Not until Michael Stirling came along in "When He Was Wicked" and stole my heart, that is. I can't say that Francesca could ever compare to the unforgettable Kate, because she does not, but there was something about her that I did like, and it was quite obvious Michael thought she hung the moon, even though his love for her was for the most part unrequited. Julia wrote a darker, more sexual story with WHWW than she had with any of her other books that I'd read, and I loved it. It was edgier, hotter, and incredibly intense. It remains one of my favorite re-reads ever.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Julia twice. Once was at RWA in 2008, which was lovely but also a bit disappointing because she is one of those authors that is always in high demand, so as much as I enjoyed meeting her, it was for a brief moment while she signed my book. The other time was soon after that, in the fall, when she and Laura Lee Guhrke did a book tour and came to the Chicago area (click link to read more). Squee! It was to a library outside the city, and it wasn't a huge gathering, rather one much more intimate and relaxed. Julia and Laura took turns answering questions about their books, and afterwards we stayed and got to chat for awhile. Julia is just as engaging and friendly as you'd imagine, and I had several of my books signed by her.
I was one of the few readers that actually enjoyed what she did with "The Lost Duke of Wyndham" (loved this story so much! Jack and Grace were so wonderful) and "Mr. Cavendish, I Presume". I preferred the first story to the second, but still, I wasn't as disappointed as some readers were. The concept worked for me.
Now I wasn't as excited about her last book. "What Happens In London" started out with so much potential but just fell flat for me. So much went on with the Russian and some ridiculous plot that keeps the hero and heroine distracted so we don't get to see the love story develop like we do in previous books. I didn't think we needed so much emphasis on the drama when it would have been better suited on the romance.
Still, Julia remains on my auto-buy list. She still writes a more memorable, sparkling story, even when she's not at her best. It's what makes her so unique, and one of my all-time favorites.
What's your favorite Julia Quinn novel?
Would you like to be part of the Bridgerton family?