The Secret Diaries Of Miss Miranda Cheever Mass Market Paperback – Jun 5 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Quinn's first title since 1999 not to feature the Bridgerton clan (On the Way to the Wedding), this Regency concerns Miranda Cheever, who fell in love with the aristocratic Nigel Bevelstoke, Viscount Turner, when she was 10 and he 19. Now 20, and still in love, Miranda's designs are thwarted by the indiscretions of Nigel's late wife—heartbroken, Nigel isn't willing to risk another shot at love, even if it means hurting his close friend Miranda. Quinn's pitch-perfect humor remains intact, but her latest relies too much on romance conventions, including Miranda's scholarly but benignly neglectful father; an even more overused device involves Turner's hot-and-cold feelings toward Miranda, which reduce the heroine to tears more than once. However, the two make a lovable couple, and Miranda in particular shines, as do Turner's two siblings in strong secondary roles. Though a bit stale, this well-written, often funny and occasionally tender romance has much to enjoy. (July)
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"'reminiscent of Bridget Jones' Time Magazine" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Almost every young girl falls in love with an 'older' man, usually a friend's male cousin or brother sometimes almost a decade her senior. Miranda Cheever fits that mold but her youthful crush has far outlived its usefulness. Growing up on the lower rungs of British society she was not a commoner although there was no question that her lineage would benefit immensely from an infusion of blue blood. But instead she watches as the love of her life marries another.
When Viscount Turner suddenly becomes widowed, he turns stoic. Not missing in the least his philandering wife he directs his attention to being the head of his family, which conveniently includes Miranda, his sister's best friend. As Miranda grows into herself she becomes an attractive young woman who does not see her own good qualities.
The Viscount takes Miranda under his societal wing as she goes through the motions of attracting a suitable spouse only to find himself becoming so overly protective of her that he compromises her. Rather than inform the Viscount of his impending fatherhood, Miranda takes herself off to distant parts where she miscarries the child.
When at last Nigel (the Viscount) recognizes that his life is empty without Miranda and goes off in search of her, love takes advantage of the opportunity and a happy ending brings Miranda's secret diary entries to a satisfactory conclusion.
A thoroughly entertaining story by one of the best romance writers, this story actually rates a 3.5 but since it falls far short of the Bridgerton series I am only giving it 3 stars.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
(1) Funny moments that will make you laugh
(2) Connection between Turner and Miranda is interesting to watch in about the first half of the book
(3) I liked Olivia and Turner's mother
Key: *Semi-spoiler, **Spoiler
(1) Turner (hero) and Miranda (heroine) are not written / portrayed consistently; they seem to (often) do things that are just very out of character
(2) Depiction of Miranda's father was very flat and I know he's supposed to be the absent-minded-doesn't-really-pay-attention type of character, but these type of one-dimensional portrayals bother me
(3) Development of their relationship is very uneven and they have sex at a pretty reasonable point in the book page-wise (halfway or so), but their relationship had definitely not developed fast enough for that; only two other physical scenes before that, both kissing, and one of them doesn't count because it is before Turner is really attracted to Miranda and is done more in anger
* (4) Miranda was really spineless throughout the latter half of the novel. I think that Turner's horrible absence either needed to be kept and her reaction and anger upped or he needed to show up much, much sooner to deserve her easy acquiescence. (I mean she caves in to marrying him after 3 days when she doesn't supposedly want to? Have a backbone!)
** (5) Miranda is not even UPSET by the fact that she miscarries and regardless of the kind-of-explanation that her mother had many miscarriages also, I just found this VERY troubling - you'd think she would somehow be affected
** (6) I didn't like the progression of the book, one example being the fact that we basically skip over the first six months of Miranda's second pregnancy and are just given one of her diary entries as a substitute
** (7) I was annoyed with Miranda (if you couldn't tell, Miranda gets progressively more annoying as you read) when she finally gets her long-awaited declaration of love and she reacts negatively at first because she doesn't want him to have realized his love only because he almost lost her
(8) The ending was very, very corny and yes, I know, I'm reading a romance novel, but the whole journal-revealing moment and Turner's comments ("My God, Miranda," he breathed reverently. "You really love me, don't you?")
Save your money, buy one of Julia Quinn's other books as she has many great masterpieces to offer that will be one of those reread and keep-forever historical romances. Some suggestions include: The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman, and Romancing Mister Bridgerton - these three are amazing.
The Secret Diaries is a horribly contrived story with equally horrid writing.Permit me to quote this gem
"Miranda wasn't sure why that should be the case- an unplanned pregnancy was an unplanned pregnancy was an unplanned pregrancy" (pg 45)
WHAT the hell is THAT phrasing doing in a Regency novel? In many of Julia Quinns previous novels, she uses phrases like 'I'm kidding' that are hopelessly out of the period, but those mishaps are wonderfully ensconsed in a good book. This time I could not let it go!
Another problem with this book is that it is TOO much 'Regency Lite'. Miranda's absent father was too TOO convenient, especially after she became pregnant. The situations she and Turner got into made absolutely no logical sense. After the first couple of times he kisses/gropes her, he makes a point to avoid her since , as he puts it, girls have been RUINED for doing less. He then avoids her like a plague and breaks her heart . Makes sense. But then they meet at a house party a week later AND HAVE SEX! Huh? As I was reading the lead up to the scene, I was thinking that he couldn't possibly take her virginity and she couldn't possibly LET him. *Sigh*
Another aspect of the novel I could not fathom was the relationship between the protagonists. Unrequited love can be wonderful storyline if executed properly. This one wasn't.The prologue, in my opinon was the most awful way to start any romance novel. A 10 year old falling in love with a man, and loving him forever since. Gah! Her journal entries amplify the 'Gah!' factor even more. Throughout her growing years it seems she ends every journal entry with 'I dreamt of him.'Really Miranda? I mean, did you REALLY dream of him every single night ?!?
