What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

Avon

Historical

ISBN: 978-0061491887

Reviewed by Shayna

   

 

They say Sir Harry Valentine killed his fiancée.  Of course, Lady Olivia Bevelstoke doesn’t believe such nonsense, nor has she any idea who “they” are when her friends tell her this bit of gossip.  Still, Sir Harry is Olivia’s new neighbor and his office window does face her bedroom window, so there’s no harm in satisfying her curiosity by watching him for a day (or five), is there?  The man does spend an inordinate amount of time in his office.  What is he writing all the time?  What are the papers he’s burning? 

Harry hasn’t the faintest idea why the Earl of Rudland’s daughter is spying on him, but he does know one thing: she’s not very good at it.  And when he meets the beautiful Lady Olivia in person, he discovers that he doesn’t like her.  Nor she him, apparently.  Yet, Harry finds he can’t seem to stay away from her.  So when the War Office, for whom he generally does translation work, asks him to keep an eye on a visiting Russian prince it seems like Harry might have something to distract him from the very distracting Lady Olivia.  Except that the War Office also wants Harry to keep an eye on the woman the prince seems to be courting.  And that woman is none other than his lovely, nosey neighbor.  For a man who spends his time working for the boring branch of the War Office, what happens in London just got a whole lot more interesting… 

Julia Quinn’s prose practically sparkles on the page in this charming tale.  What Happens in London has all the wit, humor, and romance I’ve come to expect from one of Ms. Quinn’s novels and I loved it. 

What makes What Happens in London such a wonderful read is its protagonists.  Both Olivia and Harry are intelligent, clever, and caring.  In other words, they’re impossible not to adore.  The same goes for Harry’s cousin Sebastian (whose book I am looking forward to) and Olivia’s twin Winston (whom I hope Ms. Quinn writes a story for one day).  Everything about these characters sparks with such energy they seem to come alive on the page.  True to Ms. Quinn’s style, the bickering between the characters is possibly the most enjoyable, for it’s never done with meanness and it always makes me laugh.  Those who have read Ms. Quinn’s The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever know that Olivia is the sister of that book’s hero (Turner) and the best friend of the heroine (Miranda).  Both books can be read on their own, though I admit I was a bit sad that, while Olivia frequently thinks of her best friend, neither Miranda nor Turner make an appearance in What Happens in London (for reasons which make perfect sense in the context of the story).

What Happens in London has to be one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read all year.  I smiled over the characters’ antics, I sighed over the romance, and I devoured the book in one afternoon because I was so engrossed in Harry and Olivia’s story that could not have put the book down even if my life had depended on it.  If I had to sum up my opinion of What Happens in London in one word, I’d chose “fun,” for that’s exactly what it is.  No other book has made me smile as much as this one in a very long time and for that reason I will say that What Happens in London should absolutely not be missed!

     

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