" on a pen drive and carries it with me pretty much everywhere. :D

  11. Tracy - Can't wait to find out what you think of it :D I hope you enjoy it :D

    Hilcia - True, too much tortured heroes and secrets lately in historical romances...

    Still, I thought it was a bit bland ^_^; but it served its purpose to be entertaining.

    I sure hope Sebastian gets his book :)

    Brie - LOL, glad I could help :) how are you doing by the way?

    Tabitha - I haven't read TSDoMMC, so I can't compare... but I get what you're saying about the cuteness, it's true... there was a lot of it.

    LOL, I actually have a pretty good memories when it comes to books I own and read and where they are... but I wanted something so I could keep track... only, starting one fresh? It would have taken me forever LOL :) (Not that this is a much quicker process... but at least, there were a couple of hundred books I didn't have to add manually :P)

    Isabel - I think that many didn't care for the first book. If you're looking for something cute and fluffy, I would say this is it.

    Cindy - LOL, that sounds like a perfect mood to read it :D

    and yes, it's been a month already!! Time goes by too quickly!!

    Leslie - LOL, sometimes, I wish too :) I don't know when I'm going to be done yet with the compiling. It's strange because when I look at my books... I know I have A LOT. But A LOT is sure different from a specific number :P

    Welcome for the review :)

  12. Thanks for the review, Nath!

    This is a sequel to The Secret Dairies? I didn't know that. But then, I only remember that I've read TSDOMMC and that's all. *blush* I have this one on my list of books to buy although now I'm not sure I need to get it right away. ;)

    So you got your hands on Kristie's famous spreadsheet? Well, I'm another one looking forward to your final number of books. ^_^

  13. Taja - It's not really a sequel... It's just loosely connected. The H/H from TSDOMMC don't appear, just briefly mentioned.

    LOL, as I said, it's going to take a while till I'm done cataloguing my books... especially if I keep buying more! LOL :P