Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1) by Julia Quinn
Published: May 31, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 232
Received: gifted by BFF Aislynn

Honoria Smythe-Smith, the youngest daughter of the eldest son of the Earl of Winstead, plays the violin in the annual musicale performed by the Smythe-Smith quartet. She's well aware that they are dreadful but she's the sort who figures that nothing good will come of being mortified, so she puts on a good show and laughs about it.

Marcus Holroyd is the best friend of Honoria's brother Daniel, who lives in exile. Marcus has promised to watch out for Honoria, but he faces a challenge when she sets off for Cambridge determined to marry by the end of the season. She's got her eye on the only unmarried Bridgerton, who's a bit wet behind the ears. When her advances are spurned, can Marcus swoop in and steal her heart in time for the musicale?

I do love a good historical romance and this first venture into one of Julia Quinn's books was wonderful. The reason I actually picked up a Julia Quinn novel is that my BFF, Aislynn, is hosting a year long Julia Quinn Reading Challenge and she has always told me how amazing Ms. Quinn's books were. It was the perfect chance to try a new author.

The story of Honoria and Marcus is quite amusing. They have known each other since childhood and though Marcus is still on the market, Honoria doesn't look at him in that way. He's more like a brother to her than a possible love interest. Marcus, always the dutiful friend, has taken on role of protector at Daniel's request - though Honoria has no idea. She hasn't been able to figure out why her suitors seem to lose interest leaving her going into another season without even an offer of marriage.

In a chance meeting in Cambridge, Marcus rescues Honoria from being soaked in a rain storm. They connect again in a flirty fun little meeting, yet neither really connects it as more than catching up with an old friend. I love this kind of love story - where they feel a connection, but think it's still that friendship lingering and feel as though they could never look at each other as something more. It's the sweetest kind of love story. 

Honoria is at a point where she is beginning to feel desperate to make a match and creates a little diversion to get the attention of a Bridgerton boy, but it backfires and Marcus ends up getting hurt. Honoria, feeling duty to make him well again, goes to his home with her mother as chaperone and tends to an ill Marcus. She feels that since he has no family and it is her fault for the mishap that she must nurse him back to health as a sister would. This is where the magic happens - they each slowly start to fall in love with the other and really see each other for who they are. Stubbornness is the only thing standing in their way. 

Just Like Heaven was a quick, fun read. And the cover is just beautiful - the red shoe is significant and I loved that it's the center of attention. You will fall in love with Honoria - she is a sweet, caring character filled with family values and determination. And Marcus is the perfect gentleman - shy and brooding.  Just Like Heaven is a perfectly sweet love story to end the summer.

I look forward to reading more by Julia Quinn, perhaps even the next in this series - A Night Like This.

Sign ups still open!

About the author:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don't read (or write) romance, and in 2001 she did so in grand style, competing on the the game show The Weakest Link and walking away with the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code.

Ms. Quinn's books have been translated into 22 languages, and she has been profiled in USA Today and TIME Magazine. More recently, her novel What Happens in London was selected by the American Library Association for a RUSA Award, honoring the best in genre fiction.

In 2010, Ms. Quinn won her third RITA award in four years and became the youngest member of Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame.

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