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If You Like Julia Quinn . . . hosted by Stephanie...

book review Welcome to our series called “If You Like” which will be hosted by various readers, authors and bloggers of Dear Author. The purpose of the post and the comments is to explore what we like about a particular iconic author and what other authors have books like the iconic author. This week, we are featuring Julia Quinn whose latest release, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, is on sale September 30, 2008. Mr. Cavendish, I Presume and the earlier release, The Lost Duke of Wyndham, form the duology of The Two Dukes of Wyndham. In a creative writing feat, the two books have overlapping scenes and plot lines. Stephanie and Mary of A Place for Originals put this marvelous homage to Julia Quinn’s books together for us to read, appreciate, and use as a reference point in the future.

If you would like to host an “If You Like” post, please email me at Jane at dearauthor.com

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If You Like Julia Quinn-

book review Once, in the far away land of Austin, Texas, there were two young romance readers. And by young, we’re talking before high school here. We know, we know – what were their mothers thinking to let them read romances so early? In their defense, these books taught the girls the cardinal rule of womanhood- when choosing between a handsome, wealthy, and open-minded duke who will still respect you in the morning and a pimply faced teenage boy whose hands have been god-knows-where, always choose the duke. Even if he only exists in the pages of a book.

No one taught us this lesson better than Julia Quinn. Though we came to her different ways, Stephanie and I have both been reading and loving JQ for over a decade now. There are other romance novelists who are near and dear to our hearts, but no one else has us lining up at bookstores on publication days or browbeating poor booksellers into searching the back room for her newest release. She’s the tops.

So where does such devotion come from? Are her heroes just to die for or her heroines uncannily sympathetic? Do her dialog and plots move at such a fast clip, that we can barely put the books down? The answer is all of the above – and more.

Julia Quinn burst onto the historical romance stage in 1995, with arguably one of the best debut novels of the decade – Splendid, the story of an American heiress who vows to never marry an Englishman and an English Duke who has sworn to never marry. Since then, she has been entertaining her readers with her uniquely consuming brand of romance that blends emotional depth and true-to-life humor. Most well known for the Bridgerton Series, a beloved octet of books about the loves and lives of a boisterous, loving, and numerous (eight siblings!) aristocratic family, Julia Quinn has published seventeen full-length novels and four novellas. After winning the prestigious RITA award two years in a row, JQ has cemented herself as not only our favorite author, but one of the most consistent and adored authors in the entire Romance community.

Setting (era and geographic): Regency England

book review JQ’s books span the Regency period of the British Empire (strictly designated as 1811-1820, the years George IV ruled as Prince Regent, but often encompassing that transition period between Georgian & Victorian eras) and deal mainly with the upper tiers of British Society – the aristocracy and gentry. Her settings split pretty evenly between the English countryside and the glittering world of London society, but all of her characters are featured in business as usual settings – there are very few spies popping up behind bushes (with the notable exceptions of the two former-spy heroes of her early books: To Catch an Heiress and How To Marry a Marquis) and no Napoleonic invasions threatening. These books are purely English, which is a large part of their charm. Unlike many other current full-length Regency historicals, Quinn’s characters are solidly immersed in English society and culture, with all the privileges and problems that entails.

Heroine Type: Varied class levels, but always smart and self-assured

The Quinn heroines range from vicar’s daughters to lady’s maids to the daughters of London’s elite Ton, but there is one thing they all have in common – a strong sense of self. In all seventeen books, there is not a dependent, too-stupid-to-live heroine in the bunch. Whether it’s having a life independent from her large and lively family, such as Francesca Bridgerton from When He Was Wicked, or it’s a determination to run her own estate, as with Henrietta Barrett of book review Minx, they all have dreams and goals of their own. What’s more, they pursue those dreams

As a whole, they are not the darlings of society, but rather the nice and funny girls we ourselves would choose as best friends. Things never come easy to the Quinn heroine, but through good humor and resourcefulness, she will weather any storm – and help her hero do the same.

