Julia Quinn serves up a delicious Cavendish.

HarperCollins sent me an ARC of Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, by Julia Quinn, and I presume that was due to my raving about The Lost Duke of Wyndham here. Despite the fact that there are no soap actors on the cover this time, I was utterly delighted. I started it reading it at my desk at work (hey, I deserve a lunch break!) and continued tearing through it when I got home. The companion piece to The Lost Duke of Wyndham, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume is unique in that it tells almost exactly the same story from two different characters’ points of view. Honestly, that’s rather remarkable in the field of romance. I like being surprised, I like creativity. After reading the billionth retread of Duke McHottie and Lady Heaving Bosom flitting about the London ton, it’s experiments like this that revitalize the genre.

Where TLDoW told the story from Jack and Grace’s perspectives, Mr. Cavendish is wholly Thomas and Amelia’s tale. Thomas, the current Duke of Wyndham, and Lady Amelia Willoughby, have been engaged since the cradle and barely know each other. Just when they’re finally beginning to make each other’s acquaintance (with some obligatory tonsil hockey in a garden, no less!), the “rightful” Duke of Wyndham, Jack Audley, appears, throwing everything into a tailspin.

Quinn wrote the books simultaneously, and it shows in the brilliant parallel scenes that appear in both works, but I found the scenes that didn’t crossover more appealing, because they established Thomas and Amelia as characters in their own right. Jack overpowered everyone in his own novel. Here, the reader gets to see that Thomas has just as much wit, passion, and intelligence, and that Amelia is perhaps more clever than Grace. In fact, Amelia’s sharp tongue and penchant for sarcasm was a really nice surprise. Grace was a little too reserved and classy for me, which is why Jack was more memorable in their book than she was. The same can’t be said for Thomas and Amelia, who make a great match.

I know that Quinn has long been a household name in the industry, and I’m chagrined to admit that I had never read one of her books until now. (I guess we can thank As the World Turns Ewa da Cruz for forcing the introduction!) Both of these novels are entirely worth the read. I recommend going back-to-back, with the accompanying snacks and beverages of your choice.

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume hits bookstores on September 30 and retails for $7.99.

No, you can’t have my copy.

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