What Happens In London by Julia Quinn
Once upon a time, I read a Julia Quinn book and I remarked to a good friend, "This book's about a whole lot of nothing." In fact, many Julia Quinn books are about a whole lot of nothing. Nevertheless, they are extremely appealing. Why? They're romantic! There's delicious sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine, sparkling banter, sweet love-making, lots of deep POV reflection, and tons of humor. I don't need a lot of conflict, or even plot, to make me happy while reading a romance novel. I need...romance!
What Happens In London is not the best Quinn book I have ever read, but it was sweet and pleasant and a perfect summer read. I find it pretty amazing that Quinn is able to produce a book with very little conflict, pretty "common" characters (Olivia is just a regular girl, nothing different or special about her), and still make it work. It's really a testament to her writing ability that she pulls the reader into her web and keeps us there until the end of the book. I sort of feel like I just ate some cotton candy. It was delicious for a moment, melted away, and I won't remember it tomorrow. But that's okay. It was delicious while it lasted, and that's why I read romance. It made me happy. (I am a woman with simple needs, really). The scene in the library when Sebastian is reading from the lurid gothic novel, and the Russian prince, his body guard, 3 ladies maids, the butler, and the hero are all listening in rapt attention, is priceless. Quinn at her best. That's right up there as one of the best romance scenes I've read this year. I will say that Quinn attempted to introduce a rather serious topic at the beginning of the story...Harry's father's alcoholism. However, this theme sort of fades away and is not discussed again. If Quinn writes a story for Edward, Harry's younger brother, perhaps this will be re-addressed. Sebastian's story is next (Summer 2010), and it should be great. He shows a lot of promise as Harry's best friend.
I definitely recommend this for light summer reading. It's fun and sweet, and everything Quinn's fans have grown to expect from this author.