The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (Bevelstoke Series #1)

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (Bevelstoke Series #1)

by Julia Quinn

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2 March 1810 . . . Today, I fell in love.

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her—until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.

But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day—while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier—and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061230837
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/26/2007
Series: Bevelstoke Series , #1
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 239,522
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Please visit her on the web at

Read an Excerpt

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

By Julia Quinn

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Julia Quinn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061230837

Chapter One

Nigel Bevelstoke, better known as Turner to all who cared to court his favor, knew a great many things.

He knew how to read Latin and Greek, and he knew how to seduce a woman in French and Italian.

He knew how to shoot a moving target while atop a moving horse, and he knew exactly how much he could drink before surrendering his dignity.

He could throw a punch or fence with a master, and he could do them both while reciting Shakespeare or Donne.

In short, he knew everything a gentleman ought to know, and, by all accounts, he'd excelled in every area.

People looked at him.

People looked up to him.

But nothing—not one second of his prominent and privileged life—had prepared him for this moment. And never had he felt the weight of watchful eyes so much as now, as he stepped forward and tossed a clump of dirt on the coffin of his wife.

I'm so sorry, people kept saying. I'm so sorry. We're so sorry.

And all the while, Turner could not help but wonder if God might smite him down, because all he could think was—

I'm not.

Ah, Leticia. He had quite a lot to thank her for.

Let's see, where to start? There was the loss of his reputation, of course. The devil only knew how many people were aware that he'd beencuckolded.


Then there was the loss of his innocence. It was difficult to recall now, but he had once given mankind the benefit of the doubt. He had, on the whole, believed the best of people—that if he treated others with honor and respect, they would do the same unto him.

And then there was the loss of his soul.

Because as he stepped back, clasping his hands stiffly behind him as he listened to the priest commit Leticia's body to the ground, he could not escape the fact that he had wished for this. He had wanted to be rid of her.

And he would not—he did not mourn her.

"Such a pity," someone behind him whispered.

Turner's jaw twitched. This was not a pity. It was a farce. And now he would spend the next year wearing black for a woman who had come to him carrying another man's child. She had bewitched him, teased him until he could think of nothing but the possession of her. She had said she loved him, and she had smiled with sweet innocence and delight when he had avowed his devotion and pledged his soul.

She had been his dream.

And then she had been his nightmare.

She'd lost that baby, the one that had prompted their marriage. The father had been some Italian count, or at least that's what she'd said. He was married, or unsuitable, or maybe both. Turner had been prepared to forgive her; everyone made mistakes, and hadn't he, too, wanted to seduce her before their wedding night?

But Leticia had not wanted his love. He didn't know what the hell she had wanted—power, perhaps, the heady rush of satisfaction when yet another man fell under her spell.

Turner wondered if she'd felt that when he'd succumbed. Or maybe it had just been relief. She'd been three months along by the time they married. She hadn't much time to spare.

And now here she was. Or rather, there she was. Turner wasn't precisely sure which locational pronoun was more accurate for a lifeless body in the ground.

Whichever. He was only sorry that she would spend her eternity in his ground, resting among the Bevelstokes of days gone by. Her stone would bear his name, and in a hundred years, someone would gaze upon the etchings in the granite and think she must have been a fine lady, and what a tragedy that she'd been taken so young.

Turner looked up at the priest. He was a youngish fellow, new to the parish and by all accounts, still convinced that he could make the world a better place.

"Ashes to ashes," the priest said, and he looked up at the man who was meant to be the bereaved widower.

Ah yes, Turner thought acerbically, that would be me.

"Dust to dust."

Behind him, someone actually sniffled.

And the priest, his blue eyes bright with that appallingly misplaced glimmer of sympathy, kept on talking—

"In the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection—"

Good God.

"—to eternal life."

The priest looked at Turner and actually flinched. Turner wondered what, exactly, he'd seen in his face. Nothing good, that much was clear.

There was a chorus of amens, and then the service was over. Everyone looked at the priest, and then everyone looked at Turner, and then everyone looked at the priest clasping Turner's hands in his own as he said, "She will be missed."

"Not," Turner bit off, "by me."

I can't believe he said that.

Miranda looked down at the words she'd just written. She was currently on page forty-two of her thirteenth journal, but this was the first time—the first time since that fateful day nine years earlier—that she had not a clue what to write. Even when her days were dull (and they frequently were), she managed to cobble together an entry.

In May of her fourteenth year—

Ate breakfast: toast, eggs, bacon.
Sense and Sensibility, authored by unknown lady.
Hid Sense and Sensibility from Father.
Ate dinner: chicken, bread, cheese.
Conjugated French verbs.
Composed letter to Grandmother.
Ate supper: beefsteak, soup, pudding.
Read more
Sense and Sensibility, author's identity still unknown.
Dreamed of him.

