by Julia Quinn

December 1997
ISBN: 0-380-78934-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Sometimes, if youíre really lucky, the Heavens will provide an answer to your problems and drop the right man at your feet! And sometimes, if youíre extraordinarily lucky, Fate might just drop you into the arms of a woman who can solve your dreadful dilemma.

When Charles, Earl of Billington, falls out of an oak tree onto Eleanor Lyndon, both are rewarded with their heartís desire! Of course, it takes them a good three quarters of this charming tale to figure out that they are desperately in love with each other, but one of the nicest things about Ms. Quinnís story is that both the hero and heroine like each other, right off the bat. Certainly there are acerbic comments about Charlesí drinking (well, why would an Earl be in a tree in the first place?). And there are also comments about Eleanorís ability to unintentionally leave bruises on Charlesí body, but basically this is a story about two people who find a solution together and end up finding their lifetime mates as well.

Yes, thereís a minor subplot about threats to Charles and then Eleanor, and some dastardly deeds that make Eleanor look like an incompetent idiot, which she certainly isnít! I do note that of all the romances Iíve read recently, this couple takes more of a beating, physically, than just about any others. Charles is dropped out of a tree, bruised from a thrown carriage, tumbled from a ladder and tripped and squashed by Eleanor several times. Eleanor, for her part, is thrown from the same carriage, stuck up a chimney, burned with boiling jam, and poisoned. Not to mention the times she falls onto or trips over Charles. Whew. I needed two aspirin and a heating pad after reading about these two!

However, bumps and bruises aside, this is a lovely tale about two very nice people falling in love with each other while in the midst of physical turmoil and emotional uncertainty. Itís funny, appealing, warmhearted, and a delightful read, especially when it follows Everything and the Moon, which is the story of Eleanorís older sister Victoria. Please think about adding some Julia Quinn books to your historical romance shelf if you havenít already Ė she has a definite gift for the period and an unmatchable ability to catch your heart!

Reviewed in June 2002 by Celia.

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