Review: Where’s My Hero?

Where's My Hero?
Where’s My Hero? by Lisa Kleypas, Kinley MacGregor, Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three Novellas That Are Part of Larger Series

Each of the three novellas here are part of a larger series. Although each novella can be read as a standalone, they are better if the reader is aware of the characters who are part of the series.

Each of the novellas has characters who are engaged to the wrong person when the right one comes along.

AGAINST THE ODDS by Lisa Kleypas — This novella is part of the Gamblers series as the heroine is the daughter of Derek and Sara from DREAMING OF YOU. Miss Lydia Craven is engaged to be married to Lord Wray. On the night of her engagement announcement, she is kissed by Dr. Jake Linley, her nemesis with whom she had bickered and fought for four years. Lydia believes her fiance is perfect for her because they have similar intellectual pursuits even if there isn’t any passion. Almost on the eve of her marriage, Lydia and Jake end up locked in a cellar together and she finds out that passion might be the most important thing after all. This is a cute little story which is obvious and doesn’t have much twist to it. The best part is seeing Derek and Sara again. For that I would read this story again and again. The romance of Lydia and Jake is okay, but Sara and Derek are amazing even in cameo. Rating: 4 stars.

MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT by Kinley MacGregor — Simon of Ravenswood, aka “The Wraith” is a landless knight who is part of the Brotherhood. He is in love with Kenna, the cousin of the King of Scotland. He has been writing to her BUT she thinks that it is Simon’s friend, an Earl, who has been writing to her. Now she believes herself engaged to the Earl, but he doesn’t know anything about it. This novella is part of the Brotherhood/MacAllister series. I haven’t read the other books in this series, but I really enjoyed this story. I thought the dilemma the characters found themselves in was intriguing and I was very interested in how things would work out. Now I want to read more of the series. Rating: 4 stars.

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS by Julia Quinn — This novella is an add on to the Splendid/Blydon Trilogy. Edward “Ned” Blydon, Viscount Burwick, is engaged to Lydia Thornton. Having given up on finding love, Ned has become engaged to Lydia for comfort and a piece of property adjoining his estate. A week before the wedding, he begins to know her sister Charlotte and realizes that perhaps he gave up on love too soon. This was a nice coda to the Blydon series which resolves Ned’s story. The story is light and funny and heartfelt. Quickly readers are clued in to the solution to Ned’s dilemma, but he doesn’t know. I enjoyed this one as a conclusion to the trilogy. Rating: 4 stars.

Review: Dancing at Midnight

Dancing at Midnight
Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Adequate Romance That Doesn’t Live Up to Quinn’s Later Books

“She’d never been one to back down from a challenge.”

FINAL DECISION: This is a perfectly adequate book but lacks the depth, clever humor and complexity of Quinn’s later works. If I had read this book first, I think I would have liked it better.

THE STORY: Lady Arabella Blydon had had two seasons and has rejected numerous proposals then she meets the neighbor of her closest friends. John Blackwood, a newly minted Baron returned from war with a limp, and shadows and regrets which haunt him and make him unworthy of a woman like Belle. At the same time, he has a hidden enemy that threatens his life. Even when John rejects Belle for her own good, he cannot forget the bluestocking who has stolen his heart.

OPINION: This is a typical and pleasant Regency historical romance. There is a bit of darkness (the hero is haunted by his war past), some humor, some mystery and suspense (who is trying to kill the hero) along with your expected romance. For me, the most successful part of this book is the humor. Unfortunately, the remainder of the story is fine but I never felt there was any real darkness or real danger. The book lacked the urgency and depth to suggest that there was anything really endangering the hero and heroine.

This book is pleasant and I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help but compare the book to Quinn’s more recent novels. Unfortunately, this book suffers in the comparison. The characters are flatter and less complex, the story is pretty straightforward without any real danger involved. As a result, the book is one that is enjoyable and a nice read but not one I would come back to.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are some significant appearances by the characters of the series which will please those who read SPLENDID.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DANCING AT MIDNIGHT is the second book in the Splendid or Blydon Trilogy. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

Review: Splendid

Splendid by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An Early Book By Quinn is Good But Not Up to Her Later Standard

FINAL DECISION: A book that feels more formulaic than a normal Julia Quinn novel, SPLENDID has some madcap moments but after a while the number of dramas that had to be negotiated wore on the story.

THE STORY: Emma Dunster is an American heiress who intends on enjoying her season in London with no plans for marriage because she wants to return to America, marry and run her father’s business. Masquerading as a kitchen maid, she goes out on an errand and ends up saving the nephew of Alexander Ridgely, Duke of Ashbourne, a notorious rake. Furious when he finds out her deception, Emma and Alexander begin a dance where neither wants marriage but yet they cannot stay away from one another.

OPINION: This book begins well. The twist of having Alexander believe that Emma is a kitchen maid and then discovering that she is actually an heiress is funny and brings the characters immediately together in an intimate fashion. Emma shows herself to be independent and determined as she wants to use her business sense. Alexander is a bit of a jerk about the whole thing. The two cannot seem to stop being attracted to one another despite each believing that they want something else.

This book just has too many dramatic moments and twists and turns to drive the story forward instead of fostering connection between the characters. For me that means that while I like the book, I found it somewhat forgettable. It’s one of those books that I read, enjoyed but won’t think to pick up again.

The good news is that Quinn has gone on to write some amazing books.

WORTH MENTIONING: This was Julia Quinn’s first book and at times it shows.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SPLENDID is the first book in the Splendid or Blydon Trilogy.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.