Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

The Blurb:

Ten Things You Should Know About This Book
1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind and The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
7 is shocking, 8 is delicious, and 9 is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to
10. Happily. Ever. After. 

This book felt like it was trying just a little bit too hard to be cute. I like Julia Quinn's writing because it is light, but it used to be moving as well. I know my romance tastes have changed in the eight years since I first read her books, but I am finding more and more books by this author to be disappointing. That's not to say they are "bad" in the sense that others won't like them. But they fail to live up to my expectations in a pretty big way.

There were moments in the book where I found myself smiling. The dialogue and interactions between Sebastian and Annabel is often snappy and clever. But I just felt like there wasn't any real deep emotion here. Their relationship felt superficial. I wanted Sebastian to be more complex. To have a few demons that he really wrestled with. And the strange incidents of PTSD he exhibits felt like they were just kind of thrown in there to add some drama.

I keep waiting for JQ to give me another memorable and romantic scene. Something that pulls on my heartstrings like the storm scene in The Viscount Who Loved Me. I want a book that makes me laugh AND makes me want to cry--or sigh a little. The characters in Ten Things just didn't connect with me enough to care what happened to them. The declarations of love felt hollow. The plot felt phoned in. And the writing felt--I hate to say this--a little too slick and commercial.

The Ten Things gimmick was one of those things that either worked for you or didn't. And it really, really didn't work for me. I don't mind clever use of language. At all. Jacqueline D'Alessandro's books are filled with linguistic inside jokes. But this felt artificial and forced. Maybe it's just me.

Overall, the book was pleasant, light but utterly unremarkable. 

My Grade: C+

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