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What Happens in London (Bevelstoke Series #2)

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Overview

Rumors and Gossip . . . The lifeblood of London

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits . . . and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring ...

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What Happens in London (Bevelstoke Series #2)

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Overview

Rumors and Gossip . . . The lifeblood of London

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits . . . and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself . . .

2010 RITA Winner for Best Regency Historical Romance

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  • What Happens in London
    What Happens in London  

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Beautiful, well-dowered, and nobly born, Lady Olivia Bevelstoke is practically on the shelf at 21, when the enigmatic Harry Valentine—rumored to have killed his fiancée—moves in next door. Curious and attracted, Olivia follows her dubious instincts and finds herself in more trouble than she'd ever imagined—and also more in love. VERDICT Funny, endearing, and full of adventure, this lively tale retains all of Quinn's characteristic witty charm but adds a dangerous dash of mystery that is sure to delight her many fans. Quinn (Mr. Cavendish, I Presume) lives in the Pacific Northwest.


—Kristin Ramsdell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061491887
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Series: Bevelstoke Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 197,130
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since.

The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only fifteen authors ever to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

What Happens in London

Chapter One They say he killed his first wife."

It was enough to make Lady Olivia Bevelstoke cease stirring her tea. "Who?" she asked, since the truth was, she hadn't been listening.

"Sir Harry Valentine. Your new neighbor."

Olivia took a hard look at Anne Buxton, and then at Mary Cadogan, who was nodding her head in agreement. "You must be joking," she said, although she knew quite well that Anne would never joke about something like that. Gossip was her lifeblood.

"No, he really is your new neighbor," put in Philomena Waincliff.

Olivia took a sip of her tea, mostly so that she would have time to keep her face free of its desired expression, which was a cross between unabashed exasperation and disbelief. "I meant that she must be joking that he killed someone," she said, with more patience than she was generally given credit for.

"Oh." Philomena picked up a biscuit. "Sorry."

"I know I heard that he killed his fiancée," Anne insisted.

"If he killed someone, he'd be in gaol," Olivia pointed out.

"Not if they couldn't prove it."

Olivia glanced slightly toward her left, where, through a thick stone wall, ten feet of fresh springtime air, and another thick wall, this one of brick, Sir Harry Valentine's newly leased home sat directly to the south of hers.

The other three girls followed her direction, which made Olivia feel quite foolish, as now they were all staring at a perfectly blank spot on the drawing-room wall. "He didn't kill anyone," she said firmly.

"How do you know?" Anne responded.

Mary nodded.

"Because he didn't," Olivia said. "He wouldn't be livingone house away from me in Mayfair if he'd killed someone."

"Not if they couldn't prove it," Anne said again.

Mary nodded.

Philomena ate another biscuit.

Olivia managed an ever-so-slight turn of her lips. Upward, she hoped. It wouldn't do to frown. It was four in the afternoon. The other girls had been visiting for an hour, chatting about this and that, gossiping (of course), and discussing their wardrobe selections for the next three social events. They met like this frequently, about once per week, and Olivia enjoyed their company, even if the conversation lacked the heft she enjoyed with her closest friend, Miranda née Cheever now Bevelstoke.

Yes, Miranda had gone and married Olivia's brother. Which was a good thing. A marvelous thing. They had been friends since birth, and now they would be sisters until death. But it also meant that Miranda was no longer an unmarried lady, required to do unmarried lady sorts of things.

Unmarried Lady Sorts of Things
By Lady Olivia Bevelstoke, Unmarried Lady
Wear pastel colors
(and be quite glad if you possess the correct complexion for such hues).
Smile and keep your opinions to yourself
(with whatever success you are able).
Do what your parents tell you to do.
Accept the consequences when you don't.
Find a husband who won't bother to
tell you what to do.

It was not uncommon for Olivia to formulate such epigraphic oddities in her mind. Which might explain why she so frequently caught herself not listening when she ought.

And, perhaps, why she might have, once or twice, said things she really should have kept to herself. Although in all fairness, it had been two years since she'd called Sir Robert Kent an overgrown stoat, and frankly, that had been far more charitable than the other items on her mental accounting.

But digressions aside, Miranda now got to do married lady sorts of things, for which Olivia would like to have formed a list, except that no one (not even Miranda, and Olivia still had not forgiven her for this) would tell her what it was that married ladies did, aside from not having to wear pastel colors, not having to be accompanied by a chaperone at all times, and producing small infants at reasonable intervals.

Olivia was quite certain there was more to the last bit. That was the one that sent her mother fleeing from the room every time she asked.

