Mr. Cavendish, I Presume
by Julia Quinn, historical (2008)
Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-087611-1
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume has a plot that is running concurrently with that of The Lost Duke Of Wyndham, so that means that there will be many things in this story that will be familiar to readers who have read the previous book. Is there a reason to read this book, then? Well, if you are interested in seeing how things go through the eyes of Thomas Cavendish, the displaced Duke of Wyndham, and his fiancée Amelia Willoughby, then this is the book for you. Unfortunately, both characters are so bland, it is as if the author had written this book just to tell folks that they shouldn't have bothered.
Oh yes, the story. We have the Duke of Wyndham, Thomas Cavendish, who is as snotty as a Duke can be. He is engaged to marry Amelia, an arrangement that had been done a long time ago when Amelia was still a baby, but he's content to let the whole engagement drag for as long as possible because... well, he doesn't really give Amelia much thought. Eventually, his older cousin shows up - a cousin that nobody knows about until then - and Thomas realizes that he's no longer the Duke. By then, he has somehow fallen for Amelia. Will she want him back?
Of course she does. That's one problem with this story: Amelia is such a bland one-dimensional heroine who is somehow steadily infatuated with Thomas despite the fact that he doesn't think much of her and takes her for granted pretty much all the time. I never get this impression that she will actually dump that guy. I don't know why she likes that guy. All I know is that she loves it when he forces those kisses on her - muah, muah, muah. Her "attraction" to him feels more like lust than love. I also don't know why Thomas likes Amelia. He's right at first - she is bland, especially when she shares a scene with Grace Eversleigh, who is a far more well-drawn and interesting character. Thomas and Amelia are one-note characters. He's snotty and she's... well, she's there, I supposed.
The author tries to focus on Thomas's character development in the later chapters. After all, when a man loses his title, I guess he deserves the chance to brood and whine. Oh, and to hit on his fiancée's good friend because he thinks that if he can't have Amelia (not that he has asked Amelia first whether she wants him still, of course), he'd have Grace. The thing is, up to that point, I don't think much of Thomas as he's a boring boor and I have no idea why he and Amelia would want anything to do with each other. Therefore, there is a disconnection between me and the author. In those chapters, she wants me to understand Thomas's angst and feel sorry for him. However, I'm actually feeling pleased to see that boor getting humbled by losing his title and I actually want to see him get crushed even more. I want to see him realize that the world doesn't revolve around him. And yet, this story actually justifies his belief that everything is about him. He gets to wallow to his heart's content, whine and mope, and Amelia is still there for him when he finally decides to marry him. The whole story is really about him. And he's such a boor, so I'm not exactly going, "Yay, Tommy! Good for ya!" at the last page.
Anyway, I've never imagined that I would find a book by this author to be dull, but dull is exactly what Mr. Cavendish, I Presume turns out to be. The characters are either too bland for words (Amelia) or boring and snotty (Thomas), the plot revolves too much around the whims and whines of that boor, and as a result, I find myself not caring one bit about the characters or their happy ending.
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