*Warning: The are spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!*
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
published by Avon in May 2010
Ten Things You Should Know About This Book
1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind AND The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
7. is shocking, 8. is delicious, 9. is downright wicked, all of which leads the way to
10. Happily. Ever. After.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Bevelstoke, Book #3
The Story: Annabel Winslow is being sponsored by her maternal grandparents for her first season. As the eldest of eight children, Annabel’s goal is simple: find a match that will be able to support her family and send her brothers to Eton. To her grandparents’ great pleasure, Annabel has attracted the attention of their good friend, the Earl of Newbury. The Earl of Newbury has recently lost his heir and therefore must beget a new one, as he doesn’t want his nephew, Sebastian Grey, to inherit the title. Thus, he has been looking for a “fertile” woman and if Annabel’s figure is any indication… As for Sebastian, he’d like the whole heir issue to be settled.
Nath: What did you think of Ten Things I Love About You, Isabel?
I really liked Sebastian’s character; however, I really had issues with Annabel and it really affected how I enjoyed this book :(
Isabel: I also liked Sebastian. I didn’t mind Annabel.
Nath: Really? I thought Sebastian was a great character. I liked how charming he was. It was a bit sad that nobody looked beyond the surface, but then, I guess that's what he wanted. I really liked that he had many layers and he was aware of them and chose what to show to the public and what to keep for himself.
Isabel: I loved how charming he was. It’s like how Annabel described him. That he had a secret and she wanted to know what it was. Not just the books but the many parts of his personality.
Nath: That comment really nailed Sebastian :)
Now, Annabel. Hmmm. My problem with her was I wanted her to stand up for herself and be more pro-active. Instead, she just sat there, pitying herself.
Isabel: I didn’t get she was pitying herself. I think she just saw herself as stuck in a situation she couldn’t get out of. The whole, “I want to marry for love but I need to do the right thing for my family,” I think is what made her be the way she was. Once Newbury said those nasty things to her at the party, she realized she wouldn’t be able to go through it.
Nath: All right, perhaps saying that Annabel was pitying herself is a bit harsh. However, I maintain that she could have been more pro-active. From the beginning, Annabel didn't need a titled gentleman, just one with money. She could have found other options to Newburry. She could have made a deal with someone... True, she couldn't have brought much to it, but hey, she had that body! LOL. How many times did we read such plots? Or blackmail her grandparents into paying her brothers tuitions, steal jewels, something. It was clear that Annabel didn't want to marry Newburry, but she didn't do anything to get out of that situation. Everyone around her had plans, did things... but Annabel was like a pawn, just sitting there and letting other move her around according to what they planned. She never even got up to Newburry to bargain for the money. Also, love didn't have anything to with this whole situation at first.
Oh and I disliked the fact that Annabel founds herself in a pickle of her own doing and Sebastian had to do all the work to get her out of that situation.
Isabel: But her body is the reason why it attracted Newbury. He wanted an heir and he wanted it now. I think had he not been so desperate, Annabel could have found someone different with money. Someone more tolerable. I mean, Newbury got that special license. He could have made it difficult for anyone else who had interest in her.
Nath: I know her body is what attracted Newburry. However, I think she could attract other men too... I mean, Edward kept drooling about her LOL. So perhaps she could have found someone more tolerable with more money... And really, after Newbury thought there was something between Annabel and Sebastian, he wasn’t interested in her anymore… At the end, it had less to do with the heir and more to keep Sebastian from having her.
Isabel: Yeah, but being attracted and actually wanting to marry her are two different things. Also, we wouldn’t have a story if she did. And remember, most girls wouldn’t have been able to do anything. Most just accepted their fate.
But now that you mention it, yeah everyone else had ideas where Annabel just kind of sat there not knowing what to do. And… she should have told Sebastian who she was when she met him. I mean, his uncle is courting her. They were bound to run into each other.
Nath: True, but I still think she was too wishy-washy through the whole book. Not only didn't she make her own opportunities, she didn't even seize the one that were offered to her. I mean, personality-wise, Annabel was fine. She's a nice girl with a good sense of humor and filial... but her inaction just ruined her character for me.
