Splendid: Blydon, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Based on the phenomenal growth of Quinn's popularity and her four-week stint on the New York Times best-seller list with Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, it's the perfect time to revisit Ms. Quinn's "splendid" storytelling.
American heiress Emma Dunster has always been fun-loving and independent, with no wish to settle into marriage. She plans to enjoy her Season in London in more unconventional ways than husband hunting. But this time Emma's high jinks lead her into dangerous temptation.
Alexander Ridgely, the Duke of Ashbourne, is a notorious rake who carefully avoids the risk of love until he plants one reckless kiss on the sensuous lips of this high-spirited innocent and condemns himself to delicious torment. Little does he know that his passion has touched the very soul of the lovely enchantress and committed them both to a lifetime of splendid ecstasy.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 25 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||13 December 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 10,406 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
186 in Historical Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
7,338 in Contemporary Romance (Books)
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First, there are at least 12 instances of 'witty' characters "muttering under their breath", creating a connection between the two witty characters amidst everyone else who can't keep up with the... banter? Long sentences "muttered under breath", continuously, by all the 'witty' characters... it stops being clever fairly quickly.
I say "at least 12" because I started counting at the time I realised it kept happening, but couldn't be bothered to count backwards.
The characters; I hated all of them. Except maybe Belle, but I'm not sure if I truly like her or it's just comparison to some truly irritating people.
The book starts with the main character making it clear she will one day take over her father's business, contrary to expectations of the time. It was an interesting start, but as it turned out, this was nothing but a description of a character quirk, as we never see her making efforts to lead the business again (or even see her father again). The same can be said for the fact that the main female character is described as being good at shooting, climbing, mathematics, but bad at watercolours, embroidery and singing. None of this is relevant to the plot at all and she never displays any of that prowess or is asked to perform any of her weaknesses, they just show how Emma is not like ~other girls~. Also, she considers herself unattractive and yet as soon as she steps into a ballroom all men are enraptured and beg to be presented. Cause y'know "You don't know you're beautiful. And that's what makes you beautiful".
Speaking of ~other girls~, the main male character is a misogynist. Not "a man of his time" or the "cynical disillusioned rake" but just a straight up misogynist and his back story is not traumatic enough to justify this. As a historical fiction reader, I am familar with the trope of the cynical duke who believes women are after his title and fortune and I have seen some truly brilliant takes on it (classic one being Heyer's Arabella). However, this is not an instance where the cynical duke jumps to conclusions when it looks like a woman is purposefully putting herself in his way, this is someone who hates all women, except his family, and is actively rude - until he is saved by Emma who isn't like ~other girls~.
The male best friend: I thought I liked him, he looked like the classic genial best friend who is amused at the main characters' amorous issues. Until at a ball he overhears that the two women main characters are planning something, immediately mistrust any ability they may have, and very aggressively demands information from one of the women, (threatens to ruin her ability to get married). He then rushes to the location of the plan where, as it turns out, things were well in hand. In fact, the two men actually delay the escape and if all their dire predictions had come true, it likely would have been their fault. Not that this is ever addressed.
Finally, some historical nitpicking: a dialogue makes a big scene where the two main characters discuss use of first names and permission or lack thereof to do so. This is followed by several instances of the duke refering to Emma's aunt and uncle by their first names (shouting as well), regardless of the fact that the beginning of the book makes it clear they are not well acquainted. Ditto with Belle.
Not to mention ignoring perfectly normal things like receiving lines at balls in order to stage a shocking encounter, indiscriminate waltzing (scandal!) and several abandoned plot points that go nowhere and just seem to continually highlight how Emma is not like ~other girls~.
A very unpleasant experience.
It's been a fair few years since I've read this. Overall it remains a light and easy read that I enjoyed. I did want more from the hero but the heroine I really liked. Wish there had been a scene with her father in England.
There is a moment where the hero is a serious ass and much more grovelling was needed.
Secondary characters in here that amuse/entertain