Book review: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #4)The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There has been a lot of hate in the reviews for this book because of the (huge) deception the hero of the novel played on the heroine. However, one reviewer in particular nailed the issue on the head by describing this book as being about forgiveness.
I love Julia Quinn books–I love her witty dialogue, I love how her characters are fully fleshed out characters with (mostly endearing) flaws, and I love that despite the obstacles, the hero and heroine will end up together happily ever after.
But what I particularly love about her books is that they go beyond the typical Regency romance. She writes with more depth than the typical romance writer. And this book is perhaps the poster child of that principle.
Yes, the hero acted like a world-class jerk. But that’s not what the book is about. The book is about whether one (admittedly colossal) mistake is worth jettisoning a lifetime of love. The book is about the meaning of forgiveness. And the book is about the sacrifices you make for love.
Did the hero do something horrendous? Yes. Does that define who he is for the rest of his life? The heroine makes a decision about that. The reader may disagree with that decision, but that question is the crux of the book.
If what you want is a light and frothy romance (and I often do), this book is not for you. But the genius of the author’s writing is that her books (and in this one, particularly), you get the frothy romance, but you also get heroes and heroines that act like normal human beings, with all of their quirks and flaws. Life doesn’t always work out the way you think, and it’s how you deal with that fact that makes you the person that you are. Kudos for the author in making that point in another deftly written Regency romance.

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Book review: A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Julia Quinn books as immensely satisfying “mind candy,” whenever I need a break from more serious reading. Her characters are generally well developed, the plots are interesting, and the dialogue is always witty.
“A Night Like This” continues the saga of the Smythe-Smith family, mostly known for the tone deaf musical performances the family put on every year.
I had mixed feelings about this book. As always, the dialogue was clever and witty. The heroine was unusual for this genre, in that she was of the gentry, sullied her name and became a governess. I like that. And the plot was more complex than is typical for this genre. I like that as well. But I had some difficulties about the hero. He was nice enough but surprisingly two dimensional for a Julia Quinn hero. There was nothing to dislike about him, but he wasn’t well fleshed out enough to really like him either. He was, well, boring.
For Julia Quinn fans, the book is satisfying enough, but it is certainly not the strongest of her works. For those who are looking for an introduction to her work, I would start with her Bridgerton series, which really is lots of fun (especially the earlier books).

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