|I love Julia Quinn and look forward to her novels because of the wit, the energy and the romance. This is a companion novel for The Lost Duke of Wyndham which I enjoyed. We were introduced to cousins, one of whom was raised as the heir to the dukedom and one of whom was raised as an Irishman with no real knowledge of his noble birth. The Irishman, Jack Audley, is the son of the elder brother, thus he really should have inherited. But said brother, John, supposedly died on the Irish Sea without issue. The title passed to his younger brother and has since been passed on to Thomas Cavendish.
This story is about Thomas. He was a bit of an enigma in the first tale, but was a good guy and was intriguing enough to garner interest. Alas the tale doesn’t stand up as well as I had hoped.
Thomas is engaged (and has been since his youth) to Amelia Willoughby, a neighbor. Thomas and Amelia do not have a relationship; in fact, it is barely an acquaintance. They have an understanding. Once or twice a year, Thomas comes and dances with her and she accepts and they both go their merry ways. Thomas is not interested in settling down and Amelia has no choice but to wait.
But Amelia’s father is starting to put pressure on Thomas and he realizes that he really must do his duty. They actually spend some time together and find that there is a good chance they might actually like each other’s company. But Thomas is so used to being and acting like the Duke that Amelia isn’t sure if the man she has conversed with in the garden and under the stars is the real person or not. But she is looking forward to finding out.
When the cousin comes upon the scene, of course complications abound and we see the debacle from Thomas perspective. He is lost and just doesn’t know what he will become, even as he is believes more and more that the man who is his cousin really does stand to inherit.
Amelia meanwhile is blissfully unaware of this conundrum and spends her time contemplating her relationship or non-relationship with Thomas. She is a bit of an airhead and yet, is very intelligent. She is both naïve and worldly. She hates the Duke’s mother, who for some reason looks down on her. She is charming with her sisters and at times with the Duke. But she too has to play a role and there were times when I struggled with her two halves.
The ending is similar to the other book, in that true love wins out. There were times when I felt like I had read the story before, because of course, much of the climax was the same, just seen with a different set of eyes. That took away some of the enjoyment of the tale.
Overall, Quinn writes a story that is fun and generally engaging. I just did not feel it was up to par with many of her others, including the previous entry in the series. But Mr. Cavendish, I Presume is still worth the reading experience.