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Tuesday, September 02, 2008:
"Mr. Cavendish, I Presume" by Julia Quinn (2008)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (September 30, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0060876115
ISBN-13: 978-0060876111
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting . . . for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all . . .
It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancée—all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay—and he does intend to marry her . . . eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas's world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he's not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love . . . with his own fiancée!
I had just read Julia Quinn's "Lost Duke of Wyndham" earlier this week and got an ARC for this one, which was really perfect timing. The two stories can be read as stand-alone, imo, but it follows a series of events during the same period of time, so the first book tells Jack's and Grace's story, and this one tells Amelia's and Thomas' story. It was fun to read.
***Spoilers Alert*** If you have not read "The Lost Duke of Wyndham" and prefer not to be surprised, you might not want to read this review.
First of all, I loved Jack and Grace from the first book. A lot. Jack was such a devilish, charming character, and Grace was fearlessly honest and serious, but had a wonderful sense of humor she wasn't allowed to display too often. They were drawn to each other right from the beginning, and it was lovely to watch. Wildly romantic. I didn't want their story to end.
But I wondered what was going to happen to Amelia and Thomas, now that Thomas was no longer the duke and Amelia had been promised to a duke, or at the very least a peer of the realm.
So as in the previous story, we see that Amelia and Thomas have been engaged for decades, yet after all this time, they still don't really know each other. Amelia is now twenty-one years old, the fiancee' of a handsome, rich duke who is so polite to her, and her to him, that they never get past the most minimal of social niceties. Nothing ever changes, until one day Amelia decides she's had enough of being "agreeable". Yes, her fiance' is a duke, but hang it all, he barely knows she's alive! So when he asks her to dance, she does the "wrong" thing by telling him no. And to Amelia, it feels good. For the first time in a long time, she is satisfied with herself and how she handles Thomas.
He's not so pleased, but he does realize that he has not shown his fiancee' the type of courtesy and respect she deserves. Sure, it's a forgone conclusion that they will be married "someday", but he barely knows anything about her, and the little minx has a definite opinion about that. All of a sudden Thomas is really seeing Amelia as a woman, and not just as his future duchess. He's rather impressed by what he sees. Amelia definitely has a mind of her own, and he respects that.
As they slowly get to know each other, attraction blossoms between the two of them. Thomas sees how truly lovely and intelligent Amelia is, and she sees he's not all about duty, though his life has been patterned after duty and discipline, and she realizes just how much on life he's missed out on because of it.
But just as they are getting to the point where their marriage is something to look forward to, Jack Audley enters their sphere, and life will never be the same again....
My thoughts:
  • The marriage. I was rather apathetic to the whole thing in the first book, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Thomas and Amelia getting married in their own story, but I knew Ms. Quinn would turn me around on that one. I loved watching how they got to know each other while Thomas was still the duke, how their attraction and like for each other grew. It became obvious that they would have a good marriage. I was rooting for them.
  • Thomas. Discovering he may not actually be the duke, wow, talk about a life-changing event! Thomas has been groomed for this role since his father died, and he handled the responsibilities admirably. He even put up with his horrid grandmother, the Dowager, as best he could, moreso to maintain his friendship with her companion Grace, but he never took advantage of his power and sent her away (though we know he was beyond tempted). I also liked that Thomas did not question Amelia's interests nor her intelligence. He accepted it at face value not because she was his future bride, but because that's just who she was. I admired how he cared so much for Amelia that he was willing to give her up so she could be a duchess if that was what she had her heart set on. And I was also glad he came to his senses about that as well. Otherwise I wouldn't have liked him quite so much.
  • Amelia. Endlessly waiting to marry her duke was not putting her in the best frame of mind, and I was relieved to see she'd finally reached the point where she didn't care anymore what the duke thought of her, at least not as much as she had before. She'd been on his timetable for so long that she figured what difference did it make if she rebelled a little to show him what she was ticked off. I liked her interest in travel and the world, and how she wasn't pleased her mother only considered her to be "adequately" intelligent. And once she got to truly know Thomas, even seeing him at his worst, she still chose him, even when he was no longer the duke, and her life would be impacted by that just as his would be, but she chose to be brave and choose love over duty.
  • Jack and Thomas. They hated each other in the beginning, rightfully so. How could they not? The dowager put them each into an unenviable position that would change their lives so drastically that it was only natural they would hate each other. But over time, when they saw the other man's side, and realized how it was difficult all around, they began to respect each other more. I hope that one day the two actually became good friends.
  • Thomas and Grace. I'm glad they had each other as friends while living with the dowager. They were both rather lonely, yet gravitated towards each other, and were maybe more themselves because of it. I'm glad neither was attracted to the other, though that wouldn't have been so unusual, but so much more heartbreaking. Instead they were true friends, and I was happy about that.
  • The dowager. Was there ever a more unreasonable, spiteful woman? Not one ounce of human kindness in her, but like Grace, I felt a tad bit sorry for someone so bitter and cruel. Still, I would have been more than ready to ship her off to some cold, isolated island without a backward thought.
  • The proposal (aka the HEA). Totally, totally the stuff happy endings are made of. I love it when a book gets me all misty eyed, and this one sure did the trick. I thank Julia Quinn for writing a scene that tugged at my heartstrings. She writes the type of romances I love to read, and that's why she will always be on my top 10 list of authors to buy.

