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

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever - Julia Quinn I have mixed feelings about this book... in it's way, it's a charming story about Miranda, who's been in love with Turner since she was 1o years old. That was the day that Miranda realized she would never be close to the "standard" of beauty in Regency England -- cruelly brought home by Fiona, a guest at Miranda's best friend & Turner's younger sister Olivia's birthday party. Turner, being 19, realized that there was much more to Miranda than a current standard of beauty, and he told her that one day, she'd grow into herself and realize how beautiful she truly is.Fast forward to Turner burying his wife -- a woman who used & abused him, cuckolding Turner several times before and after their marriage. Turner is bitter and believes that love is nothing but a way to allow others (read: women) to control you. When he temporarily moves back to his parents' home, where Miranda is also in temporary residence, Turner is both drawn to and repelled from Miranda: she's definitely grown into her beauty, and she's definitely making it known that she's in love with him. But Turner doesn't want to be cruel and use her or dishonor her simply to escape his own pain. Nor can he seem to be away from her...This book feels different from most of the Julia Quinn books I've read thus far. Perhaps it's because it's a more recent book? So much darker -- more bitterness and regret and... pain. Neither Turner nor Miranda truly knows what he or she wants or how to have it. And just when they seem happy...So why was I torn? Miranda seemed so foolish and childish at times. Perhaps because Turner was her First Love, she just couldn't see or think straight around him. But, to me, it seemed as if she gave herself a bit too willingly to Turner, without any real commitment on his part. Sure, in parting he said something like, "Hey, if you find yourself pregnant, let me know." WooHOO - the words that every girl who just surrendered her virginity to her Dream Love wants to hear! So when he doesn't return to her right away and propose, she gets in a bit of a snit and runs away to Scotland. And then later, she can't stand it that he won't say those Three Little Words to her... and almost ruins both their lives over it.OK, OK... I truly understand what Miranda wants. And I do appreciate that she grew up during this story and that she realized that her love for Turner had to be more than that love she felt as a 10 year old. And no, Turner's not scot-free from blame, as it were... in fact, he's probably more to blame, since he knows exactly what he's doing most of the time. But he does make quite a show of pursuing her and marrying her; in fact, he makes a fool of himself for Miranda. Yes, I suppose that, deep down, she would always wonder if he married her simply for honor, but really... possession is nine-tenths of the law, and she was married to the man! She always vowed that she would heal him and make him love her... it just seemed overblown that Miranda couldn't let it be. And yes, I agree with another reviewer here. I, too, am sick-to-death of heroes who cannot confess their undying love until their love is dying. Even though we know it, why must it take such a literal life-and-death experience for those Three Little Words to be spoken and acknowledged?Perhaps I'm just not used to such a bittersweet tale from Ms. Quinn.