Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second - or third - look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.
Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can't quite believe it's all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can't help thinking that he's hiding something... even as her heart tells her to say yes.
©2015 Julie Cotler Pottinger (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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"Not the best."
Yes I would, I have enjoyed previous works by both and likely will again.
I am a devoted Julia Quinn fan but this was not up to her usual standard. I found a couple of the characters that I believe I was supposed to have sympathy for highly unlikeable, and the general premise almost distracting. In that day and age.... but I digress. My other problem was the tidy bow. It lacked any sort of lesson learned. I realize this is a romance novel and I should not judge to harshly, but what I felt most when reading this was frustration and a need to get on with it already.
"Oh no... just no...."
I seriously WANTED to like this book. I love Julia Quinn, I love the Smythe-Smith Musicals but this book -the whole premise - is so utterly BAD! Iris, the Heroine, spends more time tripping and falling in this book than anything else. UGH! The whole story is a twist on the Beauty and the Beast story, only the beast is the unattractive girl. The Heroine has really nothing particularly likable about her, the Hero... YIKES, he is a total D.H. (and I don't mean Dear Husband) He marries her quickly because she is plain (ugly) and doesn't have much of a dowry so she won't make much of a fuss. Then -- He uses her (Spoiler alert! Stop reading here if you REALLY want to sit through this book) -- because he discovers his unmarried, virgin sister is pregnant, and he wants her to claim the child as theirs. Of course, the sister is not up for this plan. Poor plain Iris... She is milk toast and bland and barely stands up for herself. She thinks her husband finds her unattractive (and really...) but apparently she grows on him (like a fungus) and he discovers he is in love with the poor beast. It's really really dreadful. The Narrator does a wonderful job, as always, but UGH! Not Ms. Quinn's best work to say the least. I would recommend skipping this one.
"Not my favorite"
I have severe mixed emotions on this one. On one hand, I love Julia Quinn's writing style including her humor. I mean really!, the unicorn and the sheep? Hysterical! On the other hand, Richard's secret was horrible. How can he trick a woman like that? He put Iris in a terrible position. I wanted her to go back to London and leave Richard to think about what he had done. But somehow, Richard became likable. This book is different than Quinn's others in that it's a bit darker and heavier. But her style comes through and somewhat saves this. I can't wait for the next musicale and the story of yet another Smythe-Smith.
"Skip this one!"
Painful. Mean. An unpleasant story. I was uncomfortable and disappointed at the heartless and demeaning treatment of the heroine. This plot line should have been abandoned early on. It left no room for romance.
"Sometimes HEA is at the end of a rough road"
Setting : London 1825
Poor Iris. Of all the Smythe-Smith group, she had the roughest time getting to her happily ever after. First of all, she would forever associate meeting Sir Richard with the cacophony otherwise known as the annual Smythe-Smith musicale. He is in attendance for the express purpose of getting an introduction to her. He is in need of a wife in very short order, and he has heard that she is in desperate circumstances, as she is getting close to being on the shelf. She will accept his proposal of marriage with alacrity. Won't she? We're talking about the plainest of the quartet, and the one with the abrasive personality. Plus, there's not much of a dowry. But we're also talking about the girl with the ascerbic wit, who prefers to stand in the corner watching, observing the failures and successes of others. Hard to fool this lady. So after a week long courtship, when he asks for her hand and she asks for time, he compromises her. After the marriage, he takes her to his far-away estate and proceeds to confuse and hurt her, though he is kind and solicitous. Sir Richard has a secret he can't share with Iris just yet, because for a little while he want her think we'll of him. And he is sure that the revelation will make her hate him. There are points in the plot that bothered me, but since the lack of communication was central, I just had to get over that "why doesn't she" or "can't he" outlook. It never got to where the plot point made me think either character was TSTL.
The characters in this story are well rounded. Although both are likeable, they also have flaws. I will admit to never liking Iris through the other books in the quartet. That abrasive, acerbic personality was just not lovable. Quinn had a rough row to hoe to make this lady an appropriate heroine as far as I was concerned. Of course, the curiosity of how she would do this pushed me to want to listen. It turned out to be a nice story worth the time I spent with it.
Rosalyn Landor is one of my favorite narrators for this genre, though she does make me think of Lisa Kleypas. I had to remind myself a few times that I was listening to Julia Quinn. I guess it's because it seems that she has narrated every LK historical romance I have. Regardless of that, I enjoyed her performance of this book.
Overall, this is very worth the credit, with no qualifiers.
"A Very Mature Lovestory..."
I cannot express how much I appreciate Julia Quinn's decision to write a love story that is both appealing and appalling. The appeal comes from Quinn's ability to create characters that are not only intelligent and funny, but are also heart-renderingly vulnerable in their search for love. At the same time, the single-minded actions of the hero, Sir Richard, are so heart-breaking that you actually hurt for Iris. Accepting Sir Richard is not an easy thing to do, but it is very satisfying to witness Iris' growth (as well as Sir Richard's) as they discover the depth of their true feelings. This is love in its most raw, unsentimental state. And it is a reminder that romance novels need not always be "delightfully happy" to be good.
"liked this one but...."
this book was a bit slow getting started. once you got started it was great. most of Julia Quinn books you can't put down from the first page. over all- happy with the book, just a slow start.
"Love this series"
I am a fan of Julia Quinn and wish for more in this Smith-Smythe series. I love the family! In this book, as I listened, I was so frustrated because I did not know where it was going and what to expect. I nearly died laughing with the scene at the musicale!! I was doubled over and just wished I could have listened to it over and over again. I hated Richard's tactics and wished he was just truthful to Iris but in the end it worked out. Can't wait to see if we have more in this series!
"A fun and touching story"
Another Smyth-Smith romance from one of today's best authors. I listened to it in two sittings. You'll want to cheer the resolution at the end.
"Great Book and Great Audio! Highly recommended."
Loved the story of Iris and Richard! Another great Smythe Smith book. Always a treat!
"Great Performance, bad story line"
What disappointed me most, was the the whole story was based on one secret not secrets as the title suggests and that was a dreadfully stupid secret and the resolution completely unbelievable
Even though the story is not up to what one could wish for, I was upset the most by the fact, that Julia Quinn does not seem to know that Jane Austen did not publish her books under her name but as By a lady or By the Author of Pride and Prejudice. She really should know this or her editor should point it out to her.
She is just a fab reader, everything is good.
There are too little characters not too many, if you ask me.
Even though I usually like stories more, if the characters do not jump into unhistoric pre marital action quite as frequently before marriage like Julia Quinn usually makes them do and my favourite Julia Quinn is also a bit darker and a after marriage story (To Sir Phillip With Love), this did not help to redeem this particullar story.
"Not one of my favourites"
I really love Julia Quinn especially her earlier books (would love some of those to be put in audio format) but this really wasn't one of my favourites.
I didn't like the "hero" much and mostly hoped that the heroine would ditch him. Sadly not one I will listen to more than once.
"Good twist and a different plot from previous books"
This is the 4th book in the series and Sir Richard 's secret is a surprise twist. I love her books and cannot wait for the new release.
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