Really Specific Questions About JQ's Books - Julia Quinn

FAQ Category: Really Specific Questions About JQ's Books

Because sometimes you have a very particular question…

Does Queen Charlotte have a reversible cover?

Queen Charlotte has what very well might be the world’s first reversible book jacket!

All US and UK hardcovers feature a reversible book jacket with a bonus cover on the other side — a show cover on one side and a bonus on the other. Just flip it over to decide which one you want.

I am in love with both covers!


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View my Today Show visit where I first revealed this gorgeous 2-for-1 cover.


Will you write stories about Harriet, Elizabeth, and Frances Pleinsworth?

I get asked this question all the time. There is a Short Answer and a Long Answer. The Short Answer is: “No.” The Long Answer explains why.

Readers first hear about the younger Pleinsworth girls in It’s in His Kiss, when Gareth and Hyacinth attend the Pleinsworth poetry reading. I was trying to make the event as ridiculous as possible, so at the last minute our hosts decided to instead perform an original play called The Shepherd, the Unicorn, and Henry VIII. Written, of course, by Harriet Pleinsworth, a 16-year-old with a gloriously fantastic imagination.

Fast-forward several years to when I was writing the second book of the Smythe-Smith Quartet. The heroine of A Night Like This was a governess, and Harriet, Elizabeth, and Frances Pleinsworth were her students. And they managed to steal every scene they were in.

And then finally, in The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, I brought back those Smythe-Smith events from the first half of It’s in His Kiss (and even make mention of both Hyacinth and Gareth — for more on this connection please see my Author’s Notes). The scene with The Shepherd, the Unicorn, and Henry VIII was finally staged in all its glory, and was, to quote myself: “by far the most fun scene to write in the book.” Honestly, it was one of the most fun scenes I’ve ever written, period.

I am sure readers can feel my love for Harriet, Elizabeth, and Frances just as they are. Which brings me to the Long Answer to why I won’t be writing stories for them: I love them too much as children to “grow them up” for romances of their own.

P.S. Daisy Smythe-Smith (Iris’s younger sister) also won’t be getting a story. But in her case it’s because she has no sense of humor. How do you write a book about someone with no sense of humor?

Why do all your characters take tea the same way?

“Milk, no sugar.”

JQ: Yes, there is a reason almost all my characters take their tea this way, but my reason for this is far more mundane — in my opinion, anyway — than the numerous ways readers have asked me about it. For instance:

“Why do all your male characters take their tea with milk and no sugar?”

JQ: It’s not just all the male characters. It’s ALL the characters. Except Hyacinth. She takes hers with lots of sugar. Why? I couldn’t tell you except that when I was writing her tea scene it just seemed obvious.

“Is ‘milk, no sugar’ the most popular way the members of the ton took their tea, and if so, can you share your research for this?”

JQ: I don’t think there was a most popular way. I think people just took it the way they liked it.

“Was declining sugar for tea your way to show that your heroes weren’t foppish?”

JQ: Nope.


The reason is simple. My characters take their tea the way I take my tea.

Coffee, however… coffee needs sugar.

What is “A Strange Fascination”?

From the original My Weekly publication.

“A Strange Fascination” is a very short story I wrote in 2014 for the Scottish magazine My Weekly. Very few readers outside of Scotland ever saw it, though, so I dusted it off and gave it to my bestie Stefanie Sloane to include as a freebie with her Costswolds Christmas novella “Under the Mistletoe.”


Is Thomas Harcourt Dead?

Warning: Here Be Spoilers.

No, really. Spoilers. Stop here if you haven’t read The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband.


He’s dead. Really. At least that was my full intention when I wrote TGWTMBH. (No fun acronyms here.) He was dead when plotted the book, and he was dead when I wrote it. And if I hadn’t meant for him to stay dead I would never have named him Thomas. (I don’t repeat hero names, and I do have a soft spot for Thomas Cavendish.) But…

I hadn’t anticipated how much readers would take to him. After all, he exists only the in brief snippets of the letters he writes to his sister. Also, I wrote those snippets after the book was almost completely finished, so to me he didn’t feel quite as integral to the story as he did for everyone else. (You felt his presence throughout the entire reading experience, whereas I got to know him only at the very end of the writing experience.)

But now I’m hearing from readers who tell me they are sure he’s still alive. After all, no one found a body. (This is where I gently point out that no one looked; it was a war zone and too dangerous.) I could tell you that I know where the body is buried. Because I do; I did a ton of research on the area, and I actually grew up close by. But if you didn’t believe that he was dead in the book, I don’t think anything I say here would convince you.

So is he dead? Well, I think so. I mean, he is unless I think of a semi-plausible reason he’s not. Which I haven’t.


In Minx (published 1996), William Dunford falls in love with Henrietta Barrett and marries her, but in How To Marry A Marquis (published 1999) he’s a bachelor again. What gives?

Even though How To Marry A Marquis was written and published after Minx, it’s actually set earlier. Minx takes place 1816/7, and How To Marry A Marquis takes place in 1815. As I was writing How To Marry A Marquis, I needed a dashing, handsome bachelor for one of the scenes. When it occurred to me that Dunford was still single, I thought to myself, “Why not?” It was a lot of fun to revisit him.

The books and the shows come together here.