Series: Splendid #1
Also in this series: Minx
Genres: Historical, Romance
American heiress Emma Dunster has always been fun-loving and independent with no wish to settle into marriage. She plans to enjoy her Season in London in more unconventional ways than husband-hunting. But this time Emma′s high-jinks lead her into dangerous temptation...
Alexander Ridgely, the Duke of Ashbourne, is a notorious rake who carefully avoids the risk of love...until he plants one reckless kiss on the sensuous lips of this high-spirited innocent...and condemns himself to delicious torment. Little does he know that his passion has touched the very soul of the lovely enchantress...and committed them both to a lifetime of splendid ecstasy.
It’s the first Julia Quinn book!
My Thoughts on Splendid
As a writer, I found Splendid to be absolutely fascinating in terms of author development. (Or rather, seeing where JQ started.) Because… this early JQ book has little in common with some of my favorite JQ series, like the Bridgertons and Smythe-Smith. Splendid is like reading a new, budding author, which in some cases, is more accurate.
I’m not totally sure my complaints are reader-centric, either. If I hadn’t studied story structure and worked on improving my own writing, I doubt I would have noticed or picked up on the same issues in Splendid.
Those issues were thusly: characters were incredibly self-aware and communicated their thoughts almost immediately afterward, little stood in the way of characters (if Emma wanted to sneak into a house — SURPRISE! — a window would be open for her to do so, to the point of not being completely believable), adverbs abounded incessantly (she says with an adverb because she can), and the story’s pacing was off (likely because I was never sure what the ultimate story problem was — the love story or other things?).
Although Splendid will never be a favorite book — and it was perfect to read in bits and pieces over a few days (not usually my preferred method) — it offers a lot of valuable learning experiences for me as an author. I almost want to sit down with JQ’s earlier books and compare them with her recent ones to see where she’s changed and improved her writing in an attempt to figure how to better my own.
The biggest lesson, though: if readers don’t know what the big overriding question is in a story, the pacing gets all wonky. The synopsis reads like the HEA is most important, but certain events occur earlier in the story and had me arching an eyebrow over what was going to happen in the next 70 pages — because I didn’t know. (Well, I knew, but it didn’t seem as obvious as it should.)
Big thanks to Quinn for letting me borrow her copy!