But back to Miranda. She had produced a small infant—Olivia's darling niece Caroline, for whom she'd happily throw herself under hooves, equine or otherwise—and was now on her way to producing another, which meant that she was not available for regular afternoon chitchat. And as Olivia liked chitchat—and fashion and gossip—she found herself spending more and more time with Anne, Mary, and Philomena. And while they were often entertaining, and never malicious, they were, slightly more than occasionally, foolish.

Like right now.

"Who are they, anyway?" Olivia asked.

"They?" Anne echoed.

"They. The people who say my new neighbor killed his fiancée."

Anne paused. She looked at Mary. "Do you recall?"

Mary shook her head. "I don't, actually. Sarah Forsythe, perhaps?"

"No," Philomena put in, shaking her head with great certitude. "It wasn't Sarah. She only got back from Bath two days ago. Libby Lockwood?"

"Not Libby," Anne said. "I would have remembered if it were Libby."

"That's my point," Olivia interjected. "You don't know who said it. None of us does."

"Well, I didn't make it up," Anne said, a touch defensively.

"I didn't say you did. I would never think that of you." It was true. Anne repeated most anything uttered in her presence, but she never made things up. Olivia paused, collecting her thoughts. "Don't you think it's the sort of rumor one might want to verify?"

This was met with three blank stares.

Olivia tried a different tactic. "If only for your own personal safety. If such a thing were true—"

"Then you think it is?" Anne asked, in a rather pinning—you-down sort of voice."No." Good heavens. "I don't. But if it were, then surely he would not be someone with whom we would wish to associate."

This was met with a long beat of silence, finally broken by Philomena: "My mother has already told me to avoid him."

"Which is why," Olivia continued, feeling a bit as if she were slogging through mud, "we should ascertain its accuracy. Because if it's not true—"

"He's very handsome," Mary cut in. Followed by, "Well, he is."

Olivia blinked, trying to follow.

"I've never seen him," Philomena said.

"He wears only black," Mary said, rather confidentially.

"I saw him in dark blue," Anne contradicted.

What Happens in London. 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
( 180 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(82)

4 Star

(46)

3 Star

(33)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 182 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Solid.

    First I must say it is great to read a romance book that does not have some shirtless man with a waxed chest on the cover. Don't get me wrong...my new found love for romance novels have brought me nothing but joy...but darn if those covers aren't shame inducing sometimes. So I must praise the cover because I can read it in public with getting smirks from strangers.

    Now on to the book. There is not much to say but that I enjoyed it a lot. I started this book at 3pm, by 9:30 I had finished it...this is how much I loved/enjoyed reading it. Not that it was the greatest romance novel ever written, but had everything I liked in romance novels.

    1. A non typical story. Yes they are all about the same. Two people meet, they hate each other, then they love each other, they fight, then they make up, get married and have babies. But even while having some of the same cliches..it managed to appear fresh. And it did not have the typical plot contrivances and misunderstandings to keep the two main characters apart for no sensible reason but unneeded angst...which always just annoys me and makes the characters look dumb.

    2. Witty banter. I love clever dialogue. I love funny and sarcastic quips. This book was full of them and had me chuckling throughout at almost every page. Both the hero and heroine of the book were smart and plucky and slightly odd. I loved them for it.

    3. The female was strong. Se was not sniveling or trying to hard...she just was and she was relateable. This goes a long way.

    All this conspired to make the book loads of fun for me, and when I am having fun...books get devoured. This was a kind of book that is great when you just want something fun and light to brighten up your day or otherwise humdrum week. My only complaint is that I would have liked to go more into Harry's family situation and some of the secondary characters more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Review by: "The Reading Reviewer" (www.marygramlich.com)

    What I love about this book by Mary Gramlich - everything!

    When you are a perpetual gossip like Lady Olivia Bevelstoke and you hear that your new neighbor Sir Harry Valentine is a potential fiancée killer you have to kick it up a notch and turn into a spy of some sort even though Olivia is not a very good sneak and an even worse spy. So Olivia decides keeping track of him through her bedroom window is a brilliant idea since she can see into Harry's bedroom with a nice, clear view even if this is not the proper thing to do. The problem for Olivia is Harry is working for a spy office and while he is not in the covert side of it he is still involved enough to have a few tricks up his sleeve and when from day one he sees her he is able to out-maneuver her tactics and figures two can play at this game and play they do. They court, argue, dance and burn up the night with long talks and book discussions through their open windows - or at least that is what they are leading everyone to believe.

