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Just Like Heaven Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Honoria Smythe-Smith is:A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) not in love with her older brother's best friend
D) all of the above
Marcus Holroyd is:A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) all of the above
Together they:A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever and the world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love
It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is . . .
D) all of the above
About the Author
With tens of millions of copies in print, #1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn has been called “Smart, funny,” by TIME Magazine. Her novels have been translated into 35 languages and are beloved the world over. A graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, she lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.
Look for Bridgerton, based on her popular series of novels about the Bridgerton family, on Netflix.
- Publisher : Avon; Original edition (May 31, 2011)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006149190X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061491900
- Item Weight : 6.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.96 x 6.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat relieved that I ended up enjoying it. I liked the simplicity of the book and the hero and heroine are very likable; one thing I love about Julia Quinn books is that her heroines are always women whom I think would be nice to have as friends. However the lack of any real spark made it not much of a keeper for me. When I really love a romance, I end the book with a ridiculously stupid grin on my face that doesn't go away for hours; here, that didn't happen.
It did have some strong aspects, while also missing those that we - or at least I - often bemoan in romance book:
— There was no contrived subplot - mystery, mass-murdering or otherwise
— There is not instant lust; they've known each other since childhood and have considered one another practical brother and sister
— There are no love interests thrown in for the sole purpose of dragging the plot out and making you squirm in your seat - or couch or bed - and there were no hated Big Misunderstandings
— The book was really focused on the two main characters, Honoria and Marcus
— One really gets the sense that they would make a lovely couple and have a lot of what the other needs
So why the 3 stars? I was actually torn between 3 and 3.5, but either way I think this book may have suffered having been read a day after I finished two absolutely great HRs that I gave 4.5 and 5 stars. It was a perfect light, simple, fun romance read and sometimes that is what you need. Quinn delivers on the dialogue and back and forth repartee, just as she used to so wonderfully in the Bridgerton books.
I also thought Marcus was a wonderful hero. Most romance heroes are rakes or rogues of some sort, but Marcus is actually a quiet, shy, serious (but not stuffy) sort of man. We're told that people often consider him formidable and imposing, but we're not ever really shown this, since we mostly see the softer side that he shows to Honoria. I loved that what he longed for was a family and someone to love who would love him in return. One of the things that draws him most to Honoria is her loving, carefree manner and the value she places on others, on family, and on tradition. In this sense, the story was truly lovely and Marcus's wonder in the Epilogue at the family he has begun to form is touching and sweet.
My main criticisms that kept it from receiving a higher rating are the following:
(1) Marcus gets deathly ill and Honoria rushes with her mother to his bedside to nurse him. This part seemed to really drag on and the section of his illness *seems* to take up half the book. Other romances have this plot device and don't suffer from it, but here I think it dragged on too long and since Marcus is insensible for most of it, one doesn't feel that it develops their relationship much.
(2) While the part of his illness seemed dragged out, the rest seemed very, very rushed. What we enjoy is the process of them falling in love, them working their feelings out and acting them, and then the happy conclusion. This part of the story is not explored enough for me and besides for a brief little kiss when he gets better, the only other romance scene between them is at the end. Quinn's books have never been heavy on the steamy aspect, but I definitely expected more than this.
Just Like Heaven is perfect for a light, fun afternoon read and I would recommend getting it from the library, but don't read it when you're wanting a romance that packs a punch and affects you emotionally.
*This review is of an advanced copy format of the book from the Amazon Vine Program.
Honoria Smythe-Smith is one of the girls currently in the group. She hates it because she knows they’re dreadful, but she is loyal to her family and its traditions. She is enjoying her time with her friends and family before the Season starts, and keeps running to her brother’s friend Marcus Holroyd.
Marcus always thought of Honoria as his best friend Daniel’s pesky little sister, but that was many years ago. She has grown up, and Daniel has asked Marcus to keep an eye on her and frighten away any unsuitable suitors.
When Marcus injures himself due to something that Honoria did, she feels an obligation to help him recover. As she helps him recuperate, they both realize that there is something more than friendship between them.
I love nineteenth century England- from the Regency period to the Victorian era, I love it all. There’s something about the rules of courtship, the glamour of the aristocracy, and the obsession with making a good match. Honoria and Marcus are a delightful pair, and I really enjoyed how their feelings for each other developed over the course of the story. While Marcus was happy to scare away suitors, it never occurred to him that he was in love with Honoria.
I would absolutely recommend Just Like Heaven. This is the first book in a series, so it is a good place to start if you aren’t familiar with Julia Quinn’s books. I would also point out that there are some romantic scenes in the book. There’s nothing particularly graphic or explicit, but the book is definitely intended for a mature audience. I am certainly looking forward to becoming reacquainted with Julia Quinn’s books before her newest book comes out next month!
Top reviews from other countries
The first in the series revolves around Honoria, who knows how terrible their musical performances are but doesn't allow this to show because of her love for her family, and Marcus, who has become part of her family but lacks his own (save the wonderful Lady Danbury). I thought the development of their romance entirely logical and very well done both plot and timing wise, but for some reason it didn't capture me emotionally and for me, a romance novel has to do this to succeed. Who wants her first reaction to finishing a story about love to be "Yes, I could see the logic in that"? There's just no real spark here to carry you along.
The theme is the importance of family and that comes across very strongly, but having read the book I still don't feel I know Honoria particularly well outside that love for her family. I didn't think we were given much else to go on re her character and truth told, I found her dull. Marcus fared a little better - I enjoyed the insight into his mind provided when he was under the influence - but not much. I also wasn't convinced by the device used to separate the two after the initial period in which they realised they cared for each other - given what they'd already done together, I found it difficult to believe it wouldn't have been resolved quickly.
This being a series, there are what seem to be various subplots for later books introduced (Honoria's brother's bind, identity of the governess) and, because the main romance wasn't holding my entire attention, I found myself getting sidetracked into looking for clues to how those would be resolved. There are also so many other potential heroines introduced for the rest of the series (the governess again, the other three members of the quartet and Honoria's best friend) that I ended up wondering whether we'd get to see Happily Ever Afters for all of them plus Daniel. They were given so much focus that at times, the central romance seemed neglected.
One of the things I like about Quinn's writing is that she uses the universe she's created across her various series - as well as the infamous quartets and Lady Danbury, Mrs Gorely's novels have appeared in both this and the Bridgerton series in addition to the series which ultimately revealed the author's identity - and I had fun trying to work out from her subtle hints and the status of the Bridgertons mentioned where in her timeline this one fits. There are two incidents, revolving around a 'familiar looking' wallflower who likes eclairs and a letter opener injury, which give the answer in this case. The fact the latter also allows the plot of this novel to develop, by highlighting how the heroine has been affected by her experiences with the hero, demonstrates how skilled Quinn is when it comes to weaving plots together*.
There needs to be a balance between referring to existing people and events and developing your new characters and stories. Although this book forms part of a series it does need to be capable of being read on its own and I don't think Quinn has quite pulled that off here; in her previous works, she's been slightly more subtle setting up future developments (you were ultimately able to work out Lady Whistledown's identity from the hints spread across the books, for example, but there weren't so many hints that they detracted from the other stories).
I wavered between giving this book three or four stars, but having written this down I think it's a three. Not enough focus on the central romance and too much time spent setting up future potential novels to make this a truly satisfying read for me.
*Although having reread the beginning of the book since writing the review, I've realised there's actually a massive continuity error in one of the early chapters - a statement about a Berbrooke which suggests the story takes place after the timeframe which is later established.