cover image Brighter Than the Sun

Brighter Than the Sun

Julia Quinn. Avon Books, $7.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-380-78934-4

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.)