    This matchup is great since Olivia is outgoing and Harry reserved but both are competitive individuals and when a Russian prince comes to town to court Olivia and invades Harry's space well the game just went into overtime. A normally laid back Harry becomes ferocious in his pursuit of Olivia and while he is still recovering from the effects of his service in her Majesty's Army as well as the drama of growing up the child of an alcoholic Harry is more than prepared to take this contender on especially with his first class knowledge of Russian thanks to his grandmother. What Harry also discovers is something new never thought to obtain - unconditional love. Olivia turns out to be not only a beautiful and somewhat chaotic surprise for Harry but a wonderful breath of fresh air in his stale life.

    I have yet to encounter a Julia Quinn book that is not first class, well written and just to perfect for words. I question with each new book if she can produce another hit and she does time and time again. Not with a loud roar but with a soft word and gentle manner that has just the right combination of romance and love on every single page. Always pick up a Julia Quinn book, sit back in your chair, sip your tea and realize you will not stop reading until the book is concluded.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it!

    I absolutely love Julia Quinn! I will admit I was a little dissappointed in her last two books, but this one makes up for it. I loved it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Very Fun To Read

    The story is very funny and easy to read with steamy interludes to indulge the senses! Loved It!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2009

    unworthy

    This book was so disappointing. "London" had amost no plot, and would'nt even make a good short story.I have all Ms. Quinn's books, so obviously
    I'm a big fan-but I'll wait to buy the next one until I read the reviews.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    She is back!

    Julia Quinn's funny, engaging style is back! After the lackluster "Lost Duke of Wyndham/Mr. Cavenish" books,I was not sure how I would receive "What Happens in London". With "What Happens in London", Julia has again produced a book equal to the standard set by the delightful , funny and re-readable "Romancing Mr. Bridgerton".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Great Series

    All of the books in this series are good. Great Romance novels, funny, serious, emotional roll-a-coaster ride and interesting characters.

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

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Nice new series- have read a bunch by Quinn and all are nice

    .

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  • Posted June 5, 2013

    This was a laugh-out-loud book. All the characters in the book w

    This was a laugh-out-loud book. All the characters in the book were likeable at one point or another. The story flowed and the funny parts did not seem forced, it just flowed so easy and was unexpected that it made the situations so ridiculous that they were that much more funny. I will be reading more Julia Quinn.

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

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Spectacular!

    This waswonderful novel; great plot, wondrrful characters and heart-warmingly witty. I would count it aming Quinn's best.

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

    Posted August 11, 2012

    Great re-read!

    This is not the first (and probably not the last) time i've read this book. This is what romance novels should be. Great characters, humor, story and yes romance. As previous reviewer, some individual scenes stand out. (The "blue dress" is one of them!) Sigh....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2012

    For some reason there is one part of this book that has made me

    For some reason there is one part of this book that has made me read it at least three times now. It is a very minor scene in which the main character Olivia says she will wear blue for Harry. I have no idea why, but I cannot help but sigh every time I read that. This book has a very simple plot...easy to read and will keep you sighing. No vampires or werewolves and no crazy forced marriages....Great Book.

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

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Another Quinn Romp

    Great read. A good story with serious and humorous moments

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Great Escape.

    Novel was great historical novel that is a fantastic escape read.

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

    Posted November 7, 2011

    Good read

    Loved the humor.......laughed out loud alot

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

    Posted January 19, 2011

    Loved this Book

    Julia Quinn does not disappoint. Charming and witty characters. I laughed out loud on several occassions. Didn't want to put it down. I could reread this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Charming and Funny Regency Romance!

    Julia Quinn has done it again! "What Happens in London" is a charming regency romance with laugh out loud moments. I LOVED the characters and the situations they found themselves in, and could barely put the book down. This has to be one of her best books. Fantastic!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What I love about this book by Mary Gramlich - everything!

    When you are a perpetual gossip like Lady Olivia Bevelstoke and you hear that your new neighbor Sir Harry Valentine is a potential fiancée killer you have to kick it up a notch and turn into a spy of some sort even though Olivia is not a very good sneak and an even worse spy. So Olivia decides keeping track of him through her bedroom window is a brilliant idea since she can see into Harry's bedroom with a nice, clear view even if this is not the proper thing to do. The problem for Olivia is Harry is working for a spy office and while he is not in the covert side of it he is still involved enough to have a few tricks up his sleeve and when from day one he sees her he is able to out-maneuver her tactics and figures two can play at this game and play they do. They court, argue, dance and burn up the night with long talks and book discussions through their open windows - or at least that is what they are leading everyone to believe.

