Review by Barb Drozdowich
What Happens in London is my latest read from Julia Quinn. You may remember her as the author of the Bridgerton series. For the most part, that series had me in stitches and in tears. I find that Julia Quinn keeps me turning the pages regardless of which of her books I am reading!
As is pointed out in the blurb, this book is about Olivia Bevelstoke and her next door neighbor, Sir Harry Valentine. Sir Harry Valentine is a quiet, unassuming man who spent years fighting for his country and now works for the War Office translating documents that are often vital to national security. He is fluent in Russian, French and English.
The heroine of this story, Olivia Bevelstoke, lives next door. One day at tea, her friends tell Olivia that her neighbor (Harry) killed his first wife. Her gossipy and flighty friends convince her that they are telling the truth and so, Olivia starts to covertly watch Sir Harry through her bedroom window. Almost from the beginning Sir Harry is aware that Olivia is watching him and wonders if she is spying on him. He has recently been assigned to spy on the Russian Prince that people say is almost engaged to Olivia. And what results is a lovely love story that is full of comedy and of gossip.
Olivia has a twin brother, Winston, who loves to pick at her. Both from the Bridgerton series and from this book, I find that Julia Quinn does a wonderful job of writing about the interactions between siblings! She comes so close to my reality in my younger days that I find myself laughing both at her descriptions as well as my memory of a similar thing happening to me. One of the funniest aspects of this book were the lists that Olivia either wrote or started to write. When Olivia’s brother walks into her room unannounced when she is spying on Sir Harry she starts the list “Reasons Why I Might Be Crawling About On the Floor AND Need to Avoid The Window.” After Winston mortifies her “How I would Like To Kill my Brother, Version Sixteen”. When confronted by Sir Harry at a ball, “Diseases I Know How To Feign.”
I’ll leave you to read the whole book without giving away the story! I liked that Sir Harry wasn’t an alpha male as is common to many Regency Romances. I liked that Olivia wasn’t a headstrong, independent heroine. Sir Harry and Olivia were fun to watch interact and fall in love. I thoroughly enjoyed this funny and endearing love story. I look forward to more by this author! There are many blogs and websites hosting reviews of this book. I find it interesting that they may rate the book differently, but they all have similar complimentary comments about this particular story. It isn’t a complex, detail filled novel that you have to slog through while keeping notes to keep track, it is a light, fun romance – perfect way to fill a rainy afternoon!