It’s this wit and willingness to stick to her guns even against the man she loves, that makes Penelope Featherington of Romancing Mr. Bridgerton stand out. She not only starts out as a minor character in the first books of the Bridgerton series, but also as a wallflower – a plain, shy girl who is on the receiving end of society’s scorn. By the end of this, the fourth book, Penelope has completely come into her own – she not only deserves her happy ending, but she worked for it. Even when her hero was being, well, an idiot:

"I’m sorry," [Penelope] said, "but it’s a little difficult for me to sit here and listen to you complain that your life is nothing."

"I didn’t say that."

"You most certainly did!"

"I said I have nothing," he corrected, trying not to wince as he realized how stupid that sounded.

"You have more than anyone I know," she said, jabbing him in the shoulder. "But if you don’t realize that, then maybe you are correct-’your life is nothing."

"It’s too hard to explain," he said in a petulant manner.

"If you want a new direction in life," she said, "then for heaven’s sake just pick something out and do it. The world is your oyster, Colin. You’re young, wealthy, and you’re a man."

The brilliant thing about this scene is that it comes less than a third of the way through the book. At this point, Penelope has no idea what is going on with her and Colin, yet she still tells it like it is – risking his censure because of her honesty. Of course, Colin is not truly an idiot, just a bit misguided, so all turns out well in the end. But it’s this strength of conviction and self that makes not only Penelope shine, but all of Julia Quinn’s heroines. They may be English misses in a time when women were often little more than a possession, but they don’t let themselves become victims of their circumstances. There are no helpless waifs in these pages, only strong, caring women.

Hero Type: An aristocratic mix of Alphas & Betas

book review The heroes of the JQ novels nearly all come from aristocratic backgrounds. Even Jack Audley, the highwayman hero of her latest novel, The Lost Duke of Wyndham, has ties to the aristocracy. Because of this background, and you know, being men, they all have their Alpha moments. And yet, there are no cookie-cutter heroes here. They are all complicated, fundamentally good men.

There are the tortured heroes, such as Simon Bassett (The Duke and I), with such true-to-life issues, that you will be falling in love with them right along with their heroines. Then, there are the charming rogues who make every woman, including the heroine, laugh as they fall head-over-heels – like Colin Bridgerton (Romancing Mr. Bridgerton) and William Dunford (Minx).

Whichever type you prefer, you can bet that the heroes of Julia Quinn novels show just as much strength of character as their heroines. They are loyal to a fault and, when they eventually realize they’ve been blindsided by love, will stop at nothing to make their heroine happy – even if it means sacrifice on their part.

Plot (action-oriented / character-driven): Character-Driven

book review Julia Quinn’s greatest strength is her brilliant characterization and it is from this that she derives her plots. Like we mentioned above, there are minimal spies and super-villains in these books. The tensions and conflicts that keep the plot moving come from decisions the main characters make themselves.

Even in her latest book, The Lost Duke of Wyndham, which involves a higher degree of action than normal, the characters are constantly moving the novel forward themselves. Every twist and turn is based on who the characters are – their strengths, their weaknesses, their occasional love of robbing coaches. JQ puts characters who feel real into situations the reader can honestly imagine them getting into and we keep turning the pages to see how the devil they will get themselves out again.

Plot (slow/medium/fast): Fast

Most character-driven plots lean towards the slower end of the spectrum, but not so with Julia Quinn. I cannot even tell you how many hours of sleep I’ve lost because I couldn’t force myself to put down her latest book. There isn’t a wasted scene in any of her novels – every interaction is upping the tension and stakes more and more. Sure, no ninjas are jumping down from skylights, but people are being given the cut direct at Almack’s or having scandalous adventures through Vauxhall Gardens.

When you open a Julia Quinn novel, you are swept away. There are no other words for it. She grabs you from the first page, forcing you to care about each and every character, and doesn’t let go until the last line of the epilogue.

Dialogue (lots/little/balanced): Lots

book reviewSo, say one of the aforementioned evil ninjas has trapped you in a room full of manuscripts. Your mission? Pick which one is Julia Quinn’s before the egg timer goes off – or suffer a fate worse than the cut direct.

Here’s a hint: you’ll know from the dialogue.

JQ is the queen of fast-paced dialogue. Her characters are smart and it shows in their exchanges – they have inside jokes, develop teasing relationships, and use verbal wordplay just like real people.

