What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon Books
Source: Purchased by me
Publication Date: 30 Jun 2009
Related Series: Bevelstoke, Book 2
ISBN: 0061491888
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
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Place(s) Traveled to: London, England (1822)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

First Line: By the age of twelve, Harry Valentine possessed two bits of knowledge that made him rather unlike other boys in his class in England of the early nineteenth century.


Its a strange thing reading a series out of order and for whatever reason I seem to be reading Julia Quinn’s Bevelstoke Series in reverse order. And because I did so I was already acquainted with the two main characters of What Happens in London, Harry and Olivia, through their interactions and relationship to the MCs in Ten Things I Love About You (my review). I really enjoyed the couple in Ten Things and so was excited to see how their relationship started. One thing that I liked about this story is to see some of the scenes that were alluded to in Ten Things – like Sebastian’s book reading which while not as funny as talked about in Ten Things was definitely fun to see in print.

Overall I liked the story of Harry and Olivia and found the progression of their relationship to be mostly believable. I say mostly because I do think that it could have had a bit more depth to it.  I also could have done without the odd scenes with the Russian prince. I liked him as a character but I never really believed him as a suitor for Olivia. I don’t think that Quinn did either as he seemed to give up his pursuit all too soon. Unlike in Ten Things this book did have a subplot to it that was more than just boy meets girl and normally that is something that I am also bemoaning is absent in a romance. However, in What Happens in London I think I could have done without it. The whole idea of Olivia as a spy at first could have been good but there was no basis to it and it was only ever glossed over. And the scene in the Prince’s residence? Seriously?? That just had me rolling my eyes and wondering where it came from.

In the end it was fun to see how Olivia and Harry got together and the introduction of Sebastian Grey. As with Ten Things I Love About You this book had some internal list making. But in this case it worked far better than with Ten Things. Olivia lists were often humorous and added to the story. They never once interrupted the story telling and so they didn’t distract me as a reader. There is still one more book to read in this series, the one that started it all The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever.

Looking on-line I see mixed reviews for this story and so I am torn on if I want to read it or not. As the two main characters in that story never appeared in What Happens in London or Ten Things I Love About You I can’t say if I would like them or not. I knew I would like Olivia and Harry as I liked them in Sebastian’s story. Just as I liked Sebastian in this story and so would have happily continued the series if I’d read it in order. But I have nothing to go on with Miranda and Nigel – other than the fact that Miranda is supposedly Olivia’s oldest and best friend and that Nigel is her brother. Miranda and Nigel are said to have such a close relationship to Olivia – but if that were the case then why were they never seen in What Happens in London?Have you read Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever? What did you think? Is it worth the read? Let me know in the comments.