I thought the plotline was okay, but not substantial enough. I liked that it was between Annabel, Sebastian and Newburry... that there was no mystery involved. However, I think that a few scenes at the end were superfluous such as the sex scene and Annabel's discovery at Sebastian's identity. I think the story should have ended after the grandmother and Newburry departed from the room and then the epilogue.
Isabel: I like that Annabel found out Sebastian was the author. I’m glad we got to see that. However, I almost wished they kept it a secret about who it was. Like not reveal it was Sebastian until maybe a little later. Like with Miss Whistledown. I also think it’s funny Sebastian is the author of those books. I love how he prods people for info about if they liked them.
Nath: LOL, that was cute indeed. I’m glad Annabel found Sebastian’s secret, but I thought it could have been earlier in the book. I'm kind of disappointed though that it never became public knowledge that Sebastian was Sarah Goreley...
Isabel: I would have like for Harry and Olivia to at least find out also. But oh well. I’ll take what I can. Did you think Olivia left Sebastian and Annabel alone together on purpose?
Nath: I do think that Olivia left them together on purpose. For some reasons, she had chosen Annabel as the wife candidate.
Isabel: I think Olivia could tell there was something between them. She was giving them a little push.
LOL, one of my favorite moment of Ten Things I Love About You was the last scene with the grandmother! Quite hilarious, especially when she said: "I thought you'd die soon!” I didn't like her much, but she livened up the book for sure :)
Isabel: Lady Vickers was awesome. Ha ha. Didn’t I say for all we knew she was after Newbury when he was too? And turns out they did hook up. Wow. But I loved how she basically gave them permission to spend the night.
Nath: LOL, yes, you did call it! :)
One of the issues I had was the fact that the grandparents were pleased about the match between Annabel and Lord Newbury. Especially the grandfather - how can you expect your friend to marry your granddaughter?!?! I mean, does he think a little bit that it would be as if he had sex with his granddaughter?
I mean, when her grandmother was telling her that in her time, some of her friends were after Lord Newbury and Annabel goes “Your friends” – that says it all for me.
Isabel: Oh I know. that part was funny. I was like.. ewww telling your granddaughter that your friends were once after the guy you might marry is not a good thing. But that’s what they did in those days. It was probably really common back then. And no one thought different. Icky though.
Nath: True, you're right... What made it worst though was that Lord Newbury was really an unlikable character. I really didn't like the part where Annabel got mauled by him, he was such a lecherous pervert ^_^; Plus, the last bit where he wanted to ruin her? Despicable!! Bleh :( I think it would have been more interesting if he wasn’t. That the only factor would have been his age.
Isabel: Yeah I didn’t like that either; it made me dislike the earl even more. Like ewww.
Nath: Another issue is I didn't really buy the love between Annabel and Sebastian... I understand that they got to know each other when Sebastian was calling on her... and he appreciated her humor... but one minute, he doesn't want to propose to her and the other, he's in love. Nope.
Isabel: I bought it. I think deep down he did but just didn’t know it. It’s like not knowing what you got till it’s gone. I think once he pictured her with the Earl or anyone, he realized just how much he did want to marry her. I think Olivia knew too and that’s why she left them alone.
Nath: You’re probably right. I just didn’t feel much chemistry between the two :(
Also, I might be nit-picking, but anyway. Throughout the book, Annabel and Sebastian processed some of their thinking by making a list of ten things. I thought it was cute; however, I think it'd have been better if it was a characteristic proper to either Annabel or Sebastian. Not both. There are very few people who process that way and suddenly, you have two? I mean, if Sebastian picked up the habit from Annabel, fine... but both of them? ^_^;
Isabel: I can also buy the list thing. My only issue is I did not care for the cover. The lady just looked kind of annoyed. Like.. ugh.. another letter or whatever she’s holding.
Nath: I think it’s a list. Personally, I would have preferred a cover along the lines of What Happens in London... Simply to make the books in this series fit together.
Finally, Ten Things I Love About You is a C for me... Really loved Sebastian, but it couldn’t make up for all the issues I had ^_^; What about you?
Isabel: For me, I’d give it a B. I enjoyed the story. I love Sebastian. Loved that it was low key drama. It was just a cute story. Also loved how poor Annabel was described as fertile and how everyone had heard it. Ha ha.
Nath: LOL, poor Annabel indeed. The part where she wondered how once goes to give the air of infertility was just too funny :)