What Happens in London (Bevelstoke #2) by Julia Quinn


8150083When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn’t believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits… and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He’s not a spy, but he’s had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she’s nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself…


This is the kind of book that right after you finish it you think, “How delightful! How wonderful!” It’s perfect for a rainy day or reading slump. When you go back to write a review a few days later, though, you find that much of it has flown from your head, and what was with that kidnapping, anyway?

The good:

  • Banter! It’s more funny than purely witty but it’s still very good.
  • Quinn obviously did her homework about languages and language work. I was surprised to find a realistic description of the translating process, not exactly the most sexy profession. I’ve seen other books get it (and my beloved interpreting) totally wrong so I appreciate the attention to detail here.
  • To fill out the rainy day read criteria there’s likable characters, a lack of major angst, and a Russian prince that is a good guy? Or maybe a bad guy? It’s fun to puzzle out.

The not-so-good:

  • While I liked Olivia she doesn’t have very much to her. She’s pretty and lives next door to Harry. That’s it.
  • The action bit tacked on the end felt weak and the resolution facile. Bad thing happened… fixed!

All in all this is a good novel for when you need to break a slump or want a pick-me-up, but it lacks the depth and richness of my favorite romances.