Splendid (Blydon Family Saga Series #1)

Splendid (Blydon Family Saga Series #1)

by Julia Quinn

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Based on the phenomenal growth of Quinn's popularity, and her four-week stint on the New York Times bestseller list with Romancing Mr Bridgerton, it's the perfect time to revisit Ms Quinn's ′splendid′ storytelling.

American heiress Emma Dunster has always been fun-loving and independent with no wish to settle into marriage. She plans to enjoy her Season in London in more unconventional ways than husband-hunting. But this time Emma's high-jinks lead her into dangerous temptation...

Alexander Ridgely, the Duke of Ashbourne, is a notorious rake who carefully avoids the risk of love...until he plants one reckless kiss on the sensuous lips of this high-spirited innocent...and condemns himself to delicious torment. Little does he know that his passion has touched the very soul of the lovely enchantress...and committed them both to a lifetime of splendid ecstasy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380780747
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/26/2003
Series: Blydon Family Saga Series , #1
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 124,958
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(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 www.juliaquinn.com.

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

London, England

April 1816

"You realize, of course, that there win be hell to pay if my mother catches us." Arabella Blydon looked over her costume with a skeptical eye. She and Emma had borrowed frocks from their maids -- much to their maids′ dismay -- and were presently creeping down the back stairs of Belle′s London house.

"There will be a lot more hell to pay if she catches you swearing," Emma commented wryly.

"I really don′t care. If I have to supervise one more flower arrangement for your party, I′m going to scream."

"I hardly, think a scream would be appropriate when we′re meant to be sneaking down the stairs."

"Oh, hush," Belle muttered ungraciously, tiptoeing her way down another step.

Emma surveyed her surroundings as she followed her cousin. The back staircase was certainly a change from the one she and Belle usually used in the main hall, which curved gracefully and was cushioned with luxurious carpets from Persia. In contrast, the polished wooden steps of the back stairs were narrow, and the walls were whitewashed and unadorned. The quiet simplicity of the stairwell reminded Emma of her home in Boston, which was not decorated in the opulent London style. The Blydon mansion, located in fashionable Grosvenor Square, had been in their family for over a century and was filled with both priceless heirlooms and exceedingly bad portraits of the Blydons of yesteryear. Emma glanced back up at the plain walls and sighed softy as she fought back a pang of homesickness for her father.

"I cannot believe I′m creeping around my home like a burglar to avoid my mother," Belle grumbled as she reached the bottom of the first flight of stairs and rounded the corner to begin the second. "Frankly, I′d rather curl up in my room with a good book, but she′s sure to find me there and make me go over the menu again."

"A fate worse than death," Emma murmured.

Belle looked at her sharply. "I′ll have you know that I′ve gone over that blasted menu with her countless times. If she corners me one more time with questions about salmon mousse or roast duck A l′orange, I really don′t think I can be held responsible for my actions."

"Contemplating matricide?"

Belle shot her a wry look but didn′t reply as she daintily moved down the stairs. "Watch out for this step, Emma," she whispered, hugging the wall. "It creaks in the middle."

Emma swiftly followed her cousin′s advice. "I take it you sneak down these stairs often?"

"I used to. It′s quite handy to know how to get around this place without anyone knowing what you′re up to. I just usually don′t go around dressed like my maid."

"Well, it wouldn′t do to wear silks if we′re going to help Cook get all the food prepared for tonight."

Belle looked dubious. "Frankly, I don′t think she′s going to appreciate our help. She′s quite traditional and doesn′t really think it′s proper for the family to be belowstairs." With that, she flung open the door to the kitchen. "Hello, everyone. We′re here to help!"

Everyone looked absolutely horrified.

Emma quickly tried to remedy the situation. "You could use two extra pairs of hands, couldn′t you?" She turned to Cook and flashed her a wide smile.

Cook threw up her arms and shrieked, sending clouds of flour billowing through the air. "What in God′s name are you two doing down here?"

One of the kitchen maids stopped kneading dough for a moment and ventured a question. "Pardon me, miladies, but why are you dressed like that?"

"I don′t think the two of you ought to be in my kitchen," Cook continued, placing her hands on her formidable hips. "You′ll get in the way." When neither of the two young ladies showed any inclination of leaving, Cook clenched her teeth and started waving a wooden spoon at them. "In case you hadn′t noticed, we have a lot of extra work to do down here. Now off with you before I call the countess."

Belle quaked at the mention of her mother. "Please let us stay, Cook." She was fairly sure that Cook had a proper name, but everyone had called her that for so long that nobody actually remembered what it was. "We promise not to get in the way. We′ll be a great help to you, I′m sure. And we′ll be quiet, too."

"It just isn′t right having you down here. Don′t you two have anything better to do than play at being kitchen maids?"

