Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mr Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn ****

Ah, the sequel to The Lost Duke Of Wyndham - and it's really quite a lot better! Thank goodness! I was so disappointed by the Lost Duke - I just flat did not like it. I didn't feel the chemistry twixt Jack and Grace, and didn't even much like either character. But Thomas and Amelia - I found them to be much more likeable, and their love story more believable.

The premise is that Thomas, son of the 3rd son of the Duke of Wyndham, is the current Duke when both stories open. His father Reginald became Duke after the death first of his elder brother John, then the deaths of his elder brother Charles just months before his marriage and the Duke himself. Reginald was apparently an awful father and husband - he was already married when he became the Duke, and hated his non-titled wife. Thomas was betrothed to Amelia at age 7 (she was 6 months old) as a way to clean up the bloodlines. He has sorta taken his time setting the wedding date - and doesn't spend much time with Amelia, nothing more than the requisite dance at the ball or a few minutes here and there.

Then they start to get to know each other a little bit - he realizes she is intelligent if not highly educated (since her mother felt women shouldn't be too smart) and has a wicked sense of humor. She begins to appreciate his highly honed sense of honor. And then Jack Audley robs the Dowager Duchess, who decides he must be the son of her favorite older son, John, which would make him the actual Duke. If this is the case, Thomas - who has been raised to be the Duke - would lose his title, his home, even his fiancée because the betrothal contract is for her to marry the Duke, not necessarily Thomas himself.

Thomas is a much more amiable fellow than Jack. We watch him struggle with the inevitable truth - he is merely a Mister, no longer has the responsibilities of the position, and basically is completely rudderless. And yet he holds onto his inner sense of duty and honor, realizing that sense comprises his own personal core and not just his title. Amelia grows to love the man he is, not the title, and she fights for that.

Because it's the sequel (although it takes place simultaneously, like Jo Goodman's Compass Club series), we already know the family goes to Ireland to find the marriage record of Jack's parents. I still say they should have also located his birth record, but ... whatever. This book gives Thomas' and Amelia's POVs to this same series of events. I actually found myself liking Grace even less than I did in the previous story because of the way she seemed to be usurping Thomas' affections. I also liked Jack even less - he came across so immature and flippant about Thomas' position and responsibilities, unnecessarily so.

On the positive side, this story didn't seem to have all the short 1-3 word sentences and 1 sentence paragraphs that drove me batty in Lost Duke - lots more fully developed sentences and comprehensive paragraphs here. That was a relief! I guess that ADD writing was meant to reflect Jack's personality.

So - likable characters, entertaining story, odd lovemaking scene thrown in right at the end (I'm still trying to imagine the logistics of it - not completely incredible, but close) and touching marriage proposal at the end. Oh, and a funny ending to the epilogue. 4 stars.


Cindy W said...

Have you seen this?

Maybe it really will be out in Jan?

aunt rowena said...

maybe, maybe not... Hope Ms Valdez got her mojo back and will actually publish.