Saturday, August 22, 2009

Laughter Reviews #28 - KEEPER - "WHAT HAPPENS IN LONDON"

By Julia Quinn

Historical Romance

Upper-class Regency Londoners and new neighbors develop a relationship by virtue of being able to see into each other's rooms.

Clever title. Art doesn't say much about content but is blessedly free of manchests.

What Works
Apprentice Writer originally intended to stay away from this story, given how it is about characters introduced in 'The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever' which was her first Quinn DNF. But the buzz about 'London' was so consistently positive she gave the first 20 pages a shot - and was completely sucked in. The story is delightful fun, hero and heroine both likable and believable (unlike 'Cheever').

There is a secondary character with 'hero of the next book' written all over him (which AW doesn't mind) and another who seems at first to be heading into villain territory but ends up somewhere else (which AW really likes). There is the heroine's habit of composing mental lists of all topics under the sun (it becomes a matter of great reader anticipation to guess what the next might be). There is excellent satire of gothic novels ("....pecked to death by pigeons...." AW will say no more.) And there is the remarkable feat of having the funniest scene in the whole book populated by three men rather than hero and heroine, as might be expected in a romance. On a more serious note, there is poignant description of how alcoholism can cause damage across generations.

What Doesn't
The heroine's family seems remarkably casual about her interactions. More than once, AW wondered where her parents/brother were and whether their non-protective approach was perhaps supposed to show they considered her on the shelf and not in such need of sheltering, given how thoroughly the hero took over functions that normally would have been carried out by relatives.

Whatever the reason, AW was willing to suspend disbelief since it all carried the story forward.

Altogether, a wonderful addition to the Quinn oevre, and a keeper on AW's shelf.

But does it make you laugh? Yes, yes, yes!
Was the gentle reader not paying attention above? "....Pecked to death by pigeons..."! There's more where that came from. Including a tuba. Go read and laugh for yourself.


Jenners said...

I really love how you write your reviews and highlight some key words!!! Well done.

M. said...

Jenners - you made my day. Thanks. As for me, I think your picture is hilarious.

Thomma Lyn said...

Pigeons and a tuba in the same book -- heh! That sounds like quite a story, and lots of fun. I always enjoy your book reviews! :)

Julia Smith said...

' "....Pecked to death by pigeons..."! There's more where that came from. Including a tuba.' - LOL, M!

M. said...

Thanks, TL & Julia!

Esme said...

Thanks for stopping by-I am from Ottawa originally and used to live Bloor Street West.