Splendid (Blydon Family Saga Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Based on the phenomenal growth of Quinn?s popularity, and her four-week stint on the New York Times bestseller 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 ...

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Splendid (Blydon Family Saga Series #1)

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Overview

Based on the phenomenal growth of Quinn′s popularity, and her four-week stint on the New York Times bestseller 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.

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. A Regency romance. Original.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061752681
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Series: Blydon Family Saga Series , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 11,081
  • File size: 694 KB

Meet the Author

The author of twenty-three previous novels for Avon Books, Julia Quinn is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



London, England
April 1816

"You realize, of course, that there win be hell to pay if my mother catches us." Arabella Blydon looked over her costume with a skeptical eye. She and Emma had borrowed frocks from their maids — much to their maids' dismay — and were presently creeping down the back stairs of Belle's London house.

"There will be a lot more hell to pay if she catches you swearing," Emma commented wryly.

"I really don't care. If I have to supervise one more flower arrangement for your party, I'm going to scream."

"I hardly, think a scream would be appropriate when we're meant to be sneaking down the stairs."

"Oh, hush," Belle muttered ungraciously, tiptoeing her way down another step.

Emma surveyed her surroundings as she followed her cousin. The back staircase was certainly a change from the one she and Belle usually used in the main hall, which curved gracefully and was cushioned with luxurious carpets from Persia. In contrast, the polished wooden steps of the back stairs were narrow, and the walls were whitewashed and unadorned. The quiet simplicity of the stairwell reminded Emma of her home in Boston, which was not decorated in the opulent London style. The Blydon mansion, located in fashionable Grosvenor Square, had been in their family for over a century and was filled with both priceless heirlooms and exceedingly bad portraits of the Blydons of yesteryear. Emma glanced back up at the plain walls and sighed softy as she fought back a pang of homesicknessfor her father.

"I cannot believe I'm creeping around my home like a burglar to avoid my mother," Belle grumbled as she reached the bottom of the first flight of stairs and rounded the corner to begin the second. "Frankly, I'd rather curl up in my room with a good book, but she's sure to find me there and make me go over the menu again."

"A fate worse than death," Emma murmured.

Belle looked at her sharply. "I'll have you know that I've gone over that blasted menu with her countless times. If she corners me one more time with questions about salmon mousse or roast duck à l'orange, I really don't think I can be held responsible for my actions."

"Contemplating matricide?"

Belle shot her a wry look but didn't reply as she daintily moved down the stairs. "Watch out for this step, Emma," she whispered, hugging the wall. "It creaks in the middle."

Emma swiftly followed her cousin's advice. "I take it you sneak down these stairs often?"

"I used to. It's quite handy to know how to get around this place without anyone knowing what you're up to. I just usually don't go around dressed like my maid."

"Well, it wouldn't do to wear silks if we're going to help Cook get all the food prepared for tonight."

Belle looked dubious. "Frankly, I don't think she's going to appreciate our help. She's quite traditional and doesn't really think it's proper for the family to be belowstairs." With that, she flung open the door to the kitchen. "Hello, everyone. We're here to help!"

Everyone looked absolutely horrified.

Emma quickly tried to remedy the situation. "You could use two extra pairs of hands, couldn't you?" She turned to Cook and flashed her a wide smile.

Cook threw up her arms and shrieked, sending clouds of flour billowing through the air. "What in God's name are you two doing down here?"

One of the kitchen maids stopped kneading dough for a moment and ventured a question. "Pardon me, miladies, but why are you dressed like that?"

"I don't think the two of you ought to be in my kitchen," Cook continued, placing her hands on her formidable hips. "You'll get in the way." When neither of the two young ladies showed any inclination of leaving, Cook clenched her teeth and started waving a wooden spoon at them. "In case you hadn't noticed, we have a lot of extra work to do down here. Now off with you before I call the countess."

