Loving Julia
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Loving Julia

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  603 ratings  ·  44 reviews

London street urchin Jewel Combs had no future but one of whoredom and shame. Then a dying gentleman looked at her topaz eyes and still untouched innocence --- and wed her to torment his aristocratic family with a final, scandalous joke after his death.

But Sebastian, Earl of Moorland, fo...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published December 1st 1986 by Grand Central Publishing
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2.5 stars
Would have been a great read, but the characters are thoroughly mule headed, childish, and unfortunately unable to stop lying to each other. Those lies resulted in the Big Misunderstanding being used so, so many times I was basically dozing by the time the last one happened. Though I was temped to rip this book to shreds, I did stick around and finish it, so I suppose I cared enough about the characters to see what happened, and the ending was satisfying.

I think Karen Robards can write...more
Lynsey A
I read this one years ago and I recall how un-pc it is and quite the bodice ripper. The hero is craptasically awful to the heroine after one scene and I wanted to hit him but it also brings in the angsty-goodness.

Honestly, I think it was early college late high school when I last read this book but I did like it. I do plan to re-read it again soon.

The ending was great and the hero is so wonderful to Julia in the end that it almost makes up for his behavior.

These 80's heroes of Robard's are quit...more
Probably 3.5 -4 stars.

Interesting story.

Jewel Combs is a 16 year old london street urchin with no future. She works as a pick pocket with a pretty brutal group of men and is in fear that she will end up being sold as a whore. One night she and 2 other men( mick and jem) set about robbing a young man. Things get out of hand and mick needlessly stabs him.

This was not what Jewel had signed up for and she feels guilty about what happens so she tries to get help for the man and stays to try and nu...more
Loving Julia is the first novel by Karen Robards that I have read. I do not even know where to start with this review. To say I loved the extremely interesting characters and the outstanding story seems so trivial for wonderful story I just finished reading. I loved the heroine Jewel, her frank look at life and the compassion and tenderness in a young woman who has only seen the evils in life. Her strength of character with a chin up and a attitude of "you're no better than me".
I also loved Seba...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2010 Jackie added it
Author recommended by a friend. I like to read the early books by an author who is new to me, and the author's web site said that "everyone loves this one," so I gave it a try.

Very accomplished writing and plotting, but quite "Old Skool" in its linkage of sexuality and violence, as well as its construction of secondary female characters. I'll have to try a more recent Robards to see if her ideology has changed with the times, or if she remains Old Skool.
This is my third Karen Robards book and I loved it. The story was so unique. At least to me. I have never read from rags to riches romance. Wait- maybe The Proposition by Judith Ivory could count, but there the hero was the poor one. Great book by the way. I also liked that this book is may-december romance, one of my favorite trophes. The hero Sebastian was an ass and very un-pc, but I loved him anyway. I guess I like these old-scool books. There were many twists and turns and I was never bored...more
Loving Julia is a wonderful example of a classic historical romance. There’s no rush to hit the bedroom, the bad guys aren’t ‘misunderstood boys who weren’t hugged enough as a child’ and Robards took her time in building the characters ensuring they were fully realized BEFORE they met. Wow, what a concept – a hero and heroine who have time to get to know each other before ripping off their clothing.

Keeping in mind that this book was written in the mid-eighties, the main characters go through the...more

Jewel Comb has been raised in slums of White Chapel stealing from the rich to avoid starvation and being forced into prostitution. After a robbery gone wrong Jewel feels guilty for her victim and nurses him till his death. In exchange the rich man marries her before his death so that she may inherit his wealth.

Upon collecting her new found fortune she meets her late husband's cousin, Sebastian, Earl of Moorland who allows her to stay in order to anger his mother and her stuffy morals. Se...more
Carrie Olguin
Adventure romance with shades of Pygmalion.

The heroine grew up on the streets as a thief and sees a chance to change her life for the better so she grabs it. Ins many ways she's the typical romantic heroine, independent, full of spirit and prepared for physical battle if needed. The difference is, since she's grown up on the street, she has years of training to back up her behavior and thought processes.