Miranda even attended his wedding and wished it was her. At this point, her love is more and more like a overblown crush. There was nothing in in their interactions that said 'Love' to me.
Ironically, after they marry they settle in a nice routine and they finally FINALLY have seem to gain some sense, Miranda decides that she is upset because he doesn't say 'I love you.' I'm sorry but the fact that the tension is built around SAYING the words, rather than whether he loves her or not was rather silly of the author. I felt I was reading a contemporary romance with where the crux of the romance is 'gasp' , saying I love you.
I'm sorry Julia, this was not a good book.
**8/12/2007. I just read 'The Masquerade' by Brenda Joyce, and if I could downgrade this book to 1 star I would.In BJ's book, the heroine falls in love with the hero at age 10, however the end product was more fulfilling IMO**
For me, Miranda was just too young. Ms Quinn wrote herself into a corner by establishing the age as 10 years old when Miranda fell in love with Nigel. I'm sure it sounded quite fetching when thinking about it from a promotional standpoint for the book but then she was stuck. Miranda kept saying that she was not a child anymore (Was she 19 or was she 20? I could never figure it out.) and yet she seemed to always act out as a child, with the episode in the bookstore being a prime example. And she didn't even just go there once and act awful, she did it twice! Her rage didn't come across to me as righteous indignation. It seemed like she was just throwing a hissy fit. She and Turner even reverted to childish behavior many times with the "Did not", "Did so" childish type arguments. She constantly told Turner that it didn't matter if he loved her or not, yet she kept trying to make him say that he loved her and punished him in various ways when he didn't say it. From my standpoint, all examples of a girl, young emotionally as well as in age. Not a mature woman ready to truly love a man. Ms Quinn did not do Miranda any favors by having her live such a sheltered, countryfied life completely without any socially maturing experiences before this story takes place.
Turner was "tortured" for way too long and I didn't like him at all. I actually began to wonder why Miranda bothered with him. There was a huge lack of other male characters in this book. Turner needed someone to talk to so that he could verbalize his feelings and have some opportunity to see how awful he was acting. As it was, he only came across as totally self-absorbed and a man who made dreadful decisions when he was drinking too much. I knew early on I would not like him when he was such a pig about people using his given name (Nigel). I didn't think that little insight into his character served any purpose whatsoever unless Ms Quinn wanted us to see how disrespectful and selfish he was going to become.
When the scene at the hunting lodge began to unfold I just thought to myself: No, Ms Quinn, don't do this. Surely she won't do this. Good grief, she did this. It was an awful scene and totally out of character for both these people at this point in the story.
If you love all things written by Julia Quinn, go ahead and buy this book. Everyone else, think if over carefully before you spend your money on it. This is a great candidate for a library check-out or even a used book store. If I could get mine to you, you would be welcomed to it.
Quinn's prose reads/flows very well and unlike some of her more recent novels, made me laugh, a lot. The earlier part when Turner was just beginning to realize that he was attracted to Miranda is especially hilarious. Who doesn't love a romance novel that makes them laugh and then not much later makes them hurt for the characters. Another strong point of the novel was the supporting cast of Olivia and Lady Rudland. They too are loving good people (and I'd love to read a story about Olivia).
As for the heroine being too young, most historical romances have a heroine who's age is between 18 and 22ish. Since age is not usually a complaint people have, and I thought Miranda was smarter and more mature than many older characters in other books, I don't understand what the big deal was about. Another thing that seems to annoy people is that it took Turner too long to come out of his tortured state. I, however, thought his very gradual departure from it made a lot of sense and aided my liking of him because it made me believe he had actually been hurt by his Leticia, but was a good enough man to want to be happy and try again.
I borrowed this book from the library, but I will definitely go out and buy it now because it is one that I want to read over and over again--completly lovable.
From the beginning I had the feeling that Turner was a total jerk.And he didn't prove me wrong. A man doesn't take the virginity of a young lady (who is also his sister's best friend and practically a member of his family) leave without even saying goodbye, and as if that wasn't enough he doesn't contact her for SIX WEEKS!!!!!!!! After that there was nothing he could do to redeem himself in my eyes. This is a man who had been married and was almost thirty years old. UGH!!!!!! So its not like he should have been lacking experience or maturity...How self centered and selfish could he get????
I agree with another reviewer that Miranda was way too young. She was also a spineless doormat who spent the entire book as if Turner was some sort of God. I really like to see the H/H on equal footing. This story gave me the feeling that Miranda wasn't good enough. Over and over we read that she isn't pretty, doesn't fit in with the ton, she doesn't have a dowry etc. etc. It was like the author kept demeaning her again and again.
And what happened to all the secondary characters???? JQ is known for her well developed characters, whether primary or secondary. Olivia is the only one who we got to know a little and I do mean little.
I really miss Ms.Quinn's early books. This one is for sure the one to skip over. And I am really sorry to have to say this, cause I adore so many of her other novels.