This was not to be confused with her entry of 12 November of the same year—

Ate breakfast: Eggs, toast, ham.
Made great show of reading Greek tragedy.
To no avail.
Spent much of the time staring out the window.
Ate lunch: fish, bread, peas.
Conjugated Latin verbs.
Composed letter to Grandmother.
Ate supper: roast, potatoes, pudding.
Brought tragedy to the table (book, not event). Father did not notice. Retired.
Dreamed of him.


Excerpted from The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn Copyright © 2007 by Julia Quinn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (Bevelstoke Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 283 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid JQ fan, I'll read anything she writes. But as several other reviewers noted, 'The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever' falls somewhat short of the first-rate romance fans have come to expect from Ms. Quinn. Like her earlier works, 'Diaries' sparkles with well-crafted wit and laugh-out-loud humour. It is an easy and enjoyable read, but one cannot help feeling (unfortunately) distanced from Quinn's characters and instead endeared to the author herself. All in all, 'The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever' is another showcase for Quinn's inherent humour and style, but if your looking for a hero you can fall in love with and a heroine you can truly root for - try her other titles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was not happy with this book. It started off as a good read but as you got into the book the characters were weak. I was disappointed because I have read all of her books and ran to the store to buy this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it. Only took about two weeks to read.
TashaDY More than 1 year ago
I have to agree that this isn't quite the earth-shattering, universe colliding romance that most Regency readers crave and it does suffer slightly in comparison to Julia Quinn's other works, but this book is quite excellent. It's not a swept off her feet romance but rather the tale of a girl who falls in love at age 10 and the path her life takes as she actually gets her fairy tale HEA. It's one of the few books I pick up to read again and again (particularly the ending which is very, very good). I'm not going to say you're going to root for the hero to win her heart (even if he already owns it, if he but knew) but you'll wind up rooting for the heroine you catch glimpses of in the short journal excerpts scattered throughout the book. Minerva herself comes off as fairly self-contained and self-sufficient. Still...I love this book! Would definitely recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always thought reviewers should add something about their literary experiences to give their reviews context. To that end I'll say that I enjoyed the Bridgerton series for the most part, have read (many times) all of Jane Austen and most of Heyer, and I'm a fan of Loretta Chase. I chose this book because of Quinn and because she won a RITA for it. I don't understand why. Throughout the whole book I waited for the heroine to realize her love was based on youthful folly. For a character who was supposed to be intelligent, she lacked any insight into her own desire to be emotionally abused by a man who had no redeeming character traits. He was entirely one dimensional. There was no chemistry between them. The 'banter' of.their conversation pushed teasing to a level of frustration that made me want to slap him and scream at her to run. This is the first review I've written. I feel that strongly about giving my opinion to readers who expect strong, intelligent heroines and big, bold heroes. You'll be disappointed here. It was torture to finish and I wish I didn't possess the trait that won't let me leave a book until I plod through to the end.
bookholiday More than 1 year ago
An exceptional book that I enjoyed reading. Would recommend
clarkws More than 1 year ago
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever is book one in the Bevelstoke Series by Julia Quinn. I was hesitant to buy this book at first because it has received a few poor reviews. But I am so glad that I decided to buy it anyway. It is a very different story from other romances by Quinn - by that I mean that the hero is basically a selfish bastard. Nigel Bevelstoke, Viscount Turner is probably the most selfish character that I have read by Quinn so far. I had a difficult time liking him through the majority of the book; however, I enjoyed the way Turner changes throughout the story. I really liked the heroine Miranda Cheever. Her unrequited love has its laugh out loud moments. Ignore the few negative reviews - this is a MUST read.
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book started well. Miranda is an engaging and fun character and there were a few hilarious moments. The writing was OK, although some Amercian phrases slipped in, which I found distracting. But somewhere around the middle the book lost its way and never quite regained it. Even so it was a fast and fun read.
Anniik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As are all of Julia Quinn's books, this one is charming and fun. Miranda is a loveable heroine, and Turner is so nasty and tortured you just have to love him. Although he is certainly attracted to her, and she loves him dearly, you can't help but feel sorry for him when he's forced to marry her - convinced that marriage is evil and that it can never make him happy. Although Quinn turns to a rather overused plot device at the end, it still made me cry and tugged at my heart, so I suppose I can forgive her for using it. This book is cute and witty, like all of her other books, and I look forward to reading more!
gogglemiss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a rather disappointing read, as the hero was very slow off the mark to realise his feelings for Miranda. I liked the secondary characters, best. Turner's matchmaking sister, Olivia and her mother.
m8lt2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the last few books by Quinn I was a bit desillusioned.... but this new one is as good as her old romances. Humor, interesting leading lord and lady, lots of romance.
