Julia Quinn is a great writer, I want to open with that.
Her writing has a fluid sense to it. It flows and is rich in its tone, doesn't matter which tone Julia Quinn wants to employ, it always comes through. I think that indicates a very sophisticated level of writing. For that, I love Julia Quinn.
She is famous for her witty books and I have to admit, I am not exactly looking for funny love stories. I want to be touched emotionally, to experience the joys and pains with the characters. I don't usually find the deeper connection I need in Julia Quinn's stories. But on the other hand, her books are great fun and I walk in with my eyes open, so to speak. So I am not disappointed in this book and its almost juvenile tone. I just was not emotionally invested. It was a rather normal encounter with Julia Quinn: a light read with really clever writing, a 370 page book which I could finish in less than 90 minutes with a lot of skim-reading.
Now to the book itself, I have read lots of negative reviews about Sir Richard's "secrets" and many reviewers are angry at Richard for concocting such an idiotic plan. For those like me, who ALWAYS have to know, the secret is that Richard's sister Fleur, was pregnant. To save his sisters' reputation, Richard was going to marry quickly and pass off Fleur's child as his. And that was where Iris came in, she was the lucky bride Richard picked for his purpose.
I am not crazy about Richard's plan. I thought it was stupid too. But I don't dislike Richard for it. It is a fiction and as unbelievable it is, I was able to take it at face value without questioning it too over much. What I thought was lacking was the romance. I did not feel that they liked each other enough, but apparently they were supposed to be in love. So I kind of just flip through the pages and told myself: "OK Richard said he loved her and Iris thought she loved him, that must be true and now you just work with it." So I did.
Overall this really is a light read. I finished it in less than 90 minutes because I really did not need to read every word to follow the story. It is a simple story. What was great and got the book 3 stars was Julia Quinn's writing. The plots were too simple for my taste, emotions too skin-deep. This is not Quinn's best book and there is no excuse for the poor plot and character development. But Quinn's writing is exquisite. She makes the characters come to life in a few sentences. For that I am willing to give the book 3 stars. This would not be a good introduction to Julia Quinn. But it is better written than a lot of romance books out there.