Smugglers Ponderings

Smugglers Ponderings: How I became a Romance Reader or How Julia Quinn rules

Today is the release date for the new Julia Quinn book, The Lost Duke of Wyndham.

I know I sound like a broken record given that I keep writing about this book and you may be wondering why am I so excited about this release?

Well, for starters, I love Julia Quinn’s books. I have read every single one of them -from her first novel Splendid (one of her best) to her latest The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (not one of her best) . But also, because Julia Quinn is the main reason why I started reading romance novels in the first place – which started a butterfly effect.

Had I not picked up that Julia Quinn book last August, I would not have gone into a romance novel binge and I would not have started searching the net for reviews on other authors, and I would not have found fabulous blogs such as Ramblings on Romance or sites such as Smart Bitches. And these two were my inspiration for wanting to start my own blog, which I mentioned to Thea en passant one day in late December. And on that day we became The Book Smugglers.

Julia Quinn is the reason why I am here right now, talking to you.

It all started on a summer night, August 2007. I was alone at home. Bored. Dear Partner was away and had been away for a couple of weeks. There was nothing on TV, I had no movies around to watch. I wanted to read but none of the books I had were catching my fancy. Then I remembered that on a whim , I had bought a romance novel called The Viscount who Loved Me. I had read only one Romance Novel before , Whitney my Love (the first version ) and let me tell you, I wasn’t particularly impressed with that one – it was that infamous bodice riper that had put me off the genre.

But a friend of mine kept telling me how the genre had changed and how she loved this author called Julia Quinn for her witty and funny books and that I should try her sometime. One day, I was at the book shop and I saw The Viscount who Loved Me – the UK cover was rather nice so that helped. “What the heck”, I thought, “let us give this a go”.

I bought the book, brought it home and forgot about it. Until that fateful evening when I picked it up and read the first sentence: “Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young” . What ensued next was a battle of wits between my brain and my heart. I will try to replicate the exact conversation that took place:

Ana’s Brain: I can not believe we are reading a book called The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Ana’s heart: oh shut up will you? we are just having a good time. we are not getting involved.

Ana’s brain (henceforth, simply, Brain) : yeah, right. I heard that one before. Why can’t we read The Sorrows of Young Werther? or if you want something light we could re-read the latest Harry Potter.

Ana’s heart (Henceforth, simply Pinky): nah. I will give this a go. You can go to bed earlier, if you want to. I am sure I can manage by myself.

Brain: OK.

*a few moments later*

Pinky: hummm….this is actually good.

Brain: ha? what is? what is going on, why is so hot in here all of a sudden? are you actually warming up to this? it is only page what? 10? 15?

Pinky: But Anthony is a young man and his father dies and he thinks he will never live up to his name. oh, I want to hug him.

Brain: Puh-lease grown a back bone will ya. I think I will stick around to keep an eye on you.

*a few more pages later*

Brain: The man wants to marry someone he won’t love. That is just plain silly.

Pinky: Yeah, I will grant you that – but you must realise that he is just afraid. Plus, can’t you tell that he is going to fall in love with this woman Kate? She is very clever. I like her already.

Brain: humpft.

*later on*

Pinky: what’s that sound? Was that a laugh?

Brain: Sorry, it was me. This part was actually very funny and clever. (Ana’s insert: the Pall Mall game) But I am sure it is just a one off.

*after the thunderstorm and the assassin bee scenes*

Pinky: Oh my, this is really good brain, can’t you tell? These two are good together.

Brain: PINKY, stop that. You know I do not like cheese. No, get away from me. *chants* I will not surrender, I will not surrender.

*the wedding night*

Brain: It’s so so hot, should we open the window?

Pinky: Oh dear lord.

*towards the end…..*

Brain: Oh, he breaks down. Look at him, he is a wreck. You know that ever since Heathcliff in the Wuthering Heights, I can’t bear to see a man crying.Awwwww, how sweet. This cheese is actually good.

Pinky: *sniffles*

Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I am pondering?

