Title: Mr Cavendish, I Presume
Author: Julia Quinn
Length: 370 pages
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Semi-serious disclaimer; I read this book right after another P. C. Cast "yay for women, we are all goddesses, don't we rock"-fest and I think it affected my judgement because reading Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, all I could think was "Come on Amelia, grow some lady-gonads and stand up for yourself!".
Basics, Lady Amelia Willoughby is long betrothed to Thomas Cavendish, Duke of Wyndham. Now she is 21, and positively on the shelf, and everyone is waiting for him to set the date for the wedding before his bride ages too much and her shrivelled ovaries can not bear him a nursery full of boys.
After 20 years of civilised engagement and a very long introduction, Thomas and Amelia suddenly start to notice each other, and indifference turns into passionate kisses in fields (the over-riding lesson from this book is that nature really gets regency characters going). Then, in typical literary fashion, as soon as you begin to want something that you always had, it gets taken away from you- enter the long lost cousin, the true Duke of Wyndham. Problem is, Amelia is contracted to marry the Duke of Wyndham, not Thomas Cavendish... whoops!
Amelia can be a tad annoying; in order for the plot to progress, it is vital that she doesn't talk, because that would mean that it could all be easily resolved, and so at these points she sits there silently, unable to talk, even as her inner monologue is completely coherent. Ppsh! What nonsense! This is all especially annoying as her personality becomes less sit back and take it all since the start of the book, so its kind of out of character by the middle of the story.
Julia Quinn has managed to extend not a lot of actual events into a decent sized book- her ability to break everything down into excruciating detail is impressive but relentless, and I think she should have used descriptive discretion- some selectivity please! Sometimes it works- like in post-kiss sexual tension. Here Thomas is doing up the top buttons on the back of Amelia's dress...
'Her hand flew to the back of her neck, and from her gasp he wondered if she'd even realized he had undone two of her buttons. She tried to refasten them herself, and he rather enjoyed watching the attempt, but after about ten seconds of frantic fumbling, he took pity on her, and gently brushed her fingers aside.
"Allow me", he murmured.
As if she had any other choice.
His hands worked slowly, even though every rational corner of his brain knew that a quick frock closure was in order. But he was mesmerized by that small patch of skin, peachy smooth and his alone. Faint blond tendrils slid down her nape, and when his breath touched her, her skin seemed to shiver. He leaned down. He couldn't help himself. He kissed her. And she moaned again.
"We had better return" he said roughly, stepping back. Then he realized he'd never done the last button of her frock. He swore under his breath, because it couldn't possibly be a good idea to touch her again, but he couldn't very well send her back to the house like that, so back to the buttons he went, moving with considerably more diligence this time.
"There you are", he muttered.'
And that was just for two buttons! I do totally realise that it is supposed to be intense and detailed and tantalising and whatnot, but please make the text before the intensely detailed part less... erm... intensely detailed. 25 pages for one conversation, one kiss and two buttons is just SO LONG! It ended up being almost slow in places, and much of the tantalising effect was lost.
Although I do complain (haha, see above rant), I did enjoy Mr Cavendish, I presume, and it was a nice book to sit outside in the sunshine with, especially if you are looking for a bit of fluff; gooey, lovely, regency fluff, which is totally a literary food group. Happy fluffy endings all around. Yay!! 6.5