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Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just Like Heaven
Smythe-Smith Quartet #1

Julia Quinn
Historical Romance
Published in 2011

H/h - Marcus Holroyd, the Earl of Chatteris/Honoria Smythe-Smith
Setting: Cambridge/London, 1824.

Read in July, 2011.
My rating:

                                                                      [spoiler alert]

Another Julia Quinn fun read! I was a bit hesitant to start it since my experience with Ten Things I Love About You wasn’t very good but glad that finally I read it. I don’t think I have to introduce the Smythe-Smiths and their legendary musicales to anyone! And, yes, like so many other Bridgerton fans, I wanted them to have their HEA as well. I remember Honoria from Romancing Mister Bridgerton and JQ brought the incidents up here too, from Honoria and Marcus’s POV. I LOVED reading Colin, my favorite Mr. B, “he of the famous charm and sparkling green eyes” *sigh* and adorable Lady Danbury aka Lady D.

Just Like Heaven was a page turner from the first page. Marcus and Daniel, Honoria’s brother, have been best friends since 12. Marcus has also known Honoria from that time, when she was but 6 yrs old. I ADORED reading the scenes between these three as youngsters. Honoria was some drama queen for sure and Marcus had been trapped in her charming antics even then. And, it only had to have its completion, now they’ve grown up. Honoria is the youngest of six; 5 sisters and one brother. Most of her siblings are older than her by scores of years. So, she always felt a bit left out. Marcus and Daniel, being the closest in age, were her ‘buddies’... ermm, in a sense. I enjoyed reading their childhood together, too cute for words! Marcus was the only child and has never been close to his parents, who passed away quite sometimes ago. Daniel’s big family has always been his family too, for as long as he can remember. It was sad to read about his lonely childhood. The grown up Marcus is a pure gentleman, no rake, no rogue, too serious for his own good and ... yes, a bit shy. Even he admits that he’s shy, which means social whirls aren’t his game. He lives, kinda lonely, in his country estate and avoids London as much as possible. But, when 3 yrs ago, Daniel messed up with his life, fought a duel and angered an Earl, he had to leave the country for good. He asked Marcus to look after Honoria (who knew nothing about it) as she’s the only sister left to get married.

Honoria, in the meantime, is trying to get married and leave her house (which has fallen ‘too quite’ after all her siblings married and Daniel’s departure). Her mother has lost interests in things after Daniel’s debacle. Nobody talks about him. Honoria is really desperate. Trouble is, the men, who seem eager in her at first, later on just drop her. She isn’t particularly upset, just a bit curious. And, now she’s spending times with the Royels’ country house in Cambridge. She was out with the Royles’ daughter Cecily and her cousins Iris and Sarah, and was stuck in the rain when Marcus, who lives nearby, comes to her rescue. It’s been a while since they’d seen each-other so they reacquaint themselves. When the girls and Mrs. Royle plan a tea party, Honoria hatches a plan to catch one of the students of the University. A plan that needed

“...only a sunny day, a halfway acceptable sense of direction, and a shovel.”

Ehh, don’t ask! :p

But, that plan went a bit awry and resulted in Marcus’s accident. You might ask what Marcus was doing there. He was, indeed, spying on her. Marcus, in the process of ‘keeping an eye’ has kinda become obsessed with Honoria. He already liked her quite a lot but now, it’s a little more than simple ‘liking’. Honoria goes to the Royles for help since Marcus had hurt his leg and can’t move. It starts to rain as soon as she starts out and by the time Marcus was saved, he was soaking wet and shivering. The next day, Honoria and Cecily visit him in Fensmore, his estate. He’s caught cold but otherwise, Marcus seemed fine to Honoria. And, Marcus discovers he likes to be ‘fussed over’ by her as no one in his life ever fussed over him. Poor soul! Afterwards, Honoria returns to London and starts planning for the season.