Pinky: I think so brain. But how can we find a time machine and go back to 19th Century England to marry Colin Bridgerton?

Brain: no dumb ass, we must get this woman’s entire backlist, pronto.

And so we did. Since that day, my heart and my brain have come to an agreement on how good romance novels can be. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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  • Marg
    May 27, 2008 at 1:52 am

    I am reading The Lost Duke of Wyndham at the moment, and it is really good!

  • Ana
    May 27, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Marg, I am so jealous!
    The UK edition doesn’t come out until early June.

  • Kristie (J)
    May 27, 2008 at 3:11 am

    LOL – I love the argument between Pinky and the Brain. Sounds like the same kind of conversation I have with myself all the time.
    I didn’t realize you were quite so new to the romance genre. I’m so glad Pinky convinced Brain to give it a try.
    The thing is – there is some mighty damn fine writing in the romance genre and it’s sad so many people have such a negative preconceived notion on what today’s romance novels are all about. I just posted a comment on Jace’s blog about what wonderful strong and smart heroines Linnea Sinclair writes. I find this is so often the case with romance heroes nowadays.
    It’s great whenever I see a former nay-sayer becoming converted.
    And while I haven’t read Julia Quinn for a while, there were a tad too many Bridgertons for me, I did read all her previous books as well as the first few in the Bridgerton series and they were wonderful!
    Maybe I should give this one a try and see if she captures me the way she did with her earlier books.

    And *blushing* thanks for the compliment.

  • Kate
    May 27, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Oh Ana. Laughing out loud is making my sore throat hurt. And now I’m going to have to rouse myself from my sick-house to go get that one and Duke of Shadows. Thanks.

  • Tracy
    May 27, 2008 at 8:50 am

    OMG – your argument was hilarious! I was just Ciara’s blog that was relaying the wonder that is Julia Quinn as well. I guess I’ll have to read her! πŸ™‚

  • li
    May 27, 2008 at 11:39 am

    LOL – brilliant post, Ana!

    And oh yes, the Pall Mall game πŸ˜€ That was pretty inspired on her part, IMO.

  • Shannon
    May 27, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Huh. I think my grocery store made a mistake. I was there on Friday or Saturday and…there it was! I picked up my copy and finished it last night (in between grading 8 gazillion papers.) I do love a good Quinn book. πŸ™‚ Now I need to hurry up and post a review. For once I can be one of the first people to review a book! Wheee!!!!

  • Shannon
    May 27, 2008 at 11:41 am

    And thanks alot. I now have the theme song from Pinky and the Brain running through my head.

    “…one is a genius, the other’s insane!”

  • Jennie
    May 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Lol! I went on a huge Quinn binge a couple years ago and got burnt out on her. But I think I’m ready to try again. πŸ™‚

  • ciaralira
    May 27, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Yay! I love the Viscount Who Loved Me. It’s my favorite of Julia’s books. I read the first three chapters of the Lost Duke online and it seems like another winner. Kate from what kate’s reading said it was good. Have you read it yet?

    I also have the pinky and the brain song stuck in my head now.

    What are we going to do tonight brain?
    Same thing we do every night pinky, try to take over the world!


  • Katie(babs)
    May 27, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I loves me some Julia Quinn! You laugh, cry and enjoy some great sex all in one book.
    Bring back Pinky and Brain for more laughs. πŸ˜€

  • Kate
    May 27, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    When I was in high school a good friend and I always called ourselves Pinky and the Brain. We’d sit in US History class and she’d ask me, “What are we going to do today, Brain?”… Ah, good memories.

  • Ana
    May 27, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I love pinky and the brain – Dear Partner calls me Pinky : )

    Kate you were fast dude! Got it, read it and reviewed it!

    I keep checking my Amazon account to see if the order changes to “dispatching soon” but not yet.

  • jennybrat
    May 31, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    The Viscount Who Loved Me was my first Julia Quinn book too! I was instantly spellbound and went out to get all of her books that I could find. The first three books were just average for me. I still think The Viscount Who Loved Me as her best work.

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