Through a use of sentence length manipulation (short, snappy sentences when exchanges are really fast) and individual voices, she uses dialogue as a tool throughout the book to move the plot and character arcs along.

Nowhere is this skill quite so apparent as in the Bridgerton books. There are eight siblings. That’s eight separate personalities and voices, often all in the same room. A lesser author would leave her readers reaching for the Advil bottle, but these are some of JQ’s funniest and most vivid scenes. Take this, another scene from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton:

"Biscuits are good," Hyacinth said, thrusting a plate in her direction.

"Hyacinth," Lady Bridgerton said in a vaguely disapproving voice, "do try to speak in complete sentences."

Hyacinth looked at her mother with a surprised expression. "Biscuits. Are. Good." She cocked her head to the side. "Noun. Verb. Adjective."

"Hyacinth."

Penelope could see that Lady Bridgerton was trying to look stern as she scolded her daughter, but she wasn’t quite succeeding.

"Noun. Verb. Adjective," Colin said, wiping a crumb from his grinning face. "Sentence is correct."

"If you’re barely literate," Kate retorted, reaching for a biscuit. "These are good," she said to Penelope, a sheepish smile crossing her face. "This one’s my fourth."

"I love you, Colin," Hyacinth said, ignoring Kate completely.

"Of course you do," he murmured.

Doesn’t that sound like a conversation we’ve all had at a big family dinner or gathering? Brothers and sisters sniping at each other, but always with affection behind it. If you love great family banter, Quinn is the master. Her dialogue just can’t be topped!

Humor (Yes/No-serious/some): Yes (tons!)

book review Humor is an integral part of a JQ book. As with everything else, the humor stems from who the characters are and their interactions with others. It shows up in the large family gatherings (with sibling banter flying), ballroom conversations between best friends, and small moments between the hero and heroine. Finding an example of this wasn’t hard, but choosing just one certainly was. If you’re a Quinn reader though, you know few scenes and romance can top the laughs from the Pall Mall game from The Viscount Who Loved Me:

Openmouthed with delight, Kate just stared for a moment as the pink ball sank into the lake. Then something rose up within her, some strange and primitive emotion, and before she knew what she was about, she was jumping about like a crazy woman, yelling, "Yes! Yes! I win!"

"You don’t win," Anthony snapped.

"Oh, it feels like I’ve won," she reveled.

Colin and Daphne, who had come dashing down the hill, skidded to a halt before them "Well done, Miss Sheffield!" Colin exclaimed. "I knew you were worthy of the mallet of death."

"Brilliant," Daphne agreed. "Absolutely brilliant."

Anthony, of course, had no choice but to cross his arms and scowl mightily.

Colin gave her a congenial pat on the back. "Are you certain you’re not a Bridgerton in disguise? You have truly lived up to the spirit of the game."

"I couldn’t have done it without you," Kate said graciously. "If you hadn’t hit his ball down the hill-"

"I had been hoping you would pick up the reins of his destruction," Colin said.

Honestly, you have seek out this scene in its entirety-though you may not want to read it on your morning subway ride. No one does family antics and hilarity quite like JQ in the Bridgerton series, so there will be laughs aplenty.

Emotional Angst (high/medium/low):High

book review We were torn about the emotional angst level to classify Julia Quinn’s books. On one hand, she is one of the funniest authors out there – how can a book that leaves you holding your sides from chuckling be angsty? Then again, I challenge anyone to read The Duke and I or The Viscount Who Loved Me without bawling. The heroes in both are charming, wonderful men, but each has dark, deep-running issue that has them sabotaging their own happiness over and over again. What makes the impact so flooring of both these, and other Quinn novels, is that the issues her characters have are true to life – children stutter and are shunned for it as Simon (the Duke of TDAI) was, people lose parents in small, torturous ways as Anthony (Viscount Bridgerton of TVWLM) did and sometimes the only way to overcome, or even accept, these hurts is with the help and compassion of someone you love. This real life parallel is what hits Julia Quinn readers so hard. The simple, raw pain of the characters that we can completely relate to is what speaks to us, as with Simon in this scene from The Duke And I after an argument with Daphne results in his greatest fear – not being able to control his speech again:

"Y-y-you-’"he finally managed.