"Not really," Belle answered truthfully.

Emma smiled to herself, silently agreeing with her cousin. She and Belle had gotten into nonstop mischief since they had arrived three weeks earlier. It wasn′t that she′d meant to get into trouble. It was just that there seemed so little to do in London. Back home she kept busy with her work for Dunster Shipping. But in London, bookkeeping was not deemed an appropriate pastime for women, and it seemed that proper young English ladies had no other duties besides getting fitted for gowns and learning how to dance.

Emma was bored beyond belief.

Splendid. Copyright © by Julia Quinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

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Splendid 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 164 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing.... I cant put down this book even for a minute. I laughed a lot (it's very very funny) and I couldnt help to fall in love with Emma and Alex. You gotta have to buy this book (and also the sequence: Dancing at Midnight and Minx) Trust me, once you hook up with 1 JQ book, you will want to read ALL of her books ^-^
Historical_Romance_Junkie More than 1 year ago
This book was absoloutely heart warming! I loved ALMOST every second of it. The characters grew on me after a while, and by the end of the book, i was absoloutely smitten and almost spoiled the next book of the series (dancing at midnight) with my hope that Emma and Alex would make an apperance! I began reading Dancing at Midnight, and read ms.Quinns letter to the reader. After finding out that I had the books completely out of order, I went straight to Splendid. Though the first chapter didn't immediately take me for a whirlwind, Julia Quinn wastes no time adding conflict to the story with a chapter 2 &3 that will have you going "OMG!!!!". I believe the character development staled a bit as the "swooning" period was under way. cleverly by passing the two months in which Emma and Alex become "close friends". the delay in their love developing left me a bit impatient, but was well made up for once a certain 'special' proposal took place =D. I did feel the ending conflict (with Belle,who's story continues in the next book) was a bit contrived and I disliked how Quinn went about playing the last few sequences out,but overall, I was splendidly enamored with this book from beginning to end. and the epilogue was wonderful as well! .... This is definitely a good book to take you away from yourself for a few hours and make you feel for the characters. Did i mention how much i loved chapter 2&3?? wonderful sequence that just clicked and resonated somewhere with me. STRONG&BRAVE LITTLE CHITS FOR LIFE!!!! (my favorite type of heroine)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very fun read, most readers will enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an avid historical romance reader for over 20 years now (since my high school days and back when the covers of these books were rather racey and open to alot of teasing by guys!). I stopped reading for a few years as everything seemed the same and I got burnt out on the same plot lines. Fortunately, I started reading again this year and some new authors are great and the covers are much more tame - you can take them in public without scorn! I am a first time reader to Julia Quinn and the book 'Splendid'. Apparently this is one of the first books she ever wrote. She notes in her forward that she would go back and make things much different years later as a professional writer but, of course she would and could not tamper with her first piece. It stands as it is and a good one at that. Most authors would be proud to do a book like this the first time around. It's a simple book but, simply splendid too. I agree with one reviewer that Alex - the hero - was a bit fast in declaring his infatuation with Emma so quickly - only pages into the story. Luckily, things slow to a more realistic pace as their interest and attraction and eventual relationship develops. They are solid characters and the plot line moves along well. I would recommend this book to others and will buy some more Julia Quinns to see how she has developed over the years -I expect she's done well. Enjoy!
Anonymous 3 days ago
A handsome Duke falls hopelessly in love with an American who breaks all the rules.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In most romances, the less than ordinary heroine usually turns into a ninny. I like Emma because she admits it but somehows gathers her wits to stay true to herself during her ninny-ness.
RogueBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a frothy little romp, a light and entertaining read, but by no means Quinn's finest work. The fact that it is a debut novel shows: there is an airy enthusiasm to the work, but it is unpolished. Still, Alex and Emma are compelling enough to make a reader interested in their story, even if their characters are not as developed as in her later novels.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An unusual, spirited redheaded American heiress, Emma, takes the London season by storm, including the handsome bachelor duke, Alexander Ridgley. The snare in their love is him considering her a gold digger, even though she¿s an heiress. The characters are witty, but not nearly as fun as the Bridgerton books¿
Anniik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I hadn't read a lot of Julia Quinn before I got this book, I might not be tempted to read anymore. In her defense, this is her first book, and it's quite obvious she hasn't come into her voice yet. The book is disorganized, filled with anachronism, and undeniably silly in places. Emma is the quintessential Mary Sue - with the red hair and violet eyes to prove it. However, being such a fan of Julia Quinn's, I can't make myself give it less than two stars, if only because of the pleasure I got from comparing it to her later works, and discovering how very far she has come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good
RAW1 More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite stories I have read that Julia Quinn has wrote
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regencyromantic1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Nothing fantastic but a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First time reading Julia Quinn. Liked the book. Will read more of her books.
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