Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mr Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Title: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Two Dukes of Wyndham, Book 2
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
ISBN: 97800060876111
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 370 pages
List Price: $7.99US
Characters: Thomas Cavendish, Amelia Willoughby

In a nutshell: Thomas Cavendish faces the loss of everything he holds dear when his grandmother kidnaps Jack Audley, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. Along for the ride is Thomas's long-time betrothed, Amelia Willoughby, who may or may not still be his fiancée.

Characters: Amelia is an ok character, I guess. I wasn't very attached to her but I didn't hate her either. She was a little two-dimensional as compared to Ms Quinn's other heroines—very similar to Grace Eversleigh from The Lost Duke of Wyndham, actually. I will say that I found Amelia's constant urge to grow a spine rather believable for a Regency lady raised with the understanding that she would marry a duke one day, raised to honor her parents' wishes above all things. It wasn't until she felt like she was being treated unfairly that she decided she'd stand up for herself.

Thomas is actually a little different from Ms Quinn's usual heroes—the ones I've read so far, anyway. He is very proper, never doing anything wrong, always adhering to duty, ever conscious what is due to his title and position. For all that, he is not all that arrogant. He is quite good friends with his grandmother's companion, Grace. This strikes me as a little unlikely considering how proper he tends to be but I was willing to go along with it. Meanwhile, I think Ms Quinn did a good job portraying how a man who was raised to be nothing but a duke could feel a little lost when faced with the removal of that dominant part of himself.

Storyline: In Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, the focus is on Thomas Cavendish, the possibly dispossessed Duke of Wyndham. There is a lot of introspective ramblings pertaining to each of the main character's feelings on what was happening. Some of these were absolutely necessary, some felt rather redundant. But, as an author myself, I know how difficult it can be to accurately determine how many reminders for a character's actions are necessary, and how many are too many. And honestly, I don't think it is something that really can be determined due to the differences in readers.

The romance of this book was odd, to say the least. Thomas was engaged to Amelia since childhood. Neither one had a choice in the match. Both accepted it but Thomas took his time getting around to the actual marriage. What was weird was the fact that Amelia seemed half in love with him even though he took her completely for granted. It was difficult to believe.

I was a little surprised at how few detailed love scenes were in this book. Not to say that Ms Quinn is normally overly graphic, but I seem to recall far more in her previous novels. (This is a point in this book's favor, by the way.)

Criticisms: This story lacked the depth of Ms Quinn's other novels. Honestly, had she just written one book, titled it The Two Dukes of Wyndham, and wrote from the POVs of each of the four—Jack and Grace from the 1st book and Thomas and Amelia from the 2nd book—she could have had a winning novel. It may have been a bit faster paced than her previous novels, but it would have been far less repetitive. Just my opinion.

I read the two books together, skipping over parts that were just a repeat scene. I think this helped weed out a lot of the annoyance due to repetition.

Overall: 3.8 of 5 stars. I enjoyed this one more than the first—probably because I read it at the same time—and found the inner struggle of this hero far more interesting.

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