Belle quaked at the mention of her mother. "Please let us stay, Cook." She was fairly sure that Cook had a proper name, but everyone had called her that for so long that nobody actually remembered what it was. "We promise not to get in the way. We'll be a great help to you, I'm sure. And we'll be quiet, too."

"It just isn't right having you down here. Don't you two have anything better to do than play at being kitchen maids?"

"Not really," Belle answered truthfully.

Emma smiled to herself, silently agreeing with her cousin. She and Belle had gotten into nonstop mischief since they had arrived three weeks earlier. It wasn't that she'd meant to get into trouble. It was just that there seemed so little to do in London. Back home she kept busy with her work for Dunster Shipping. But in London, bookkeeping was not deemed an appropriate pastime for women, and it seemed that proper young English ladies had no other duties besides getting fitted for gowns and learning how to dance.

Emma was bored beyond belief.

Not that she was unhappy. As much as she missed her father, she rather liked being a part of a larger family. It was just that she didn't feel useful. She and Belle had started to go to great lengths to entertain themselves. Emma smiled guiltily at their exploits. It had certainly never occurred to them that the stray cat they'd taken in only two weeks earlier might be infested with fleas. There was really no way they could have guessed that the entire first floor of the Blydon mansion would have to be aired out...

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Splendid

Chapter One



London, England
April 1816

"You realize, of course, that there win be hell to pay if my mother catches us." Arabella Blydon looked over her costume with a skeptical eye. She and Emma had borrowed frocks from their maids -- much to their maids' dismay -- and were presently creeping down the back stairs of Belle's London house.

"There will be a lot more hell to pay if she catches you swearing," Emma commented wryly.

"I really don't care. If I have to supervise one more flower arrangement for your party, I'm going to scream."

"I hardly, think a scream would be appropriate when we're meant to be sneaking down the stairs."

"Oh, hush," Belle muttered ungraciously, tiptoeing her way down another step.

Emma surveyed her surroundings as she followed her cousin. The back staircase was certainly a change from the one she and Belle usually used in the main hall, which curved gracefully and was cushioned with luxurious carpets from Persia. In contrast, the polished wooden steps of the back stairs were narrow, and the walls were whitewashed and unadorned. The quiet simplicity of the stairwell reminded Emma of her home in Boston, which was not decorated in the opulent London style. The Blydon mansion, located in fashionable Grosvenor Square, had been in their family for over a century and was filled with both priceless heirlooms and exceedingly bad portraits of the Blydons of yesteryear. Emma glanced back up at the plain walls and sighed softy as she fought back a pang of homesickness for her father.

"I cannot believe I'm creeping around my home like a burglar to avoid my mother," Belle grumbled as she reached the bottom of the first flight of stairs and rounded the corner to begin the second. "Frankly, I'd rather curl up in my room with a good book, but she's sure to find me there and make me go over the menu again."

"A fate worse than death," Emma murmured.

Belle looked at her sharply. "I'll have you know that I've gone over that blasted menu with her countless times. If she corners me one more time with questions about salmon mousse or roast duck à l'orange, I really don't think I can be held responsible for my actions."

"Contemplating matricide?"

Belle shot her a wry look but didn't reply as she daintily moved down the stairs. "Watch out for this step, Emma," she whispered, hugging the wall. "It creaks in the middle."

Emma swiftly followed her cousin's advice. "I take it you sneak down these stairs often?"

"I used to. It's quite handy to know how to get around this place without anyone knowing what you're up to. I just usually don't go around dressed like my maid."

"Well, it wouldn't do to wear silks if we're going to help Cook get all the food prepared for tonight."

Belle looked dubious. "Frankly, I don't think she's going to appreciate our help. She's quite traditional and doesn't really think it's proper for the family to be belowstairs." With that, she flung open the door to the kitchen. "Hello, everyone. We're here to help!"

Everyone looked absolutely horrified.

