Lady Olivia Bevelstoke doubts that her new neighbor really killed his fiancée, despite the rumors he’s a cold-blooded killer. But a lady can never be too careful, and a little surveillance seems to be in order, if only to assuage Olivia’s formidable curiosity. While she conducts a stakeout of Sir Harry’s residence from her bedroom window, bestselling author Julia Quinn entertains her readers with a charming story of courtship between two mischievous lovers.
What Happens in London is an excess of flirting and gossip according to Quinn, a writer of historical romances and resident of the Pacific Northwest. This novel begins with some background information on Sir Harry Valentine, a translator of documents related to national security for the British War Office. Together with his cousin Sebastian Grey, he joined the army, eager to put some distance between himself and his dysfunctional family. Edward Valentine, Harry’s younger brother, appears to be following in his father’s footsteps by getting himself into heaps of trouble—debts, drunkenness and unsuitable women. This puts Harry in the position of having to be the responsible one, the one who doesn’t make mistakes of the female persuasion.
Sir Harry doesn’t normally do espionage, but when the Russian Prince Alexei Ivanovich Gomarovsky arrives, Sir Harry’s command of the Russian language and his position in society make him the ideal candidate for keeping an eye on a man whose father was a supporter of Napoleon. To complicate matters, the playboy prince has a thing for the attractive blonde Lady Olivia, so she becomes part of Harry’s assignment to stay as close as possible to the prince and monitor his conversations.
Sebastian Grey, Harry’s close cousin, is in line for a possible earldom, making it convenient for Harry to tag along on any social functions. Seb is devastatingly handsome, socially confident, and eager to take on a new adventure. He has no trouble inserting himself into Prince Alexei’s company. Because all of the ladies love Seb, he is invited everywhere, and he is the one person Harry trusts absolutely and completely. Seb’s intervention makes it possible for Harry to spy on Alexei without arousing suspicion.
Meanwhile, Harry discovers that observing the lovely Lady Olivia is becoming less of a chore; he is falling in love with her himself, which means he views the prince not only as a possible threat to England, but also as a romantic rival. Far from being an annoying debutante, Lady Olivia is clever and intelligent, and she has a dazzling smile which makes her irresistible to Alexei. It doesn’t prove easy for her to avoid the prince’s advances, and it’s up to Harry to make sure she’s safe from the womanizing Russian and his overeager bodyguard.
Julia Quinn’s novels have been translated into thirteen foreign languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2007, On the Way to the Wedding won the Romance Writers RITA Award. Her sense of humor, coupled with a talent for crisp, witty dialogue, makes hers one of the boldest voices in Regency romance. This book is an enjoyable, light-hearted read with quirky characters that are sure to make you smile.