Daphne stared at him in horror. "Simon?" she whispered.

He didn’t want this. He didn’t want her looking at him like he was some sort of freak. Oh God, Oh God, he felt seven years old again. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t make his mouth work. He was lost.

Daphne’s face filled with concern. Unwanted, pitying concern. "Are you all right?" she whispered. "Can you breathe?"

"D-d-d-d-d-’" It was a far cry from don’t pity me, but it was all he could do. He could feel his father’s mocking presence, squeezing at his throat, choking on his tongue.

"Simon?" Daphne said, hurrying to his side. Her voice grew panicked. "Simon, say something!"

She reached out to touch his arm, but he threw her off. "Don’t touch me!" he exploded.

She shrank back. "I guess there are still some things you can say," she said in a small, sad voice.

This is the same book in which the two main characters hilariously try to dodge one of Daphne’s suitors – a scene that has left many a reader laughing. It is precisely that laughter that makes moments like these so gut-wrenching, for these are characters we have laughed and smiled with, so to see them hurt makes it 1000 times more impactful.

Conflict (externally driven/internally driven/both): Internally driven

book review Like everything else, the conflict in Julia Quinn novels comes directly from the characters. It is their own faults and desires that are often get in the way of their happily ever afters. One of the best examples of this are the hero and heroine from On The Way To The Wedding (which, incidentally, is the ONLY romance novel Stephanie has ever cried in, so gripping is the emotional conflict) – every action each takes is a direct result of their internal motivations: Gregory, the youngest of the Bridgerton clan, has always believed in true love and that he would know it at once, which is why he overlooks his growing relationship with our heroine, Lucy, as he believes himself in love with her beautiful best friend, Hermione. Lucy, on the other hand, is where internally driven conflict is most detrimental to the pair’s relationship – she comes to love Gregory, but even when he finally wakes up from his Hermione-induced stupor, she can’t bring herself to marry him, out of loyalty to her family and their happiness. So, even though she loves him, the entire book she is warring with her own convictions and responsibilities – which, naturally, makes their eventual HEA so moving.

Heat level: (kisses/warm/hot/scorching): Medium

The heat in Julia Quinn novel is definitely palpable and the sexual tension sky-high, but it doesn’t border on the erotica category of scorching or hot. Love scenes in JQ’s books are touching and a huge relief, after pages and pages of wanting these two people to be together, but they are more filled with humor and reality than scorching images. Which is not to say that the scenes aren’t fiery, how could they not be with the proud, charming Quinn heroes, but with only one or two true love scenes in each book, it’s the build-up and dying for release that makes these eventual consummations so effective.

If You Like Julia Quinn, You’ll Like-

If you’re looking for the humor of Julia Quinn in another historical, we’d highly recommend the historical romances of Patricia Cabot. This is actually the pseudonym of Young Adult queen, Meg Cabot, but she brings the same witty and warm tone to traditional romance that she is famous for in YA. Because of her overwhelming success in that genre, she’s stopped writing adult romance for the moment, but if you can get a copy of anything from her impressive historical backlist, you won’t be sorry – her characters are charming and their banter and laughter will keep the pages flying.

Similarly, Claudia Dain’s most recent releases, The Courtesan’s Daughter (The Courtesan Series) and The Courtesan’s Secret (The Courtesan Series), also mirror the light, witty humor that JQ does so splendidly. These two romances are also great for readers who want the fast-paced aspect of JQ’s novels – the events in both take place over only a few days, with complications and tension rising the whole way through. Though, be warned, once you pick one up, you won’t be able to stop reading-so you may want to clear your schedule!

If you’re looking for the character-depth and emotional impact similar to JQ’s The Duke and I or The Viscount Who Loved Me (with two of Quinn’s more tortured heroes), but don’t want to sacrifice the warmth, look into the backlists of Julie Anne Long and Julianne Maclean. These are two slightly lesser known historical authors, but they consistently deliver stellar books. While you’re waiting for Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, they can certainly distract you with books using more externally driven plots than JQ, but that still include the shading and detail of great characters – at the end of a book by either author, you may find yourself drying your eyes and smiling at the same time. Our personal favorites are: Long’s To Love a Thief (Warner Forever) and Maclean’s Love According to Lily.

