Monday, August 31, 2009
2 March 1810 . . . Today, I fell in love. At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her—until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke,the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever. But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day—while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier—and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers . . .
I really enjoyed this Julia Quinn romance, my first of hers outside the Bridgertons. I was a bit wary, I didn't know what to expect, and I had heard some didn't like this one all that much, but I loved it! Frankly, I don't see how I can't love a Julia Quinn novel, they've all been great so far!
This is the story of plain Jane, Miranda Cheever who as a young teenager is nothing much to look at. Set amidst the glittering ballrooms of post Regency England, Miranda finds herself always in the shadow of her best friend, the beautiful Olivia Bevelstoke. Miranda develops a crush on Olivia's older brother Viscount Turner which turns into a full blown tendre as she gets older. Turner once helped Miranda at the age of ten by encouraging her to keep a diary, and he was kind to her and she has never forgotten it or gotten over her crush. Now, it is her first season in London with Olivia. Olivia's brother Turner is now a widower who's wife had died of a broken neck. He detested her, she had been terrible to him, and was carrying another man's baby. Because of what Letitia (his wife) did to him, Turner never wants to remarry. His heart had been broken and trampled on and he doesn't trust women any longer.
But, he does have a fondness for Miranda and her fresh way of speaking out and looking at things. He finds her amusing and non-threatening so he befriends her. Before long he finds himself attracted to her. Her full lips and lush curves do much for his imagination and more than once he kisses her, and eventually they have an impromptu night of passion together. Turner is torn, he must do his duty and ask her to marry him, but at the same time, he's hesistent. He doesn't love Miranda, though he knows she loves him.
As usual, Miss Quinn's heroes are more complex under the surface. Turner is carrying around alot of baggage from his horrible first marriage. He's in a quandary - can he overcome his soured memories from his first abhorrent marriage and be happy with Miranda and make her happy too? Turner takes forever in making up his mind and Miranda can't wait forever - she's pregnant! She hightails it off to Scotland to her aunt and uncle with Olivia (who is in on the secret) and waits to see if Turner ever shows up to ask her to marry him. He finally does, (he's a bit of a dimwit in this respect, but makes up for it later), but by that time, she's lost the baby, there is no urgency any longer to marry and she now doesn't want to marry Turner. I don't blame her! She knows he doesn't love her and she's not sure if she can live in a marriage with only one side of it in love. Of course, Turner comes to realize, he wants to marry Miranda, not just because he thinks she's carrying his child or for duty. He has his honor and he's a gentleman - he has compromised her, blah, blah, blah, and all that, but he's also genuinely fond of her. But, does he put it to her that way? No! He makes it sound like he must marry her. Common decency dictates it. He'd be a cad if he didn't, you just don't debauch virgins who come from good families! It's all very unromantic as far as Miranda is concerned. But, he manages to convince her in more than one way, he is a masterful lover afterall with gorgeous good looks and blonde hair, with some prodding, she relents and marries him.
Once they are married, Miranda promptly gets pregnant again. From Turner's point of view, they are blissfully happy. But Miranda is unhappy - Turner can't say "I love you" to her. Now, I can relate to this and Miranda's problem, it's awful to love someone and wait and wait for those three magic words - no matter how trite it seems. Actions should mean more than words, and Turner acts like he loves her, it's obvious he cares a great deal about her, but without those magic words - it's not the same! I'd be miserable too if I were Miranda!
Does Turner come around, can he wise up and realize he loves his wife before it's too late?
I really loved this story, it wasn't quite as humerous as her Bridgerton series, but I liked Miranda and Turner together. Plus, their sensual moments were great and they made a good pair, very memorable scenes between them. This is another winner and it made for some very diverting reading on my flight out to Vegas for my vacation last week!