Cailin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this in one day - fun read - took my mind off all the stress of Christmas.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Been there; done that. JQ must have written this one in her sleep.
mabrown2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this book. It was my first Julia Quinn novel not starring one of the Bridgerton clan and I really found it inferior in quality story-telling. The main characters weren't very consistent and also weren't that sympathetic. Also, the "diaries" that make up the title of the book (and you think would be kind of important by said title) were hardly referenced and weren't that interesting when they were. I did like that Quinn took the story in a less-obvious direction (though with an obvious conclusion) but I just didn't feel the love between these two characters. All in all, this was a let down.
AuthorMarion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For all of Julia Quinn's followers who loved the Bridgerton Family, this book might seem a let-down. I believe that's due to the totally different circumstances of the characters. 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
sarahemmm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this from reading recommendations here in LT.I nearly threw it across the room after the first page!Actually, I have finished it, and it is okay, if you like formulaic stories. But it isn't a historical novel - its a contemporary bonkbuster/romance dressed up with some historical details to allow the characters to behave in silly ways. Some witless reviewer compared it to Jane Austen! For what it is, I guess its quite well-written, but we need a new genre name for this sort of stuff, so as not to annoy people like me, who expect a historical book to at least have reasonably appropriate characterisation, not just long skirts.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
2 March 1810 . . .Today, I fell in love. At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her¿until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever. But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day¿while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier¿and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers . . . This was my first book by Julia Quinn, although she's been writing for a goodly long time. I think I saw the blurb on a website and thought it looked like fun. When a friend said she was getting it from the library I magnanimously offered to share the borrowing time with her. (I'm generous that way.)I read this book in about a day and really liked it. It was fun and witty and, well... fun. If I was trying to write a cover quote for it, I'd come up with something like "light-hearted and sparkling". This is not a deep and difficult book, but it is peopled by engaging characters and I was cheering for their happy ending.Miranda is a fun heroine. She isn't what is considered beautiful and she knows it - and while Turner finds her beautiful, he also acknowledges she's not conventionally beautiful, which was nice and real. Often, it seems to me that once the hero decides he finds the heroine beautiful, he insists that she is totally and absolutely so and anyone who doesn't agree is wrong. I like it much better that characters can find the beauty in each other and acknowledge the absolute truth of that for them, but still know that society in general may not agree with them.Miranda's friend Olivia (who is also Turner's younger sister) is conventionally beautiful and has the admirers and reputation that go with that, but she too is a real character, and she knows Miranda's true worth - the scene where she confronts Turner over his actions is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.I found Turner to be a less well developed character than Miranda, which I found interesting as in my, admittedly limited, experience of romance novels it is often the other way around. He's a solid, decent guy who doesn't let himself look beyound his bitter experience with his recently-deceased wife, much to his detriment. But he does do his best and works well together with Miranda.Neither Miranda nor Turner is ever really stupid, which is a plus for both of them. Any stupidities they show are minor. And as annoying as it was for Miranda, I really liked the way Turner progressed to knowing he was in love with her as that felt appropriate. As the reader I might have figured out early on that he loved her, but he wasn't in a place to be able to figure it out himself.I really did enjoy this book. It was light and entertaining and just the break I was wanting at the point I picked it up. I don't think I could live on a diet of books like it, but I know I'll enjoy slipping one into the menu on a regular basis. I'll be reading more Julia Quinn.
SeriouslySaoirse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book I am currently consuming at record speed. Quinn uses wonderful words and engaging language to make this book a well-crafted read. Although the characters are a bit typical (ruined and jaded man with a penchant for drinking, virginal girl entering the ton who idolizes the memory of the main man and awkwardly tries to sort out her feelings and navigate her first season), they are so well described that they entice you into their world for at least a little while.As long as Quinn doesn't do something utterly dreadful to the pacing, characters or the emotional resolution during the book's last third I will gladly give the book a resounding 5 stars. A delightful read!
lina_em on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
funny. i just wish the guy wasn't so adamant about not loving again.
CathyLeming on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Delightful! Julia Quinn's best. Vintage! And I said vintage even before I knew she'd written this before the Bridgerton's. I LOVED this story.
Ferl More than 1 year ago
Love this book this one turned me into a fan of the writer. After it I had to read the whole Brigerton Family Series. But this is my favorite one that I reread often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great read! I cried I laughed, there was just so much emotion. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like Quinn but I hate this book. Both the characters are annoying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book to read!