Book Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

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FullSizeRender-2Title: The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Author: Amanda Quick
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley Romance – Penguin Random House
Format: Hardcover

Summary
Murder seems to follow Irene Glasson everywhere. Fleeing her previous employer, who was brutally murdered in New York and going on the run, Irene finds herself in Burning Cove, CA…and once again entwined in a murder mystery. Working as a reporter, Irene makes it her mission to discover the killer and the connection between her previous coworkers mysterious death. What she didn’t expect was the link between New York and California. Oliver Ward, once a famous magician, is a master of smoke and mirror tricks. When a near death experience left him unable to perform any longer, he opened the Burning Cove Hotel, hideaway of the stars. In the process of trying to solve the murders, Irene and Oliver must team up to create the most mystifying show ever seen as if their lives depended on it.

Review
In a departure from Victorian times, Quick delivers a charming, fast read set in the 1930s of California with strong characters reminiscent of her previous titles. True to form, the murders interconnecting between New York and California left a nice twist. I also really enjoyed hearing a bit about 1930s California, however feel this is one area that could have involved more detail. Being in obscure Burning Cove I don’t feel truly depicted 1930s California at its most glamorous. As mentioned, it was a quick read, somewhat lacking in the detail that she is so known for in her Victorian time period novels. This being a first jump into 1930s California for Quick leaves me wishing she’d write more in this time period, so that it might be further explored.

Rating
4 Stars

Book Review: The Girl With The Make Believe Husband

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FullSizeRenderTitle: The Girl With The Make Believe Husband
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Summary
When Cecilia Harcourt receives a letter that her brother, and only remaining family member, was injured on the battlefields in the Colonies, she packs up a few meager belongings and heads across the Atlantic Ocean to find him. Upon arrival though, instead of finding her brother she found his best friend, Edward Rokesby, unconscious in hospital. In an effort to help Edward, she tells his superiors she is his wife. Edward eventually wakes up, however he has amnesia and despite not remembering getting married, recognizes Cecilia and believes she must be his wife, as everyone says. As they set out to find out what happened to her brother, Cecilia finds herself tangled in the lie more and more, and wondering what will happen to her heart when Edward finally regains his memories.

Review
As with all Julia Quinn books I’ve read, and I’ve read them all (she’s my favorite), I was hooked from the first sentence. And true to form, it was a quick read and a book that had me staying up much too late to finish…and paying the price the next morning. It was a cute story and I really enjoyed the change of scenery in America (or what will become America). However, the story was simple. It had great promise and then it just kind of concluded. Did it have a good ending that made me smile? Yes. Did I find myself laughing throughout the book? Yes. Did I like the characters? Yes. But there was just something missing. If you’re looking for a quick, fun summer read though, this is definitely the book for you!

Rating
3.5 stars

Book Review: Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology

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img_1965Title: Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology
Author: Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Guhrke, Stefanie Sloane
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Summary
When four friends, Beatrice, Anne, Elizabeth and Elinor, find a sixpence in an old mattress at Madame Rochambeaux’s Gentle School for Girls, they know that despite their difference in social classes, they will be forever bonded. Remembering the old nursery rhyme about marriage they decide that this will be their lucky coin to find true love and prosperous marriages.

“Something old
Something new
Something borrowed
Something blue
And a sixpence in her shoe”

Review
I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies. On the plus side, I appreciate the short stories, especially those that intersect and it’s a great opportunity to try out an author I might not have read before. On the opposite side though, the short stories can sometimes feel rushed at the end since they have to wrap up so quickly and there is usually one story that just doesn’t match up to the others in quality and interest.

Julia Quinn is my absolute favorite author. After reading the Avon teen romances, she was the first author I picked in the romance genre to try and fell in love with her Bridgerton series. Her premise for this story about 4 friends and the age-old marriage nursery rhyme fit well in Regency England. However, each story was very clearly its own story, which left me with a bit of disconnect. I would have like to have seen the 4 girls cross over within each story a bit more, however I understand that would have been difficult to do given the four authors each developed one of the girls. I did appreciate though, the difference in social classes and how each still made very respectable matches, keeping some variety in the story.

Sloane’s story of Anne read as a typical romance novel. Girl needs to marry a respectable man, girl meets non-respectable man, Rhys, and he agrees to help her find a respectable husband, man falls in love with girl, man and girl are stubborn and don’t see they’re in love, they live happily ever after.  It was the prefect start to the premise of the rhyme and offered a story line that was refined and felt like it wrapped up well.

Boyle’s story while the longest, was the cutest play on the rhyme for “something borrowed”. While it felt like it concluded it well enough, it did feel a bit dragged out at times between Cordelia and Christopher Talcott. However, it also had the most supporting characters in my opinion which helped to provide depth to the characters and story itself, which could account for the longer story.

Guhrke’s story, while an interesting premise and did bring more to the story of the girls growing up, seemed to end quite suddenly. All of the building and tension between Elinor and Lawrence in response to the case against her father felt like it needed some big ending and instead it just sort of ended and everyone lived happily ever after. I also would have liked to have seen a better idea for “something blue” than blue eyes. It was my least favorite of the four stories.

Quinn’s story was short (the shortest of the four stories), sweet and the perfect conclusion. Beatrice and Frederick seemed to have the most depth of any of the characters and the way it was released little by little with the growing attraction between them made the conclusion make sense and feel well-timed.

Rating
4 Stars