I will freely admit to being partial to Julia Quinn. The Viscount Who Loved Me was one of my first romances and you don’t forget the books that first brought you to the genre. But I’ll also admit that Julia Quinn isn’t the most consistent author. I either love one of her books or find it utterly meh. I loved Ten Things I Love About You.
Ten Things I Love About You showcases Quinn’s talent for comedy. Despite how disgusting Sebastian’s uncle is, the story remains light-hearted and funny. Lady Vickers is brilliant. I had a feeling she might be, regardless of Annabel’s opinion at the beginning, and my instinct proved true.
Sebastian Grey is the heir presumptive to the Earl of Newbury. He’s a loquacious sort who uses his talent with words to write gothic novels. Due to his popularity as an author, he has a decent amount of money even if he isn’t ridiculously wealthy. (He also enjoys trying to figure out whether his friends and family like his novels. He is wonderfully unsubtle, like a puppy.) Therefore, he doesn’t care much whether he gets the title or not. Lord Newbury hates Sebastian and is determined to produce a son before he dies.
So, he chooses Annabel, a voluptuous young woman from a fertile family who needs money to pay for her many siblings’ education and dowries. Annabel isn’t very interested in marrying a dirty old man, but her grandparents (Lord and Lady Vickers) are pushing her into it. Then, she meets Sebastian and the sparks fly. Then she figures out who he is. Then he figures out who she is. Then everyone in town knows Lord Newbury’s nephew flirted with Lord Newbury’s prospective fiancée.
In many author’s hands, Annabel would be a martyr heroine. She has the set-up for it. Yet Annabel really does consider her options, instead of throwing herself on the sword for her family. (And she does this with family pushing her towards the marriage, instead of begging her not to do this for them.) She clearly stands up for herself against Lord Newbury instead of silently suffering. At the same time, only her grandparents have a presence in the novel. I would’ve liked to see more of her siblings, since they are integral to her motives. (I did love her cousin.)
Ten Things I Love About You managed to take a few twists I wasn’t expecting, mostly due to the characters acting more like reasonable people than the leads in a romantic comedy. Plus, I adored the ending, which is pure slapstick. And it wouldn’t be half as funny if the tone didn’t darken a bit first. Quinn is still one of my favorites, and reading Ten Things I Love About You reminded me that I really do need to finish reading her backlist.
Ten Things You Should Know About This Book
1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow’s family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind and The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian’s uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
7 is shocking, 8 is delicious, and 9 is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to
10. Happily. Ever. After.
Read an excerpt here.