Finally, if you want all the details of JQ – totally lovable characters, quick pacing, snappy dialogue, emotional depth, and most especially the humor – but don’t care too much whether it’s a historical or not, please, please, please go pick up a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel. Yes, she’s a contemporary author, but her sense of emotion and biting humor are pretty much only rivaled by the great Ms. Quinn. Both authors are experts at having you laughing and crying in the same book – all because you love their characters so much that you can fully believe them and their situations as entirely real. If you’re a die-hard historical reader, but have been looking to break into Contemporary, you won’t be disappointed, we promise!

So, fellow JQ fans, what are some books you would recommend while waiting for her next release? Is there a debut author whom we’ve just got to try, or even an outside-genre pick who makes you think of the wonderful Ms. Quinn? We can’t wait to read your suggestions!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

40 Comments

  1. Liz in Australia
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 05:35:04

    Guess whose backlist I’m rereading right now?
    I’m in the mood for comfort reads and so I revisit my JQ collection. Wonderfully relaxing and full of delight. Partway through RMB. Getting off the PC now to go off to bed and read. Bye!

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  2. Ana
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 05:57:43

    I love this post! Julia Quinn is one of my favorite writers and you listed every single reason why. Her books are fabulous! and I really love that her stories are character driven, with internal conflict rather than external (I can’t remember of a single book of hers where there is a villainous villain) Ad I love her sense of humour.

    Now for recommendations: I recently read If His Kiss is Wicked and Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Ghurkie and some of her dialogues reminded me of Julia Quinn’s: light and funny.

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  3. JulieLeto
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 06:44:37

    hen choosing between a handsome, wealthy, and open-minded duke who will still respect you in the morning and a pimply faced teenage boy whose hands have been god-knows-where, always choose the duke. Even if he only exists in the pages of a book.

    Not sure if the coding stuff worked, but I just wanted to say…BRAVA to this remark. Honestly, I think romance novels kept me a virgin MUCH longer than I might have otherwise. It made me VERY choosy!

    I’d love to see a study on this.

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  4. Ana
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 06:54:19

    Errata: I meant not If His Kiss is Wicked (which is by Jo Goodman) but It’s in His Kiss by Laura Lee Guhrke. Obviously, I should not comment before having at least two cups of coffee.

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  5. Jane O
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 08:01:28

    I second the recommendations for Guhrke and Long, and I would add Caroline Linden (What a Rogue Desires, etc.).

    I’d also say Loretta Chase and Eloisa James, except I’d put it the other way around – If you like Lortta Chase or Eloisa James, you might like Julia Quinn.

    I love this feature, but it is exasperating me. I have only been reading romance (preferably historical) for a couple of years. Have I already read all the good ones?

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  6. ames
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 08:45:15

    I really enjoy these “If you like” posts. It’s a great way to find new authors – new to me anyway. :P

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  7. Caren Crane
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:02:16

    What a great article! I, too, am a Julia Quinn fan and am thoroughly enjoying the Dukes of Wyndham books. I also could not agree more with your recommendation of Claudia Dain’s Courtesan books. The “glue” character in the books is Sophia, an ex-courtesan who married into the gentry. Sophia is sophisticated, intelligent and just a hair manipulative. The books are great fun and I eagerly await each new release. My only complaint is that they need to be released more quickly!

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  8. Patti
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:06:16

    I completely agree with the similarities between Julia Quinn and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I usually prefer only historicals, but these two are, hands down, my favorite romance authors. Both are so witty and smart and yet both have a lot of emotional depth. I think JQ’s biggest tear jerker is “When He Was Wicked”; even more so than the two you mentioned. Tho I love those books too!

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  9. JulieLeto
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:39:34

    Jane O, no you haven’t! Have you read Betina Krahn? Her THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES was a major keeper for me. And Sherry Thomas is a new historical find for me. Oh! And Jo Beverly. I adore her books. Are they anything like Quinn? No, not really…but still fabulous in their own right.

