Always a Booklover

The magic of books just enchants me. I love reading, what more can I say?

Splendid by Julia Quinn (Splendid Trilogy #1)

First Published: 1 May 1995
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 396
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finished Date: 4 January 2012

Blurb from Goodreads

There are two things everyone knows about Alexander Ridgely. One, he's the Duke of Ashbourne. And two, he has no plans to marry anytime soon...

That is until a redheaded American throws herself in front of a carriage to save his young nephew's life. She's everything Alex never thought a woman could be—smart and funny, principled and brave. But she's a servant, completely unsuitable for a highborn duke—unless, perhaps, she's not quite what she seems...

American heiress Emma Dunster might be surrounded by Englishmen, but that doesn't mean she intends to marry one—even if she has agreed to participate in one London Season. When she slipped out of her cousins' home, dressed as a kitchen maid, all she wanted was one last taste of anonymity before her debut. She never dreamed she'd find herself in the arms of a dangerously handsome duke... or that he'd be quite so upset when he discovered her true identity. But true love tends to blossom just when one least expects it, and passion can melt even the most stubborn of hearts.

My Rating


My Review

I really enjoyed Splendid, it was a very light-hearted and easy read, yet not too simple that the plot is practically non-existent. The characters in the book, Alex and Emma were just so perfect for each other, you couldn’t help but root for them from the start. Sure, Alex is a bit too high-handed at times. Make that way too high-handed. He is essentially a male chauvinist. But well. I kinda do like guys like that. Sometimes it annoys me like crazy, but other times, I just love them. They’re just… irresistible to me. Heh, any feminist would be screaming at me to wake up! So, let’s started with the summary, shall we?

Emma is from the USA. She has a great head for business, beautiful, all that. She’s also really stubborn, and would do things without second-guessing herself if she thinks its right. No matter how impossible it is. She’s just that sort of person. As for Alex, he’s a person that doesn’t trust women. He’s a duke. Does that explain it all? Alright let me elaborate. Generally, dukes are very highly sought. Not just for their title, but also for their wealth, land and such. And heroes in romance are hot. Duke + hot = irresistible. That also means every single girl is gonna come throw himself at him for his money. And of course, Alex hates these kinds of shallow women. And so, he becomes very cynical, very jaded and has vowed not to marry until he has to. But of course as expected, Emma is the one woman who can change his mind.

NOTE. THE FOLLOWING BRIEF SUMMARY MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS. But then again, this is a romance, it’s possible to guess the summary!

Ok, you know I’m not really in the mood to write a summary so it won’t seem really interesting. Basically, Emma goes out, dressed as a maid. She saves a little boy on the way home, and he’s the nephew of the Duke of Ashbourne, Alex. Along the way, she injures herself by hitting the ground hard. Nothing serious, just a bump on the head. So as expected, there is an instant attraction and he kissed her. That same night, he goes to a ball. Why? To find her of course. He believes she is working there and convinces himself that he needs to check up on her. In reality, he just can’t wait to see her again and have his own wicked way with her… Yep, so basically at the party, he finds out she isn’t a maid. Basically over the next few months they become friends, even though the sexual tension between them is like whoa. Then they go to the country house where he does stuff to her, I don’t want to say it, but I think you can guess! She’s technically still a virgin. Yeah. Moving on. He wanted to propose, planned out everything alr, but… She proposed. He found out what he thought was the reason she wanted to marry him and being a stupid fool, broke up with her? Of course they reconcile. Now this part is the unique thing to every romance. So I won’t say anything, suffice to say it was interesting and believable. Totally what you would expect from her and from him!

Alright, that’s about it for the summary.

So Emma was a very likable character. Beautiful, but witty. And so very stubborn. She’s really funny and a very enjoyable character to read about. I absolutely love how she doesn’t ever give in to Alex. Their arguments are really funny to read. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t argumentative people but they certainly like having their own way. Besides, it’s more of a friendly argument, or as Emma puts it, a discussion. She’s a very real person and I’ll talk more about that later.

As for Alex, as I’ve mentioned earlier, he’s very high-handed and in a way, thinks he’s king. But, he’s an extremely filial guy and is super nice to his family. Now that just makes him a great man in my opinion. He comes from a great family, with women so sweet and nice. It doesn’t make any sense that he’s so cynical and jaded. But Emma was a refreshing presence for him. Through her, he learnt to trust a woman not from his family. It was difficult, and the first test he had, he did fail. But one thing he did well was loving Emma. He truly truly loved her. And can I just say how cute he is? He sometimes acts like a little kid around her and he is just so adorable! And it just shows me the depth of his love for her. That he can actually let go of himself enough and trust her, something which he has never done for a woman outside his family.

I felt that the part where she felt really guilty after engaging in, how shall I put it, illicit activities with Alex was very realistic. I mean, she’s spent her whole life being told that what she did was wrong. I find that in a lot of other books, the girls just somehow manage to put aside their morals because it was so pleasurable. And the part where they had a misunderstanding over the proposal? I was screaming at him when he just threw her out of his house. Seriously, what an ass right? How could he even think that way of her? That being said, I think she reacted really well when Alex apologized. I loved it when she said she forgave him but was not able to forget. It’s all this little things that really make her real to the reader. Emma isn’t portrayed as the perfect heroine, but rather a heroine with human faults. I think that makes her as a heroine really interesting to read about. You just can’t help rooting for her, and hoping she’ll put Alex in his place.

Now, the love between both characters are so sweet and so touching. You just can’t help but root for them from the beginning. From the start, all I wanted was for Emma to heal Alex’s distrust of the female sex. And she did. The love between them was so obvious and so so sweet. I especially loved it when Alex finally realised he was in love with her. He was just rationalizing so much and it was just so funny! I couldn’t help but grin like the Cheshire Cat when they finally confessed their love to each other. The life they had after marriage was just so sweet too, exactly the kind I hope to have. That even though the husband is busy at work, he always makes time for the wife. Hmm, one part that sticks out in memory was when Emma left him for a week, or at least she wanted to. His expression, or at least, what I imagine of his expression was the cutest thing ever.

And of course, the ending was pretty climatic. Ok fine, not that much, but it was enough. The kidnapping, trying to escape, all those were pretty interesting and it really gave a good ending to certain parts of the plot. It wasn’t boring and even though it seemed a little extraneous, it did round up some of what happened towards the end really well.

All in all, I really did like reading this book. It was a very easy read but it never got boring. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and the love between them was so sweet, it just made the book even more convincing. The pace of the book wasn’t too fast too. It was really just right. The first book written by Julia Quinn, yet already so good. One can only wonder how much better her books have gotten! But to be honest, I liked this more than the Bridgertons series, which is reputed to be really good. I dunno, maybe its just me! I think one thing I love about this book and Julia Quinn is that its really humorous. It doesn’t have to be explicitly made a joke, but through the conversations that the characters have, I can almost always find something there to be amused at. And I don’t mean the bad kind of amusement! It really did add to my reading experience! I really do recommend people to read this book. I’ve read the rest of the books in the series and I really feel it hasn’t deteriorated.


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