The hero is the typical brooding, icy, angry, handsome fallen angel. He wasn't neary as inter...more
Ariel MacArran
This is very much a "My Fair Lady" story, but I absolutely loved it. Okay, yes some of the accents are a tiny bit overdone but still, a fun story that I read very quickly.
Started off interesting became moderately interesting in the middle and disappointing at the end. Don't mind the "my fair lady" plot, however, the characters esp the hero are hard to buy into. Definitely not one one of Karen Robards best.
The opening of this book was promising. It is very clearly modeled on Pygmalion. The girl is even called a guttersnipe just like Eliza Dolittle. However, the book alters in tone from being a romantic comedy to a bad drama. It's one of those aweful books where the man, Sebastian, treats the heroine horribly. She is beaten senseless and almost raped twice before Sebastian realizes that he loves her and saves the day. However, she would not have been in any danger, if Sebastian had treated her dece...more
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A mix of Pygmalion and The Secret Garden
3 1/2 stars
Being Human
I have two major complaints regarding the story-
1. The writer only portraits the story from Julia's point of view ALONE, even at times when Julia was laying on bed UNCONSCIOUS!!!! I think, the feelings and emotions that Sebastian had undergone were not fully and properly depicted in the story.
2. Towards the ending, it was pretty obvious who was behind all the murder mystery, not a shocking revelation.
But apart from that, I really enjoyed the book.
Tory Ferrera
This story is now about 20 years old and made me nostalgic for the slower paced, more carefully plotted romances of yesteryear. I read a recent book by the same author and was disappointed - it seemed like it had been written under an intense deadline. But then I wanted to give her another chance and I'm glad I did. I especially liked that the heroine, Jewel, is from the gutter, but nevertheless very heroic!
Most of the book was just average and Sebastian was a tad too mean at times. My suggestion would be to read the book till the end because this book has one of those endings that are emotional, sweet, changes the whole story, and automatically pushes its rating from three stars to a full five stars.

It's definitely a love-it-or-hate-it sort of book so you should decide if this book is right for you.
3.5 Karen Robards is a great story teller. This one written in the 80's is slightly over the top with the hero being beyond an ass in most of the book-probably pretty realistic based on men of the tine period but harder to enjoy with our modern sensibilities. Still a worthy read just based on the plot alone.
This was my first romance by Karen Robards and I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the transformation from "Jewel" to "Julia", the secondary characters added much to the story line, and all in all - it was a believable story that will have one laughing, crying, and rooting for Julia up until the very end.
Got this through my library as an ebook.

This was good. Strong writing from Robards as usual. It's a Pygmalion story, rather well done. I enjoy protags with a sense of humor. These two are rather combative, but I think it works well.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One of my favorites of Ms. Robards. Yes, this story is very dated, with so many 1980's historical romances tropes, but I still love it. I can now retire my battered paperback version now that Kindle has an ebook version out.
Couldn't really start liking the hero until almost the very end. I was put off by the mental and physical 'abuse' of the heroine. I can tell that this book was written in the 80's. Anyway, not as good as I expected it to be.
Nikki ♥
I really enjoyed the story. I loved the transformation from "Jewel" to "Julia," but I couldn't get over the fact that Julia was only 16 and Sebastian was 35. Other than that I thought it was a good story.
If you're going to skip a Karen Robards book, skip this one. The highly-improbably plot begins too close to My Fair Lady and falls apart at the end with loose ends hanging everywhere.
Victoria Blacke
This is definitely a "love-hate" romance right till the end! There is lots of fighting, yelling, grabbing, throwing of things, ripping of clothes, forceful kisses...the whole lot
I didn't know she was 16...
This book would be a lot less creepy if she wasn't old enough to be Seb's daughter.
But, nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
I finished it so I guess I liked it some, but I hate misunderstandings as plot devices. They are so annoying and tiresome.
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Karen was born on 24 August 1954 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. She has been writing since she was a teenager. She sold her first short story, when was very young, and was published in the December 1973 Reader's Digest, but she cannot sold her first romance novel until 1981, when she was 24. After it, she dropped out of law school to pursue her writing career. Today, a regular on the New York Times...more
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