Emma quickly tried to remedy the situation. "You could use two extra pairs of hands, couldn't you?" She turned to Cook and flashed her a wide smile.

Cook threw up her arms and shrieked, sending clouds of flour billowing through the air. "What in God's name are you two doing down here?"

One of the kitchen maids stopped kneading dough for a moment and ventured a question. "Pardon me, miladies, but why are you dressed like that?"

"I don't think the two of you ought to be in my kitchen," Cook continued, placing her hands on her formidable hips. "You'll get in the way." When neither of the two young ladies showed any inclination of leaving, Cook clenched her teeth and started waving a wooden spoon at them. "In case you hadn't noticed, we have a lot of extra work to do down here. Now off with you before I call the countess."

Belle quaked at the mention of her mother. "Please let us stay, Cook." She was fairly sure that Cook had a proper name, but everyone had called her that for so long that nobody actually remembered what it was. "We promise not to get in the way. We'll be a great help to you, I'm sure. And we'll be quiet, too."

"It just isn't right having you down here. Don't you two have anything better to do than play at being kitchen maids?"

"Not really," Belle answered truthfully.

Emma smiled to herself, silently agreeing with her cousin. She and Belle had gotten into nonstop mischief since they had arrived three weeks earlier. It wasn't that she'd meant to get into trouble. It was just that there seemed so little to do in London. Back home she kept busy with her work for Dunster Shipping. But in London, bookkeeping was not deemed an appropriate pastime for women, and it seemed that proper young English ladies had no other duties besides getting fitted for gowns and learning how to dance.

Emma was bored beyond belief.

Not that she was unhappy. As much as she missed her father, she rather liked being a part of a larger family. It was just that she didn't feel useful. She and Belle had started to go to great lengths to entertain themselves. Emma smiled guiltily at their exploits. It had certainly never occurred to them that the stray cat they'd taken in only two weeks earlier might be infested with fleas. There was really no way they could have guessed that the entire first floor of the Blydon mansion would have to be aired out...

Splendid. Copyright © by Julia Quinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 153 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(81)

4 Star

(41)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 156 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2002

    Great Books, a must have

    This book is amazing.... I cant put down this book even for a minute. I laughed a lot (it's very very funny) and I couldnt help to fall in love with Emma and Alex. You gotta have to buy this book (and also the sequence: Dancing at Midnight and Minx) Trust me, once you hook up with 1 JQ book, you will want to read ALL of her books ^-^

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Lives up to its title.. Splendid indeed!!!! (a must-read)

    This book was absoloutely heart warming! I loved ALMOST every second of it. The characters grew on me after a while, and by the end of the book, i was absoloutely smitten and almost spoiled the next book of the series (dancing at midnight) with my hope that Emma and Alex would make an apperance! I began reading Dancing at Midnight, and read ms.Quinns letter to the reader. After finding out that I had the books completely out of order, I went straight to Splendid. Though the first chapter didn't immediately take me for a whirlwind, Julia Quinn wastes no time adding conflict to the story with a chapter 2 &3 that will have you going "OMG!!!!". I believe the character development staled a bit as the "swooning" period was under way. cleverly by passing the two months in which Emma and Alex become "close friends". the delay in their love developing left me a bit impatient, but was well made up for once a certain 'special' proposal took place =D. I did feel the ending conflict (with Belle,who's story continues in the next book) was a bit contrived and I disliked how Quinn went about playing the last few sequences out,but overall, I was splendidly enamored with this book from beginning to end. and the epilogue was wonderful as well! .... This is definitely a good book to take you away from yourself for a few hours and make you feel for the characters. Did i mention how much i loved chapter 2&3?? wonderful sequence that just clicked and resonated somewhere with me. STRONG&BRAVE LITTLE CHITS FOR LIFE!!!! (my favorite type of heroine)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Lovely story!

    A very fun read, most readers will enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Very cute story! Recommended!!

