Because of Miss Bridgerton book review



Because of Miss Bridgerton is the tenth book about this family by the highly prolific Julia Quinn, but it is actually a prequel to the others and set during the American Revolutionary War.

The Bridgertons and the Rokesbys live on neighboring estates, and tomboy Miss Sybilla “Billie” Bridgerton has grown up romping around the countryside with the Rokesbys’ daughter and two younger sons. George, the Rokesby heir, however, is a few years older and as serious and dutiful as befits his future as an earl.

Of course, when Billie gets trapped on a roof trying to rescue a cat, it would be George to come to her rescue. Predictably, the sparks start to ignite. George eventually discovers there is more to Billie than her daredevil ways. Deep down, she has a dutiful side too.

Quinn’s sparkling dialogue and internal monologues are always fun to read. Her description of a croquet match made me wonder if perchance she’d ever met any of the cutthroat players in my own family.

Miss Bridgerton is actually the first of a new series, so we’ll be learning more about the rest of Billie and George’s siblings one day soon I imagine. Can’t wait.

Four Nights with the Duke review

It cannot be said too often that I am a huge fan of Eloisa James. She is just so darn smart. Her latest novel Four Nights with the Duke is a delight.

As she often does, Ms. James sneaks in English literature references. See if you recognize the one on page three. This time, she also gives a sly shout out to fellow authors Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas. The heroine, Mia, is herself a romance novelist, and it was great fun to see the progression of her writing as her own story unfolded.

The dialogue between Mia and Vander, her duke, sparkles. Vander’s perpetually inebriated uncle and Mia’s nephew are wonderfully drawn characters. Even the duke’s horse has a “winning” personality.

Poor Mia has no idea that the figure she considers dumpy and unappealing has quite the opposite effect on men. Vander, on the other hand, is quite confident about his own charms. He foresees no problem in insisting Mia will have to beg him for those precious four nights of the title, but what she wants is a marriage of convenience only.  At least with him. She needs his name, but she hasn’t forgiven him for making fun of her and her literary pretensions years before.

Mia is the eighth of James’ desperate duchesses. I can’t wait for the ninth.


The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy review

I couldn’t wait to read The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn. Her previous books featuring the Smythe-Smiths and their appalling musicales have been entertaining in the extreme.

This one didn’t disappoint. Even funnier than the concert was the play put on by the cousins who alas are no better actresses than they are musicians. I was snorting with laughter throughout that chapter. (For those who have read earlier books, let me reveal that one prominent character in the play is a unicorn Wink, wink.)

Quinn’s descriptions of sisterly relationships were also both funny and accurate. It is indeed quite possible to love one’s sister dearly and want to throttle her simultaneously.

Sir Richard is a darling albeit fairly clueless about the workings of the female mind. I was honestly surprised when his secret was finally revealed to his new bride Iris. Thank heavens she has a good heart, a good head on her shoulders, and the gumption developed through years of dealing with all those sisters.

Julia Quinn
Julia Quinn

KissCon launching on West Coast

I often wish I lived on the West Coast. Now I have kiss two more reasons. Avon is launching new events called KissCon.

What does KissCon entail? A group of Avon authors will be doing a signing, a Q&A, and fun, interactive events with the audience. There will be prizes and raffles. Authors attending each event will vary slightly. Attendance is free, unless you spring for a VIP ticket—which gets you in to an exclusive reception with the authors, as well as one of the featured authors’ books.

Maybe I will finish one of my own romance novels in time to be featured at a Florida KissCon someday.  Anyway, here are the locations:

KissCon Seattle (at Copperfield’s Books in San Rafael, CA, Saturday, 11/22):

Avon Books and Copperfield’s San Rafael are joining forces to bring romance readers the very first KissCon (an Avon Affair!) on November 22, 2014.  There will be a special limited-attendance VIP event, and a larger public event.  We are encouraging readers to reserve tickets for both!

Featured authors include: Ilona Andrews, Elizabeth Boyle, Rachel Gibson, Laura Kaye, TJ Kline, Julie Anne Long, Sarah MacLean, Cathy Maxwell,Jennifer Ryan and Lori Wilde.


KissCon Seattle (at University Bookstore, Sunday, 11/23) :

Avon Books and University Book Store are teaming up to bring Seattle area romance readers the city’s first-ever multi-author KissCon (an Avon Affair!) on November 23, 2014.  There will be a special limited-attendance VIP event, followed by a larger public event.  We are encouraging readers to reserve tickets for both!

The star-studded author line-up includes: Ilona AndrewsJennifer BernardElizabeth BoyleJulie Brannagh, Rachel Gibson,  Lorraine HeathLaura KayeSophie Jordan, Sarah MacLeanCathy Maxwell, Darlene PanzeraJulia Quinn and Lori Wilde.


Listening and learning from the best


I had the very great pleasure of hearing Eloisa James and Julia Quinn speak this afternoon at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. The ladies seem to be good friends and have collaborated more than once on books but were quite different from each other.

Julia is the more outgoing of the two. In answering questions from the audience, she generally went first in answering and was careful to repeat the question since those asking didn’t have microphones. Eloisa is slower to answer and a bit more thoughtful as befits her other job as a professor of Shakespeare.

Eloisa’s yet-to-be-officially-released book, Three Weeks with Lady X, was available at the festival, so the romance readers of Fort Myers got a present.

Asked why they began writing, Julia said it was because she loves to read. Eloisa was more practical. She had student loans to pay back and wanted to have a second child. That child, a daughter, is now 15 and into black nail polish. Julia’s 13 year old daughter is “angelic” by caomparison, Eloisa said.

Eloisa said both ladies are rather slow writers and claimed not to be as dsiciplined as she could be. She has been known to take a lengthy time off between books and sometimes even while in the middle of writing a book.

The ladies take a different approach to editing their work. Julia edits as she goes along. She has been with the same publisher and editor since her first book in 1994.

Eloisa says her editor is “intrinsic” to her process. She says editing is painful, but she welcomes it. In fact, she switched editors because her first editor wasn’t editing her enough, she felt. Her current editor recently cut 100 pages from her manuscript in progress.

Another question concerned the inclusion of modern issues such as PTSD or alcoholism in historical settings. Julia, married to an infectious disease specialist, calls herself a science geek. Eloisa tends to incorporate conditions that people she knows personally have grappled with.

The ladies agreed that in order to sell a novel to a NY publishing house, an author must have a literary agent. The exception to that is Harlequin.

Eloisa and Julia were scheduled for only 45 minutes, but those in the audience left wanting more.