When Charles Wycombe, the dashing and incorrigible Earl of Billington, toppled out of a tree and landed at Ellie's feet, neither suspected that such an inauspicious meeting would lead to marriage. But Charles must find a bride before his thirtieth birthday or he'll lose his fortune. And Ellie needs a husband or her father's odious fiance will choose one for her. And so they agree to wed, even though their match appears to have been made somewhere hotter than heaven. Ellie never dreamed she'd marry a stranger, especially one with such a devastating combination of rakish charm and debonair wit. She tries to keep him at arm's length, at least until she discovers the man beneath the handsome surface. But Charles can be quite persuasive-even tender-when he puts his mind to it, and Ellie finds herself slipping under his seductive spell. And as one kiss leads to another, this unlikely pair discovers that their marriage is not so inconvenient after all... and just might lead to love.
In this sequel, the inebriated Charles Wycombe, Earl of Billington, falls from an oak tree and lands at the feet of Eleanor Lyndon, sister of Everything and the Moon's Victoria Lyndon. He needs a bride to save his inheritance, while Eleanor is only too happy for any excuse to avoid the unbearable woman soon to become her stepmother. This trite marriage-of-convenience plot is kept fresh by the bright, articulate duo and the lively humor woven into their newlywed, but unconsummated, relationship. Their coupling is hampered by curious mishaps and diverse injuries that leave Charles convinced he'll be maimed or dead before he can sire an heir, while Eleanor, ever resilient, sets out to prove she is no inept female. Quinn's staging of the pair's playful courtship after the nuptials also portrays a fine balance of compromise and reason as two spirited individuals become a committed couple. (Nov.) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Brighter Than the Sun by Julia Quinn
Eleanor Lyndon was minding her own business when Charles Wycombe, Earl of Billington, fell quite literally -- into her life.
She was walking along, whistling a happy tune and keeping her mind busy by trying to estimate the yearly profit of the East & West Sugar Company (of which she owned several shares) when to her great surprise, a man came crashing down from the sky and landed at, or to be more precise -- on her feet.
Further inspection revealed that the man in question had fallen not from the sky but from a large oak tree. Ellie, whose life had grown decidedly dull in the last year or so, would have almost preferred that he had fallen from the sky It certainly would have been more exciting than from a mere tree.
She pulled her left foot out from underneath the man's shoulder, hiked her skirts above her ankles to save them from the dirt, and crouched down. "Sir " she inquired. "Are you all right "
All he said was, "Ow."
"Oh, dear," she murmured. "You haven't broken any bones, have you "
He didn't say anything, just let out a long breath. Ellie lurched back when the fumes hit her. "Sweet heavens " she muttered, "You smell as if you've imbibed a winery."
"Whishkey," he slurred in response. "A gennleman drinks whishkey."
"Not this much whiskey," she retorted. "Only a drunk drinks this much of anything."
He sat up -- clearly with difficulty, and shook his head as if to clear it. "Exactly it," he said, waving his hand through the air, then wincing when the action made him dizzy. "I'm a bit drunk, I'm afraid."
Effie decided to refrain from further comment on that topic. "Are you certain you're not injured "
He scratched his reddish-brown hair and blinked. "My head pounds like the devil."
"I suspect that isn't only from the fall."
He tried to get up, weaved, and sat back down "You're a sharp-tongued lass."
"Yes, I know," she said with a wry smile. "It's why I'm a long-toothed spinster. Now then, I can't very well see to your injuries if I don't know what they are."