Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet #4) by Julia Quinn


Four Stars
copy received from publisher for an honest review

Julia Quinn is one of my favorite historical romance writers. She wrote “The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons #2)” one of my favorite books. I’ve read and re-read that book so many times I have lost count. I group Quinn with Lorraine Heath and Sabrina Jeffries because she knows how to craft a healthy, well-rounded and entertaining story. I’m happy to say “The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy” met all this criteria!

So, first, I did not, I mean did not like Sir Richard Kenworthy. He was so insipid. I thought I could never warm up to him. He was so cold and calculating. The same goes for the heroine, Iris Smythe-Smith. Everything about Iris was not noteworthy. Even her appearance is described as pale and she almost seems invisible. I admit that I had serious doubts about them as the focus of this book and the plot. But I have to say I could not stop reading it!

So the obvious question becomes how can these two very uncomfortable characters be interesting to read and more importantly fall in love and be interesting? Quinn is so fantastic with this element. When the story begins we know that Sir Richard needs a wife and he needs a wife quickly. He has to find a woman that has very specific criteria and all this has to be done in two weeks. The Smythe-Smith family is known for their horrible concerts. It’s the family’s way of trying to marry off girls that would otherwise be completely unnoticeable. Which describes Iris perfectly. When Richard sees Iris he immediately realizes that she is the one and sets out to court her in record time. He realizes that he won’t have to fight off and suitors which is perfect for his plan. Iris is not sure why Richard is interested in her nor why he is so eager to court her. She realizes she is no great beauty and her dowry is not anything that would bring attention to her. She has her suspicious and rightly so. Richard has a secret and it’s this secret that kept me up all night. I kept trying to figure out the reasoning for his scheme and so did Iris. 

Iris ends up with very little choice and accepts Richards’s proposal. While Richard and Iris get to know each other they realize that they are not only very compatible but also very complex and multi-layered. Iris eventually finds out his big secret and her response was admirable. What Richard did was awful but he does redeem himself and makes himself worthy of Iris’ love. 

Besides the big secret driving the plot, Iris and Richard began to grow on me. I really wanted to get to know them and found them to be fun and witty. They have great banter and excellent chemistry. Also, the secondary characters are so funny. I started off lukewarm with this book and the story but it quickly became about two very endearing characters and the quirky secondary characters that they encountered. It could be said that much of the issues in this story could have been avoided with simple communication but where is the fun in that? I’m looking forward to the next book in this series and apologize to Quinn, I shouldn’t have doubted her ability to write a great story.

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