So there you have it. Will there be other books in this series? I don't know, it doesn't sound like it, but even if there isn't, I'm so there for the next book.

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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  1. You know...I used to like you! First Seduce Me at Sunrise and now this one!

    I can't wait to read either of them!

  2. ARGH! Stace, you're like, one book ahead of me always! I couldn't read your SMAS review because I still hadn't written mine, and now I can't read the MC,IP because I haven't written mine (I live in fear of stealing someone else's impressions of a book).

    Glad to hear you're taking advantage of that extensive ARC book shelf that is in such close proximity to you!

  3. LOL Marg. I know, I know, I've felt the green wave of envy myself, and believe me, my good fortune won't last. I am seriously trying to work on my tbr pile and ignore ARCs, but sometimes I am weak, weak I tell you!

    Kati, see this is new. I'm usually incredibly jealous of all the books you've read before me, as you are such a voracious reader and I can't even hope to keep up. I know what you mean though about not reading other people's reviews. But I will be anxiously awaiting yours since I love how you describe a book. It just flows. I liked your HP review at You know exactly how to say it so well.

  4. I think I'm even more excited about this book than I was "The Lost Duke" simply because there was no chemistry between Amelia and Thomas in the first book. Sooooo.... How much fun will it be to see them find that spark and run with it!!!

    I can't wait to read this one!!!

  5. I want to read this one so badly!!! I cannot wait for it to be released so us "regular folk" can get our hands on it.

    Thanks for the teasers :-)

  6. Stacy another wonderful review, even twigged my interest although I am not a historical person. This one does sound good though.

    Not one I will be going out to get, but not because of the review - because your review is one that holds your interest and makes you think that you should read it - just not my type of book. Thanks for the great take on this book. **smiling**

  7. Oh, I can't wait to read this! The Lost Duke of Wyndham was actually my very first JQ book. Obviously I loved her because I went and bought her entire backlist. Argh!

    Finished Trial by Fire this weekend. Loved it! Thanks for the rec! :)

  8. Jen, that's how I felt about TLDOW - Amelia & Thomas just didn't seem like they got on. But this one definitely turns things around...for the better.

    Dev, I love JQ a lot, so I was beyond thrilled to get an ARC. And I'm just regular folk myself, with a really cool friend LOL.

    Oh Cryna, you're not into historicals? You don't know what you're missing. I just love 'em, never get tired of the genre.

    Bridget, it's really good, and I got all teary-eyed at the end, which is a good sign. And I'm so glad you liked TbF. It still gives me butterflies just thinking about it.

  9. I've been waiting for this one too!

  10. I have no idea why I haven't been here to read this - wonderful review and I agree that this is an amazing book.

    The proposal scene with the heart-shapped map? awwwwww , so heart warming!

    I am glad you liked it as much as I did, i just read The Good, The Bad and the Unread's and theirs was a negative review!

  11. I am back - did you read the Smart Bitches/Dear Author's reviews? They gave it a C too - I cant wait until other bloggers start reading the book because at the moment, it seems we are alone LOL.

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