    This was a really cute story... One of those stories that you wish you lived. The characters were great and hilarious! If you want to get lost in another world for awhile, I would definitely read this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2005

    Splendid - It was pretty close to that...

    I am an avid historical romance reader for over 20 years now (since my high school days and back when the covers of these books were rather racey and open to alot of teasing by guys!). I stopped reading for a few years as everything seemed the same and I got burnt out on the same plot lines. Fortunately, I started reading again this year and some new authors are great and the covers are much more tame - you can take them in public without scorn! I am a first time reader to Julia Quinn and the book 'Splendid'. Apparently this is one of the first books she ever wrote. She notes in her forward that she would go back and make things much different years later as a professional writer but, of course she would and could not tamper with her first piece. It stands as it is and a good one at that. Most authors would be proud to do a book like this the first time around. It's a simple book but, simply splendid too. I agree with one reviewer that Alex - the hero - was a bit fast in declaring his infatuation with Emma so quickly - only pages into the story. Luckily, things slow to a more realistic pace as their interest and attraction and eventual relationship develops. They are solid characters and the plot line moves along well. I would recommend this book to others and will buy some more Julia Quinns to see how she has developed over the years -I expect she's done well. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    Good Till The Last Page!

    I love this book! Emma wants independance and Alex just wants Emma! Comedy, drama and romance all in one! I have all of Julia Quinns books and I look forward to reading more from her!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    Enjoyed

    I enjoyed this book. Nothing fantastic but a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    Good

    First time reading Julia Quinn. Liked the book. Will read more of her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Classic Julia Quinn!

    Fun, witty, and sexy! Never disappoints!

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    Great book. Love the who Blydon Family Series

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Sappy

    I loved "THE DUKE AND I". This book was such a let down after that one. Just yuck. Too much sex for the period. Not enough propriety. I almosr could not finish it and very often was annoyed reading it. NOT A MUST READ!

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    Loved it!

    So good!

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    LOVED IT!

    This is such a great book! I LOVED IT! It was a real page turner, I read it super quick! This book made my insides tingle ;)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This book really is "Splendid"!

    This is my second Julia Quinn book and I really CAN NOT wait for my next one to come! I'm a slow reader, but I got through this 396 page book in easily 5 days! Whenever I put it down I would dream about all day what might happen next. Also, when one event concludeds another quickly begins again, there is SO much that goes on in this book!

    My favorite part of this would be how Quinn uses the word "splendid" throughout the book. Every time some one says it it is used in a different situation each time, very intresting!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Love it..

    I read this book so much I have to get a second copy of the book just in case the other one just falls apart on me one day.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One Of Her BEST!

    This book was one of Julia Quinn's best books. Splendid kept me up all night reading, and it made me fall in love with Emma and Alexander. Whenever I feel like I could meet one of the characters from a book in real life, I know that the author is truly gifted- and this author is! Splendid was a humorous tale of two people who are opposites falling madly in love-- with a few bumps along the way. A MUST read :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2007

    Indeed splendid

    Splendid as Julia Quinn's first novel is undoubtedly not as refined as her newer work. But Splendid is a heart-warming, poignant love story. Alex and Emma were just wonderful together. Fast-paced and incredibly sweet. Don't miss it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2006

    Great Love Story

    I have always read Julia Quinn and enjoyed her books. Splendid was the first book I read by her and instantly made her one of my favorite authors. I thought Emma was very strong spritied. And I love how Alex fought for her love. Great romance and sizzling scenes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Julia's first is a great one

    I've read all of the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn and absolutely loved them. She's never repetitive with her story lines or characters. I know every time I pick up one of her books it will be something different, new and exciting than the last one. All of her stories are so wonderful. Spendid was definately great. I loved it! Very romantic and a good story. I RECOMMEND IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    must read this!

    This was the first J.Q book I have ever read and coincidentally it was her first. I loved it! If you love romance you must read this!

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