Friday, October 1, 2010

Ten Things I Love About You

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn 619

Annabel Winslow knows that in order to save her incredibly large family she needs to marry a wealthy man, and if he has a title than it will certainly make her grandmother happy. She has been taken to London by said grandmother to find said titled gentleman and it is not long before the very old, very rich, and very heir-less Lord Newberry takes a hankering to the young lady whose family has proved so fertile. Newberry is determined to wed and produce an heir so that his wastrel nephew, Sebastian Grey, does not inherit. Sebastian has no particular desire for the Earldom as he has his own revenue from the gothic novels he publishes under the pseudonym, Sarah Gorley. He also has some issues that stem from his time spent as a sniper during the war as he has difficulty sleeping and certain sounds will bring back terrible memories. When the two meet neither knows who the other is and they have a marvelous time in the dark with a stolen kiss, but when the truth is revealed nothing good can come of it.

Things really start to go South when they attend an opera together and in front of the entire ton Sebastian spends the duration whispering in Annabel's ear so that everyone thinks he's seduced her and she is ruined in the eyes of his uncle. In an attempt to bring her back into the fold, at the behest of his cousin's wife, Olivia, he begins spending time with her until his uncle decides it would be a great idea to steal Annabel away from his nephew. Sebastian is horrified, and Annabel is not happy either, and it just suddenly comes to his mind that they should marry each other. When the two are called away to a house party in the country everyone is there to watch the sparks fly between Annabel, Sebastian, and his uncle and they certainly aren't disappointed as Sebastian doesn't tell Annabel that he can support her family so she believes she needs to marry Lord Newberry. But when it comes to love Annabel knows that some things are worth taking a risk for and there are ten reasons she should choose Sebastian. Maybe more.

Annabel and Sebastian both did not really have anything going on for them to make them special. The best I could say was the Sebastian's war problems were interesting and leant a depth of character to his character and Annabel's brief determination to marry to save her family made her (briefly) rather sympathetic and heroic. But really- not really that exceptional. I couldn't understand why Sebastian didn't just tell her the truth about his money situation as he knew why she had to marry and that it wasn't as though she was gold digger. There was literally almost no sex between them, just a very few, short scenes where they got a little heated and then one brief sex scene at the end. For two people who didn't really have much else going for them I thought the sex could have really ended up helping them, especially as they both seemed so ripe for it. The lists with ten things were a fun little literary addition the book that I appreciated and wish there had been more of them.

One of the oddest things I found in this book was that it often seemed as though Sebastian had more chemistry, more in common, more real moments with Annabel's cousin, Louisa, than he did with Annabel herself. When Sebastian and Annabel were together I didn't really sense any true feelings between them or why or how they fell in love with each other. I felt that throughout the book the humor and the banter, and most of the conversations in general, were forced. Even moments that could have been genuinely funny, like her drunken grandmother giving sex advice about how to deal with large noblemen in bed, came across like the author had just pulled stuff out of the air to make her audience laugh- not as though two people were talking to each other and happened to say funny things. However, Quinn again managed to bring previous characters into the story without banging the reader on the head with it and it was more fun to read about than annoying.

Rating: This book was really nothing special and I expected more from Quinn. What usually annoys me, she did well, and what she usually did well she did not in this book.

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