Tag Archives: ten things I love about you

the Married By Morning review

And I thought I was going to gush about Soulless…

Reading this book is like being back among beloved family you’ve been longing to see. No, scrap that. It’s like falling in love. The deliciously agonising kind.

I didn’t realise how few books have grabbed me like this recently until I was hugging the book to my chest and grinning – even in the agonising bits.

One of my gripes with Ten Things I Love About You was that I didn’t get the characters’ chemistry at all. Married by Morning starts with a kiss too – and my God did I get it! These two characters are so magnetic that you long for every single kiss as much as they do.

Okay, let’s be honest, probably more. That Kleypas sure can write a sex scene! And I love what she says on her website about writing them: “If done right, they’re crucial in showing the development of the characters and their relationship.” It’s such a brilliant approach to take, and it works. You can’t just skip through the hot bits if you’re not that into them (I can’t imagine doing this – I thought those bits were the whole point of romance novels (ok, sort of), but it’s true, lots of women have told me they don’t read the sexy bits), because then you miss a whole important part of the relationship development.

She also talks about spending a long time thinking about the words, to make sure she avoids cliche. I think this is at the heart of what I love about a Kleypas sex scene – she’s just as non-graphic as Julia Quinn, but so much more specific to her characters, so that it’s not a general sense of the amazing like, say, the earth moving, but a specific sense of how her characters are moved/challenged etc.

eeep! Already so many words and I haven’t even gotten past the rude bits yet!

This is the fourth book in the Hathaway series, which is an amazing series. The third book, Tempt Me at Twilight makes my top three romance novels of all time.

Usually in these kind of series the books are meant to also be able to stand alone and be read out of context. I think MbM would still be highly enjoyable on its own, but she definitely dives right in at the beginning without much set-up, so I would highly recommend reading the others first to get the build-up of the relationship. Because, to be honest, Leo and Marks (Catherine) kind of steal the show a bit when they appear in the first books

Which brings me to another thing Kleypas does so well – the characters of the proceeding books don’t just appear in “happily ever after” cameos so favoured by romance authors. Okay, so we definitely want to know that those couples we invested hours of our lives in have indeed turned out as ridiculously happy as we hoped they would. But it can make them feel a bit irrelevant. Or over somehow, like everything unexpected they were ever going to do has been done. The whole Hathaway family remains alive and involved in every novel of this series.

Oh, and possibly the very highest praise I can give it is this:

My very tired, very sceptical husband arrived home last night and picked up the book where I had put it down and started reading. He didn’t stop for four pages, when dinner interrupted him.

He looked up at me and said the unimaginable: “I was quite enjoying reading that, actually.”

the Ten Things I Love About You review

Okay. The very first thing I need to get clear is this: I love Julia Quinn.

I think she’s a damn good writer, her characters grab you by the throat (or heart, maybe) and don’t let go, and no one else writes a hilarious scene as well as her.

Think the argument over the word purview in What Happens in London.

Speaking of which – I think that was a masterful book. No plot gymnastics needed. Quinn made a superb book out of two people simply falling in love. How many novelists – particularly romance novelists – pull that off? I mean, just look to Quinn’s first novel Splendid and count the number of obstacles she threw in her protagonists’ path to make up for her lack of experience.

Okay. Now that we’re clear:

I was disappointed. And disappointed to be disappointed.

Her writing is as tight, funny and engaging as ever. But I think I’ve pinpointed the problem. One: I didn’t really like Annabel. Is that terrible? I just found her an unimpressive mixture of naive, wholesome, confused and bursting with sexuality. Sort of.

Two: I kind of didn’t feel like she deserved Sebastian…I wanted someone who challenged him and made him vulnerable. And while Annabel did that as far as the plot goes, I felt like Three: Sebastian was made less, not more by his transformation. And I had the feeling that Four: he was attracted to her because she was attractive – I just couldn’t really figure out what else about her drew him in so strongly.

Which leads to Five: from the scene on the Heath I was skeptical. I could imagine two attractive people sharing a kiss, but Six: I didn’t think they had much chemistry. Which is a shame, because Seven: the unfolding story relied on them having reacted really strongly to each other.

I admit that Eight: I spent a good part of it hoping Sebastian was going to run off with Annabel’s lovable cousin Louisa. Louisa was funny and endearing and insecure in such a wistful, plucky way. She would have surprised Sebastian, I think. I would have been excited for him to kiss her.

Okay, so there’s no point rewriting the book in my head, but you get my point, I hope.

I wasn’t on team Annabel. And I felt that Sebastian became less and less clear to me as a character as the novel progressed and that he was diminished from the dashing cousin in What Happens in London. Speaking of which (again), Harry and Olivia were just as great in this novel as in their own.

Also, Nine: I have this pet peeve about women shrieking during sex. Maybe if the scene is built and built and he does something particularly naughty to her… Maybe. But just for licking her nipple? Did any of you ever shriek for such a thing? Maybe it’s just the way I read the verb, but to me it’s kind of startling – and loud, and to do with fear.

Ditto writhing. (Of which there was none – whew!)

Anyway, there you have it, and I’ve no doubt there are hordes of people out there who disagree with me. I wish I could disagree with me.

Oh, and Ten: it made me pull silly faces like this:

Ten Things I...Love? About You