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What Happens In London

by Julia Quinn


This is the kind of lighthearted romance where readers can smile and chuckle at the silly pretenses that lovers exhibit while courting each other. What Happens In London doesn’t provide much substance in terms of story or characters, but it’s pure entertainment anticipating what these characters will do next.

It all starts when Lady Olivia Bevelstoke hears the latest gossip floating around London: Her new next-door neighbor to the south, the handsome Sir Harry Valentine, known for dressing in black and keeping to himself, may have killed his fiancée. Although Olivia doesn’t fully believe the gossip, she can’t stop herself from spying out her bedroom window, which just happens to face Harry’s home office where he spends most of his time.

Harry is swamped with work translating foreign languages for his job with the War Office, but can’t seem to concentrate with that beautiful blonde next door peeking at him from behind her curtains each day. He doesn’t like the fact that this rich (and probably spoiled) young lady has nothing better to do with her time than spy on a gentleman trying to put in a hard day’s labor.

When they finally meet at a house party, both have already formed decidedly negative opinions of the other. After an awkward discussion, they like each other even less.  However, when Harry gets a new assignment, to spy on Olivia and the obnoxious Russian prince who fancies her, the task becomes more enjoyable each day. Soon Olivia begins to warm to the idea, as well.

This light, fluffy romance should win readers' affections with its humor (Olivia makes mental notes of curious situations) and style (the couple mildly flirts and teases for three-quarters of the book). While not the most passionate or well-plotted of Julia Quinn’s novels, What Happens in London may well be the most fun.

The Book

Avon Books / HarperCollins
June 30, 2009
Mass Market Paperback
0061491888 / 978-0061491887
Romance - Historical (England, 1821)
More at
NOTE: Sexuality, Mild Violence

The Reviewer

Leslie Halpern
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies, Dreams on Film, A Writer's Guide to Fearless Interviews, and the co-author of Connections: A Collection of Poems. Coming Soon: Passionate About Their Work: Celebrities, Artists, and Experts Discuss Creativity.
© 2009