    This matchup is great since Olivia is outgoing and Harry reserved but both are competitive individuals and when a Russian prince comes to town to court Olivia and invades Harry's space well the game just went into overtime. A normally laid back Harry becomes ferocious in his pursuit of Olivia and while he is still recovering from the effects of his service in her Majesty's Army as well as the drama of growing up the child of an alcoholic Harry is more than prepared to take this contender on especially with his first class knowledge of Russian thanks to his grandmother. What Harry also discovers is something new never thought to obtain - unconditional love. Olivia turns out to be not only a beautiful and somewhat chaotic surprise for Harry but a wonderful breath of fresh air in his stale life.

    I have yet to encounter a Julia Quinn book that is not first class, well written and just to perfect for words. I question with each new book if she can produce another hit and she does time and time again. Not with a loud roar but with a soft word and gentle manner that has just the right combination of romance and love on every single page. Always pick up a Julia Quinn book, sit back in your chair, sip your tea and realize you will not stop reading until the book is concluded.

    Mary Gramlich is The Reading Reviewer located at www.marygramlich.com

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Only Julia Quinn can start a book off with a son cleaning his fathers puke and make it GOLD!!!

    I am thoroughly smitten with ALL of Julia Quinn's novels. This particular one was full of that fun,quirky and romantic style that is Quinn and I loved this book.

    It starts off, like I said, with Harry Valentine digressing on the short comings of his childhood and family. He gives accounts of various instances including anecdote about his DRUNK of a father, his uncommon fluency in all things Russian (thanks to his Grand-mere) and the morbid humor of knowing exactly how many times he cleaned up his father's 'sick'. Decided in an instant, after the commencement of his final term at school before college (in oxford), Harry takes his neglectful mothers advice and joins his cousin Sebastian in buying a commission and heading off to war. After a while, Harry begins to work for the war office, translating Russian text into English. There is a rumor started that he murdered his fiancee (which isn't true), and after moving in next door to the Bevelstokes, he becomes not only the topic of discussion in every drawing room in the neighborhood, but the object of some innocent surveillance by the daughter of the family , Olivia.
    They meet face-to-face at a ball, and after some embarrassing innuendos of peeping tom's, both Olivia and Harry become rather 'put-off' by each other. Harry would of just left Olivia alone after that (despite the fact that he found her very alluring), but she was currently being courted by a Russian Prince with a questionable history who was being investigated by the war office; so because of Harry's proficiency in the culture and language, he is 'forced' to follow her around and see if she is connected as well while keeping tabs on the Prince.
    This is a romance book, so obviously, during this incognito surveillance and spying, Harry finds himself smitten with Olivia as much as she is with him. He quickly determines she is not involved but now he must focus on the mission of figuring out the mysterious exiled Prince. After some nail-biting moments involving guns, abductions and abandoned music room dalliances, The story concludes with a very sweet and romantic ending.

    My favorite part in the book: Is during one of the undercover missions, where Harry pays a call on Olivia to 'return a book' and their visit is interrupted by none other than the Russian Prince. He joins them in the drawing room and then during the conversation Olivia asks the prince to say something in Russian for her. He says something and then when asked what he said, he translates it as "Only that you are more beautiful than the oceans,sky, and fog". But Harry, knowing Russian too (though that detail isn't known by anyone for fear it may compromise the mission), knows that what the Prince really said was "Iam going to pump you until you scream'.

    morbidly humors indeed. I laughed so hard after reading that, it was so unexpected and just thrown into the scene of the two suitors viing for Olivia's attention....

    Overall, it was very well paced and exciting, with just the right amount of romance to make it a personal favorite. Even though the drama of the abduction was saved for the end and therefore did not really develop as much as it could have been, I still found the ending endearing and touching.

    READ IT!!!

    *Also check out the previous and 1st novel in the Bevelstoke series 'The secret Diaries of Miranda Cheever'
    *And also pick up your copy of 'Ten things I Love About You', Sebastian's story, in stores May 25t

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What Happens in London... What a Read

    Let me start out by saying that Julia Quinn is a master at her craft. I could not help but smile and laugh out loud continuously while reading this book.

    That being said, let me say that Harry Valentine is one heck of a man. There is something beautiful and vulnerable about him. He is not your typical bad boy or reformed rake. He is not a stereotypical male character. I loved reading his "perceptions" throughout the book.

    As for Olivia, I really found myself torn about her character. There is no doubt that she is a quirky, fun character. However, I found her irksome at times. Might just have been me.

    The book focuses around a fun, intriguing plot. For me, the end of the book (though not the actual end-end) was a bit "off". I do not want to spoil the ending, so let me just say that Olivia's response to the climactic events near the end irritated me.

    However, this has nothing to do with Quinn's style of writing. She created well-developed characters who made me laugh. I will admit that certain parts were far-fetched in their eccentricity, but it was all in the name of a good laugh.

    A must read if you are a Julia Quinn fan!

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