by Julia Quinn
Actual Printed Book Edition (BOMC2)
Rating: * * *
In Brief: Honoria Smythe-Smith, of musicale infamy, has known Marcus Holroyd all her life. He’s like a brother to her. But when she sets up a trap for Gregory Bridgerton, she accidentally catches Marcus instead, and they realize they’re meant for one another.
I Thought: This is to be the first in a Smythe-Smith quartet of books, which I am kind of excited about. I read the first section as one of the previews in The Duke and I, and received it in the mail via BOMC2 a few days later. It’s a nice story, but kind of flat. It felt like most of the book was set over the course of a couple of days in the sickroom with Marcus, and while the hero and heroine were together, they weren’t really interacting. When they did speak, they had the trademark Quinn witty banter, which I always enjoy — as well as the somewhat wacky way they think about themselves in their heads.
Still, I don’t feel like I got terribly attached to either of the main characters, and the side characters seemed almost like an afterthought. It was great seeing Lady Danbury again, and the references to events in some of the Bridgerton books were fun. Overall, though, the story just lacked depth for me. I liked that Marcus isn’t a reformed rake, for once, but I don’t feel like I really understood who he was or his motivations; same goes for Honoria.
The ending felt terribly rushed, like all the action got shoved to the last 50 pages. There is only one really sensual love scene here, and it’s at the tail end of the book, but really sweetly done. There are really none of the overused tropes of the genre here, which is a great relief.
I read the book in a few hours; it felt much shorter than it actually was, possibly because it never seemed like much was happening. Not Quinn’s best work, but certainly an enjoyable bit of fluff for recovery after A Dance with Dragons (the review for that is probably going to be a while in coming, because I’m still deciding how I feel about it). It’s not going on the keeper shelf, though.