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  10. Lori
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:42:09

    I adore JQ!! Dancing at Midnight was my first JQ (read it when it first was released) and I gobbled everything she wrote as soon as it came out after that.

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  11. jillicious
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:07:48

    I’d like to add Jacquie D’Alessandro to the list. Her books are light and airy and fun, and I think JQ has the same sort of tone to her books.

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  12. Jane O
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:21:52

    JulieLeto, Yes thank you, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Betina Krahn (TBOTD was one of the first romances I read). And Sherry Thomas and Jo Beverley. I have also really enjoyed Lisa Kleypas, Liz Carlyle, Jo Goodman, and have been delighted to encounter Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne. I fear my problem is that I read too fast.

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  13. Jane
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:24:09

    What about Victoria Alexander? Doesn’t she qualify as a comparable JQ author? I’m not in love with VA’s work myself but I know she is very popular and I think writes within the same oevre. I would likely put Sabrina Jeffries there myself.

    I love, love Claudia Dain and her new courtesan series. We did a lego movie of it here at Dear Author. Will have to dig around and find it.

    Edited to add: here’s the Link

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  14. MS Jones
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:29:13

    Well done, Stephanie and Mary!

    Given the kerfuffle over the DIK acronym, perhaps we should come up with a new one, like TMN (Three Minute Ninja).

    Georgette Heyer is an author I’d recommend if you like Julia Quinn.

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  15. Michelle
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:33:45

    This was so much fun to read!

    I really enjoy JQ as well – particularly the intelligent banter between the hero and heroine and the emotional depth of their developing relationship. You always know why a JQ hero and heroine fall in love.

    Some ideas of historical romances w/ great banter and a great love story:
    Loretta Chase – pretty much everything
    Laura Lee Gurke’s Breathless and the Girl Bachelor Series
    Elizabeth Boyle – particularly Something about Emmaline, This Rake of Mine, and Love Letters From a Duke
    Mary Balogh’s – A Summer to Remember, More Than a Mistress, Slightly Dangerous and Slightly Scandalous
    Georgette Heyer’s Frederika (note: I’m very much a GH neophyte, and the only reason I tried her again – after writing her off as wordy and slow-paced – was the DA review of Cotillion.)
    Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, Untie My Heart, the one about the rat catcher
    Anne Gracie’s The Perfect Rake
    Other possibilities: Barbara Metzger, Edith Layton, Jo Beverley, Julie Anne Long

    JQ is so talented and has such a unique voice. Some have argued that her voice was so successful that it changed the direction of regency-set historical romances for a decade or so. Avon had a lot of success with those types of romances, and hardcore JQ fans may want to try the Avon regency historicals of 1995-2007 or so.

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  16. Michelle
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:47:28

    A JQ fan may also like the humor and banter in Julie Garwood’s regency-set novels.

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  17. vanessa jaye
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:02:34

    Are we supposed to suggest who we think is comparable in voice/story type to JQ? Cause I’m just here to state I heart Julia Quin Big Time!

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  18. Stephanie J
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:11:00

    Ok, wow, lots of good recommendations! I knew we’d never get the full list…there are just so many good ones out there! Michelle, I’m such a fan of the banter. I think it’s what drew me into JQ and I crave it in the romance novels that I read.

    Patti — SEP was my first contemp and it’s not wonder that I ended up loving her. For my friends who’ve read JQ I always recommend SEP as a jumping off point for contemps.

    I’ve read most of the other recs but I’m off to scribble down some of these authors that I haven’t read! Thanks for the great feedback! :)

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  19. Noelle
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:43:09

    I’m 3/4s of the way through The Lost Duke of Wyndham and I can’t wait to finish and see how the two books intertwine.
    Julia Quinn and Madeline Hunter are my two auto-buy historical romance writers.
    I know her last book didn’t get the best review here but I love Madeline Hunter’s work.

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  20. Julianne MacLean
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:56:13

    Hi ladies – thank you so much for mentioning my backlist in your post. I am a big fan of JQ as well – your blog was excellent! – so it is a tremendous honor to be mentioned here. Thank you, you made my day!

