So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
Happy February! So, as it is Valentine’s Day later this month and because this month’s scheduled book reviews are predominantly–if not all–historical romance, I decided to feature Julia Quinn for this month’s So You Want to Read… 🙂 I read my first book by her back in 2014 but last year revisited it again, resulting in purchasing a whole chunk of her backlist books, lol, as well as reading more books from the genre. Suffice to say she’s my favourite from the genre; the stories she tell are wonderful and the characters interesting and well-rounded. Her male leads especially are not so tortured and dark like in other historical romances–some are actually quite upbeat and absolute sweethearts from the get-go–and her female leads are unique, interesting, sometimes eccentric, sometimes just wanting a normal life for themselves. The romances are lovely, not overfraught with angst but fun to read. And did I mention the humour? 😀
Anyways, figured I read enough by her at this point to put together a list like this 😉 What’s really fantastic about her books is that for the most part they work as standalones even if they are part of a series, so you can almost start anywhere 😉
- The Duke and I* (review) — Still one of my favourite book by her, but it was also my first Julia Quinn novel. It’s been recommended time and again as a great starting point for her books, and with good reason. It’s of course the introduction to the Bridgerton family, comprised of eight children, and they are loud, rowdy, and hilarious (I found myself laughing out loud a bit at some of the things this family gets up to when together–very rare btw for me to laugh out loud whilst reading). Daphne is a wonderful heroine, Simon is lovely and needs and hug, and together they are electric. One minute you’re laughing over character dynamics and the next you’re a puddle over the ups and downs and miscommunication this couple faces and just wanting everything to work out. [* – please see the bottom of my book review linked for additional/disclaimer note]
- An Offer from a Gentleman (review) — For those of you who love fairy tale retellings, this book is Julia Quinn’s approach on the familiar Cinderella tale. It’s a great starting point for this story, but of course Julia Quinn adds her own touch to it, not to mention really fleshes out the lead couple and their own respective storylines and character struggles (being invisible and often in the background of their families, not being themselves, etc.). Plus, I think Benedict is a sweetheart, and this book just solidifies my opinion of him (even when, like any man in a historical romance, he makes a boo or two).
- Romancing Mister Bridgerton (review) — I suppose at this point I should just say read all of the Bridgerton books, right? 😛 But this book gets a spot on this list because I finally got around to reading it late last year and omg it is so precious. Like, it’s the beloved title from the series, so there was a bit of apprehension on my part coming in to it in fear that it wouldn’t live up to everything I heard about it but I was wrong: it was amazing and so much more. You have to read the first three books to see how the leads ended up to where they are at this book but it is so worth it. The character journeys, the family mayhem, the communication that goes on between this couple (!!!). Yes, I <333 this book so much and recommend it whole-heartedly :)
- Just Like Heaven (review) — The first book in the Smythe-Smith quartet, it was the premise of this book that really caught my attention (and thus became the second Julia Quinn book I ever read): childhood friends + shared love of desserts? Count me in! What’s also really wonderful about this book is that the romance is rather sweet (err, pun intended?); unlike other romances out there where the hero has this tortured part or a he or the heroine has a deep dark secret, these two are pretty normal (especially Marcus, the lead hero; yes, his childhood was as stiff as an aristocratic upbringing can get, but it doesn’t really define him or weigh him down like it would in another novel, you know?), they’re just a little lonely. I actually would recommend the first three books in this series, the lead men are actually quite sweethearts.
- Ten Things I Love About You (review to be posted later this month) — I was debating whether to include this book in this list but in the end decided to just because I thought it was a hilarious read and the dialogue was fantastic (namely from Sebastian Grey). However, I would strongly recommend reading a few of the Bridgerton and Symthe-Smith novels before picking this novel up just because there’s one particular story thread that you will especially enjoy if you’ve read the other books–it definitely had me flailing and laughing when I found out! Anyway, Sebastian was awesome, Annabel is refreshingly straightforward; yes, the book can be a little meta but I thought that was pretty awesome/hilarious, and yes, the villain has to be the creepiest I’ve encountered in her books, but overall is was a great read.
I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Julia Quinn’s books for the first time! What do you think? What’s your favourite novel by Julia Quinn? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books by her have you been meaning to check out?