A few days later, a letter arrives stating Marcus is very ill; maybe even mortally so. Honoria panics. With her reluctant mother, she sets out to see Marcus. When she arrives, Honoria finds out Marcus has fever and it’s not going away. She starts taking care of him and in the process, finds out the fever resulted not from the cold but a big gash on his leg, which has become infected. She didn’t know that this was Marcus’s valet’s ‘handiwork’ while cutting out the boot from his injured leg. Even the ancient doctor who attended him didn’t have a good look at him. So, his injury is now serious and needs immediate attention. Honoria and her mother took care of him, attending the injury and so on. I personally didn’t think the illness part took much space in the novel, but the details were a bit ... let’s just say I didn’t like reading it. Anyway, this incident gave Honoria incentives to ponder upon her feelings for Marcus, while Marcus in a lot of pain, again, found out he likes being fussed over! :p Their mutual liking for desserts/cakes/treacle tarts was too sweet for words. And, they were almost on the verge of confessing their feelings when a letter from Daniel arrives, stating he’s coming back. Apparently, ‘the problem’ has been solved. Honoria reads the letter when Marcus wasn’t around and the part of ‘keeping an eye on her’ comes out. She’s peeved by this, thinking Marcus thinks of her as a burden! Huh??? She leaves, only leaving a plain note of goodbye.

This is where I lost a bit of the interest. I thought Honoria’s taking umbrage on this was plain stupid since Marcus only worked for her good. There was nothing that indicated he thinks of her as a burden. And, this went on for the rest of the book, making the ‘misunderstanding’ part. I thought it was totally unnecessary. Afterwards, the famous musicale comes up where Honoria, Iris, Sarah and Iris’s sister Daisy were taking part. Man, they have so many siblings, it’s a chore to keep track of them! But, Sarah escapes it by being ‘ill’ and was replaced by her sisters’ beautiful governess, one Miss Anne Wynter. The musicale was, as usual, a disaster. I have no comments on this. lolz

Marcus was a bit confused to why Honoria left like that. He’s in London now to attend the musicale; not because he loves it but he’s been attending each and every one of them ever since he can remember. He likes to look at Honoria, too. Her spirit and courage makes him proud. And, also the fact that people attend a Smythe-Smith musicale because ... why, I couldn’t tell that for sure. Moving on, Marcus tries to talk to her before the musicale, which Honoria ‘politely’ rebuffs. Then after the musicale, seeing her ‘flirting’ with Colin Bridgerton was the last straw for Marcus. When she leaves the party after a word exchange with him, Marcus follows Honoria ignoring Colin’s smug smile and Lady D.’“I'm all knowing and all powerful” attitude. Then they fight again in her room, the truths about many things come out and they end up making love. Honestly, there was no sexual tension between these two, so the love scene seemed a bit hasty, forced. When Marcus was leaving, he kissed Honoria and BOOM! Daniel comes in (huh?) and starts beating him thinking Marcus’s taking advantage of Honoria. Well, afterwards ... things were sort out, they get married, Honoria is preggars in the epilogue etc etc etc.

Now, there are things I’d like to mention, such as Honoria and her cousins’ relationship. I found it extremely entertaining. I’m already interested in Iris and Sarah, guessing they’re getting their books. Now, would the quartet be all Smythe-Smith girls? Would Daniel get his book? I had a feeling about Miss Wynter... Hmmm. Then there is this thing that bugged me a bit. In one of the earliest scenes, when the girls were planning the tea party at the Royles, Neville Berbrooke’s relationship with Gregory Bridgerton (who was one of the invitees) came up as the following:
“Mr. Bridgerton’s brother’s wife’s sister is married to Mr. Berbrooke’s brother.” (Sarah)

Which means Colin is already married to Penelope and I’ve read Romancing Mister Bridgerton enough times to know that Penelope’s sister Philippa is married to Neville’s brother Nigel. But in the end, I saw Colin and Penelope aren’t yet married. In fact, they’re only on the ‘letter opener cut Colin’s hand’ part. How come? I hope I’m right about this. I couldn’t but notice it since I was comparing other Bridgerton incidents with this book.

Hmmm, anyway, I’d still give it a 4 star. It was a good read. I enjoyed it. But I still wish JQ would write more of the steamier and angsty stuff like When He Was Wicked. I need to read a hero like Michael and that book was seriously good!

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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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