I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith #4
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
Sir Richard Kenworthy needs to find a wife, and he needs to do it in less than a month. Though he hopes to find someone he can have a decent life with, Richard knows he can’t be too picky. Then he spots Iris Smythe-Smith trying to hide behind her cello at her family’s musicale and he knows he’s found the perfect woman to suit his plans. Now if only he can get her to marry him quickly without asking too many questions…
Iris Smythe-Smith is no fool. She knows Richard is hiding something, but for once she has met a man who not only sees her, he seems to actually like and understand her. Still, after a lifetime of being overlooked she doesn’t quite trust his motives. Then Richard forces them into a compromising position, and Iris has no choice but to marry him. Though she doesn’t understand his actions, Iris truly believes she has a chance at happiness with her new husband. Then Richard’s true reason for needing a wife comes to light, threatening to break their fragile bond forever…
Julia Quinn knows how to pen stories that are fun, charming, and impossible to put down. The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy isn’t quite Ms. Quinn’s usual fare, but thanks to the author’s talent, the pages of the story do fly by.
Iris Smythe-Smith is a gem. She’s a smart, quiet woman with a quick wit who generally blends into the background. You want to see her shine and get the attention such a compelling heroine should get. Simply put, Iris is easy to love. She’s no saint, but that only makes her an even better heroine and it’s impossible not to root for her to get the love she deserves. When Richard first courts her, even though you know it’s because he’s using her, the two of them are so delightful together it’s easy to be swept away by their banter.
However, some of the shine soon wears off of The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, and that’s due to the hero. All the internal flagellation in the world doesn’t make up for the fact that he locks in on Iris from the start in order to use her. The ends may justify the means in his mind, but it won’t in anyone else’s. His secret – the reason for him marrying Iris – seems pretty obvious from the start, and if this plotline hadn’t dragged on for so long, I might have liked Richard a lot more. Ms. Quinn does a good job of showing that he isn’t a bad man, but that doesn’t make him a great hero. And Iris really deserved a great hero. I’m afraid I can’t say more about Richard without spoiling the story, so suffice it to say it would have been nice had there been a bit more to him that I could have latched on to so that his negative qualities (lying and manipulation) weren’t so stark.
It’s a testament to Ms. Quinn’s skill as a writer that even though I had issues with Richard I was entertained by The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy. Ms. Quinn makes even the most serious of her books feel light on their feet and I devoured this story in one day. Even though this is the final book in the Smythe-Smith quartet, I do hope that Ms. Quinn returns to the supporting characters one day, because after the all-too-brief appearances of the comical Winston Bevelstoke and the unicorn-obsessed Frances Pleinsworth, I am desperately hoping these two get books of their own.