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  21. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:07:17

    I’m a big fan of Julia Quinn. I think she personifies quality over quantity. I would add Sabrina Jeffries to the list. Interesting characters, excellent writing, and great dialogue, like JQ.

    Amanda Quick’s historicals are also quite witty. Plus ghosts or a mystery to solve!

    Catherine Coulter might be a good comparison as well.

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  22. Kelly Krysten
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:25:00

    Great overview! As you know, I love JQ. But so many great authors have already been mentioned that it’s hard to come up with anything to add. Christina Dodd has written some great historicals. Teresa Medeiros is a an auto-buy for me. Anne Gracie has a light JQesque quality. Elizabeth Hoyt and Victoria Dahl have light moments but are definitely on the steamier side. And Lisa Kleypas goes without saying!

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  23. Shannon
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 14:54:40

    I don’t think I’ve seen her mentioned but I love Cathy Maxwell. She’s a definite auto-buy, and I actually discovered her when I was whining that I had read all of the JQ out there and needed a good book.

    I also read what I think is a debut author — Olivia Parker’s At The Bride Hunt Ball. It was an amazing story — I acutally finished it and put it back in my “to be read pile” so I can read it again. It reminded me a lot of JQ’s style.

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  24. Deb Marlowe
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 15:50:43

    Oh, JQ’s books are so much fun! I absolutely agree to adding Sabrina Jeffries and Claudia Dain to the list. Both are excellent, and in different ways. Love to get the Regency Historical fix and yet feel transported to completely different worlds.

    I loved the lego video of the Courtesan series! I recently saw the book trailer for the Courtesan Chronicles on YouTube and thought it was one of the best I’ve seen; cute and snappy and it gives a great flavor of the series.

    Forgot to add that my fave JQ lately was On the Way to the Wedding. I’l looking forward to the new connected books!

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  25. Susan/DC
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 17:04:22

    I second the recommendation of Barbara Metzger if you’re looking for a very distinctive voice with a light humorous touch. Some of the other authors mentioned in prior posts are very good, but they’re not truly comparable to JQ in terms of those qualities that make her so distinctive, and I think Metzger is a closer match.

    One reason I love JQ is that she does both humor and pathos well. Here too her touch is light and not overdone. In “The Duke and I”, Simon’s mother has been warned not to get pregnant again, but “she knew her duty and flung open the connecting door to the duke’s bedchamber” (quote from memory so not exact). You know the duchess is aware she is putting her life at risk to bear the duke a son, and the scene is quite touching. In “The Lost Duke of Wyndham”, which isn’t my favorite JQ book by a long shot, I was still brought near to tears when Jack’s aunt tells him how much she’s missed him and how his absence meant she’d suffered two losses. JQ knows exactly how people talk in moments like that, and she pulls at your heartstrings without making the reader feel manipulated.

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  26. RStewie
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 17:15:15

    I completely agree with Elizabeth Hoyt. She’s definitely steamier, but her characterizations are great. I loved her “Prince” series. Esp. the Serpent Prince.

    More angsty than JQ, but really great.

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  27. AntheaL
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 18:39:19

    All of the above ~ plus Connie Brockway, who, sadly, is not writing historicals right now. “My Dearest Enemy” highly recommended for JQ fans, and “As you Desire.”

    Enjoy!

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  28. ldb
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 18:59:51

    I have a question, I haven’t read all of JQ’s books and I noticed that the hero’s were refered to as both Alpha and Beta, since I haven’t come across any of the Betas can someone point out which books they are in, I don’t particualy LOVE betas so I’d appriciate the warning.

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  29. Tae
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 19:30:43

    I’m a huge fan of JQ and right now only she and Mary Balogh are on my absolutely must read historical romance list. Mary Balogh doesn’t have the same humor, I don’t think, but her Bedwyn series are great. The last one Slightly Dangerous was amazing, and funny, too.

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  30. loonigrrl
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 01:26:17

    Great post! I love that quote from The Viscount Who Loved Me. The Pall Mall scene makes me laugh every single time I read it.

    I would suggest Olivia Parker’s At the Bride Hunt Ball. I actually recommended it during the Judith McNaught post, but I think the humor and her characters are more Quinn than McNaught. It’s a very enjoyable book, and one of my favorites from this year.

