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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Sir Harry Valentine has been fluent in English, Russian, and French since the age of twelve. After years in the Army, Harry now rents a residence south of Rudland House. The War Office often delivers documents to Harry which needs to be translated to English quickly. Harry spends most of his time in his office doing these translations; however, he keeps getting distracted by the fact that Lady Olivia Bevelstoke keeps standing at her window staring at him. Harry has no idea whether she is just a curious debutante or is actually a spy. After a couple of meetings Harry decides Lady Olivia is neither a spy, nor kind. In fact, Harry decides he does not like her at all.

When Harry is summoned to the offices at Horse Guards in Whitehall he knows the reason cannot be good. A Russian prince is visiting at the same time that three known sympathizers of Napoleon are in town. It is rumored the prince's late father had favored Napoleon, but no proof was ever found. It is also rumored that his fortunes have diminished and the prince seeks a bride. He has been paying much attention to Lady Olivia. Thus Harry has been ordered to keep an eye on the prince and to make sure Olivia did not unwittingly commit treason. As Harry spends time with Olivia he finds that she is not as cold and remote as he had assumed. Olivia is full of humor and mischief. Perhaps Harry's mission will not be as boring as he had once believed.

***** FIVE STARS! This story overflows with humor to help offset the serious spy content. Harry gives Olivia "a lurid gothic novel" that had been recommended by his sister. Over half of this story is sprinkled with hilarious gems from the gothic novel (which Olivia demanded Harry read and suffer through too). I absolutely could not hold back my laughter as the pair verbally rips the story to shreds often. Once again the author, Julia Quinn, shows readers how her story-telling talent puts her on the Best Seller lists so often. Absolutely marvelous! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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They say he killed his fiancé. Lady Olivia Bevelstoke doesn't know who 'they' are exactly, nor does she believe it for a moment, but she's always been curious. And Sir Harry Valentine does spend an inordinate amount of time in his study. Acting peculiarly.

Fluent in both French and Russian, Sir Harry works for the boring part of the War Office, because despite spending years in the Hussars fighting Napoleon he'd rather translate documents than become a spy. But fluent Russian speakers are hard to come by in London, so when a Russian prince arrives - under suspicion regarding his motives and loyalty - Harry is the obvious choice to keep an eye on him.

It just so happens that Olivia is Harry's neighbour - but that doesn't explain why she's spent the best part of a week spying on him. When the prince starts showing marked interest in Olivia, Harry soon gets every chance to find out. Whether he wants to or not.

JQ is back on form with this delightful tale of rumours, suspicion and the amusing consequences of jumping to conclusions. Olivia is a true JQ heroine, with wonderful quirks - like her mental list making - and Harry is an intelligent hero, who is refreshingly comfortable with himself and his emotions. There's no self-delusion for him.

As lovely as their burgeoning relationship is, however, what makes this special is the wit, the ludicrous situations and fabulous supporting characters. Only JQ could have two characters court convincingly out of the windows of two separate houses, with ten feet between them. Or write more than one brilliant drawing room scene - though Sebastian definitely steals the show in the second.

A glorious return to form, complete with princes, badly written gothic novels and one of the best proposal scenes I've ever come across. This follow up to The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever is an absolute winner. Can't wait for Seb's tale.
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on 13 July 2011
My first foray into the regency world was reading 'Pride and prejudice" which I, like many other people adore. It was written as a contemporary piece and so as regards to the regency period cannot be faulted. Jane Austens writing is without comparison as regards her wit and characterization.

I went on to read the many wonderful novels by Miss Georgette Heyer, which many of them I have re-read countless times. Although Miss Heyer was not of the time you feel transported by her into the regency world.

Julia Quinns novels are fun and should be taken for what they are. They are not in the same league but then is Ms Quinn aiming for that. If you want a light read, set loosley in the regency period then these books are amusing. I would probably not re-read them as they are very much Mills and Boon but I still found I enjoyed this particular novel from Ms Quinn.

I agree that the language is not correct and seems more modern.

At the end of the day, it is a very personal thing. She has a lot of fans and I can see why. Compared to modern day writers of this genre she is one of the best but she should not be compared to Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer in my opinion.
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on 12 April 2013
Review taken from my Blog Post #122 in May 2001, which I borrowed from the local library.

A 5 star read, which is a follow on from the story of Miss Miranda Cheever, featuring her lifelong friend (and sister-in-law) Olivia Bevelstoke and her new next door neighbour.

He moves in next door, it's rumoured that he murdered his fiancée, and she has a Russian Prince after her .... what could go wrong?

Other than a brilliant read, nothing that doesn't come good in the end.
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on 15 May 2010
this book what happened in london, to me was not as good as her others books but still a good story if your a fan of julia quinn, its more of a library and return book :)
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on 7 June 2014
This has got to be one of my favourite JQ books and I think that Harry is probably my favourite of her heroes. I like that he is not a rake as so many of her men are but he is still witty. He is also kind hearted and intelligent. At first I thought that Olivia would not be the sort of girl to interest him, that he would be more suited to someone with more about her. But there is more to the Oliva we met in "The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever" and she turns out to be the perfect match. I loved that there was no inequality like in so many of her books, when it usually seems the woman falls in love first. Harry and Olivia hate each on sight, then actually grow to respect each other and fall in love almost at the same time. It was nice that they didn't come together until they were in love as well. I bugs me a little that with most JQ books the man more often than not just desires the woman rather than loves her the first time they make love.

I also love that this book actually had more of a plot as well, not just the romance and it was full of laugh out loud humour. I couldn't wait to find out what happens next.

Finally I loved the gothic novel "Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron" got a mention again. I think I would actually like to read this crazy book, killer pigeons and all! LOL!
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on 7 August 2009
When i want to read a funny light hearted historical romance thats well written, Julia Quinn is the author for me.I think she writes some of the sweetest love stories in historical fiction.A certain scene in this story where they are talking at their windows had me melting in a goeey puddle on the floor.I really enjjoyed this book and i cant wait for her next one.
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on 9 July 2014
Definitely a step up after the last one. The two leads are absolutely adorable with each other, it's a pretty satisfying ending, and some of the scenes are HILARIOUS. JQ's dialogue was back up to it's usual witty & snappy self, and my god, the scene in the drawing room with the dramatic reading was utterly inspired, had me giggling to myself as I read it on the train.
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on 27 August 2012
I just recently discovered Julia Quinn and I loooooooooooooooove the Bridgerton series. I read the book that comes before "What Happened in London" (it's called "The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever") and it was a delight. But "What Happened in London" is really not great at all. I wanted to read it because it is part of a series but I was a little bit disappointed. Not much of what I like in JQ was in this book. If you've never read JQ before DO NOT START WITH THIS BOOK !!! You may be disappointed ... It's not bad but it's not great either ...
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on 13 May 2013
I couldn't stop reading and was disappointed that I managed it in just one day. But luckily I had already ordered the follow up novel (Then Things I Love About You) which I read right afterwards. Love the storylines which are sometimes predictable (well ok, they always get together at the end) but ever so often also surprise you. Highly recommended.
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