Quinn, Julia. Mr. Cavendish, I Presume. (New York: Avon, 2008). ISBN – 9780060876111.
Main Characters: Thomas Cavendish (the former Seventh Duke of Wyndham and future Earl of Crowland) and Lady Amelia Willoughby
Related Works: This is part of a two part series about the Dukes of Wyndham. The first book in the series is The Lost Duke of Wyndham– Jack Cavendish-Audley and Grace Eversleigh’s story. The second book is Mr. Cavendish, I Presume – about Thomas Cavendish and Amelia Willoughby.
Description from book:
There went the bride . . .
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting. . . for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all. . .
It’s true. He doesn’t. Thomas rather likes having a fiancee – all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay – and he does intend to marry her. . . eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas’s world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he’s not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love . . . with his own fiancee.
I have to start by saying that I am a HUGE Julia Quinn fan. As with all of her books, I read The Lost Duke of Wyndham as soon as it was released – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I didn’t obsessively love it the way I do so many of Quinn’s earlier books (The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, When He Was Wicked and It’s In His Kiss are among my all time favorite books). I didn’t really become too emotionally invested in the characters of Jack or Grace. I liked them quite a bit, but I didn’t bond with them. With this in mind, I wasn’t quite sure of what my reaction to Mr. Cavendish, I Presume would be. After all, the two stories detail the same plot – only from different vantage points. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I liked Thomas. We didn’t really get to know him all that well in The Lost Duke of Wyndham.
Well, can I tell you that I was so emotionally caught up in Thomas and Amelia’s story that I cried my eyes during most of the second half of the book? As I mentioned, I wasn’t sure about Thomas when I started reading this book. He seemed arrogant, standoffish, gruff and unapproachable for most of the first book (except for when he stood up for Grace against his grandmother). But here, he comes across as so much more than just the arrogant duke. Here, he is a man who has been born and bred to be a duke – and his dedication to his responsibilities is so infallible that he believes the truth about the line of succession is more important than his own station. That isn’t to say that he is ok with giving up his dukedom. His struggle with the probability that his cousin is the true duke is rather intense – and I think this is what made me cry.
And, of course, added to all of this is his conviction that if he is not the true duke, he must give up the right to marry Amelia. It is interesting that had Jack robbed his grandmother at any time in the past, Thomas would probably not have cared much about loss. However, on the night of robbery, Amelia had refused Thomas’ request to dance. This was when he noticed her as a person rather than just as the-woman-he-had-known-he-would-marry-forever. He woke up, as it were, just as the rest of his life was about to be torn apart.
All in all, I loved this book – although I may never forgive Julia Quinn for making me cry. And, I may not be able to read it again for a long time. Reading this book somewhat reminded me of watching Revenge of the Sith (ok, really all three of the Star Wars prequels). Before watching any of the three prequels, it was a known fact that Anakin Skywalker would become Darth Vader. I had to watch these movies because I needed to see the transformation – learn how Anakin came to choose the Dark Side. I remember sitting in the theater watching Revenge of the Sith thinking that the movie was too painful for me to ever watch again (and so far, I haven’t seen this movie a second time). This is how I felt much of the time reading Mr. Cavendish, I Presume. I had already read The Lost Duke of Wyndham and knew that Thomas would indeed lose his title. Fortunately, this being a romance novel, I was also fairly certain that things with Amelia would turn out in a positive manner. Yet, I couldn’t help but cry for Thomas. I wasn’t terribly upset over his loss of the dukedom in The Lost Duke of Wyndham, so I was surprised at how sad it made me feel here. Thank goodness that there is a bit of twist at the end of the story. Thomas was an excellent duke, and I think it critical to his character that he does indeed get a title. It would have been a serious waste if that hadn’t happened.
Read first October 1, 2008