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  31. Alyssa Goodnight
    Oct 01, 2008 @ 22:20:03

    Awesome retrospective on all of JQ’s many masterpieces! I remember loving the Pall Mall scene myself. I’ve just gotten The Lost Duke of Wyndham and am very much looking forward to it.

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  32. Simplechef
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 15:58:51

    I love all the recommendations here. What sets JQ apart in my opinion is how you feel like you’re reading in real time. There’s no long descriptive paragraphs between bits of dialog. No descriptions of the thought process between grabbing the heroine and the kiss… Her pacing makes her the best Regency writer out there. Karen Robard’s early novels have the same humor, but not the same pacing. Amanda Quick also has the same humor and fast pacing, but her novels are always about the metaphysical, so can get predictable… Which makes me say I just don’t think there’s an equal for JQ on the romance scene right now.

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  33. April
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 19:24:45

    Great post! I love Julia Quinn. I had actually gone to her website to see who SHE recommends when I saw this link to “Dear Author.” I thought: “How ironic that I’m going back to Dear Author for an ‘If You Like….’ entry when the Dear Author ‘If You Like Judith McNaught’ entry got me started on my whole regency romance obsession to begin with!” I devoured all of Judith McNaught’s historicals, loved them but found that the “angst” situation was just more than I could bear. Why must she make her characters so distrustful and quick to betray those they love? It’s just too painful. So I went looking for more light-hearted fare and I found JQ.

    Julia Quinn has become my fave historical romance author. I’ve devoured almost everything she’s written, and I live in fear of the day that I finish all of her books. She’s the only historical romance author I’ve encountered that manages to be funny without being silly. For instance, Amanda Quick and Julie Garwood can be funny, but their characters end up feeling so contrived and rather unrealistic.

    I read an Eloisa James novel (Desperate Duchesses) the other day and was extremely excited. Her dialogue is snappy, the plot was character driven, and the situation was completely unconventional. Yay. Perhaps I’ve found another author’s books to stack up on my shelf to get me through after I’ve completed JQ’s repertoire.

    Thanks for the other recs!!

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  34. Mora
    Aug 17, 2009 @ 00:21:41

    This comment is way late, but I recently read a couple of Jessica Benson’s books, and fell in love with them. They’re light and fun and remind me a lot of Quinn’s work. Their styles are different–The Accidental Duchess is written in first person, for example–but the storylines are comparable and the effect they create on the reader are as well.

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  35. Lyn
    Dec 30, 2009 @ 10:50:45

    Try Olivia Parker. She has 2 books out right now. BRIDE HUNT BALL, and EARL.

    I have enjoyed Kleypas, Quick, James,Chase, Gurke, d'Alessandro, etc..but Parker is the closest in style to JQ that I’ve found…but her epilogues were lacking…

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  36. Ann
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 20:26:12

    Alissa Johnson…I love her books!

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  37. Pam
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 20:06:27

    One day I decided to check the book recommendations of our local public library. A die-hard Judith McNaught fan, I thought about reading another historical romance. One reader suggested “What Happens In London” by Julia Quinn. I thought to myself, “Hmmm… why not?”

    What a great decision! The plot was so original and the dialogue so humorous that I had to continue reading JQ’s books. I’m now a die-hard Julia Quinn fan, too!

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  38. diana
    Mar 18, 2013 @ 14:55:53

    I cant wait for “The bridgertons happily ever after” to be released !!!

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  39. mehsina
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 12:32:32

    i would definitely add lisa kleypas to the list. her style is pretty similar to julia quinn’s.

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  40. Sunniva
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:33:22

    I love, love, love, love, love Julia Quinn and her fantastic books (characters). I’ve also read most of the authors mentioned in the commentary, and would like to warn anyone who thinks that reading the mentioned authors is like reading JQ. In my opinion, NONE of these authors measure up to her fantastic style, humour, warmth, etc. I really enjoy a great many of them, (Julie Garwood is really worth taking a look at), but not one of them is as great as JQ. I’ve visited this page before with a small hope of finding something equally fabulous, but other writers never quite reach JQ’s magic.

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