Nadya's Reviews > Just Like Heaven

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
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Feb 18, 12

Read in February, 2012

** spoiler alert ** A few familiar character/ events appeared in this book:
1. The abysmal Smyrhe-Smith Quartet & their annual Musicale of Torture
2. Mrs Sarah Gorley's intrepid "Ms Butterworth & the Mad Baron"
3. Collin & Gregory Bridgerton
4. The Formidable yet Utterly Delightful Lady Danbury

These popular characters certainly added icing on a cake that the H/h, Marcus Holroyd & Honoria Smythe-Smith will enjoy...perhaps not as good as their treacle tart, or the chocolate cake that was eaten by the dog, or Violet Bridgerton's eclair, but, good enough to satisfy their shared weakness for dessert.

Honoria is a lovable heroine in the mold of Hyacinth Bridgerton - full of fluffy & impertinent thoughts, though Honoria seems to have a better control of her mouth than Hyacinth, at least for most of the time.

Marcus is a rather unique hero - serious, tacit, shy, somewhat standoffish, not a charmer like most of JQ's other heroes. With Honoria though, whom he had known since childhood, he was none of the above. As the best friend of her big brother Daniel, he was very comfortable and rather playful with her, and definitely not as humorless as he led the rest of society to believe he was. Unfortunately, he didn't get to do much hero stuff till the end of the book, where he was given the opportunity to demonstrate his alpha male qualities by first defending Honoria from Daniel, and subsequently defending her from the loathsome Mr Grimston.

There are some of JQ's trademark wit and humour in the book. Most of the time it involved Hyacinth - her harebrained plot to attract Gregory Bridgerton, her frantic musings beside Marcus' sickbed, her interactions with Marcus, or her cousins, or all the other secondary characters. Making a reference to the song 'It's my party & I'll cry if I want to' was the following dialogue between the H/h:
Marcus: "I'm not the one who stormed out of the party to go sulk in a corner."
Honoria: "It's not a party. It's a musicale."
Marcus: "It's your musicale."
Honoria: "And I'll sulk if I want to..."

The serious Marcus also contributed to the humour with his laudanum-laced reveries, and his opioid-induced hallucination of the giant rabbit waving a giant carrot. I was also absolutely tickled by the epilogue, where the previously insightful Honoria seemed to have become inflicted not so much by an episode of 'blindness by love', but rather, 'deafness by love', and actually thought the Smythe-Smith Quartet was as good as the rest of the matrons of the Smythe-Smith clan thought them to be.

My only gripe was the number of pages dedicated to pulling Marcus back from the gates of Hell, and then stuffing the actual romance into the remaining 3 or 4 chapters. And of course being a romance story and all, there was the obligatory bedroom scene which needed to be hastily slotted in at the end as well. I would much rather she skipped the sex altogether, it threw Marcus' supposedly steady & responsible character all out of whack - he had only realized he loved the girl for slightly more than 2 weeks, and he was still recuperating from an almost fatal episode of septicaemia - it doesn't mash that he'd be unprincipled enough, or have accumulated that amount of unspent passion, or even just have the energy, to want to bed a girl that he had protected as his little sister for half his life, and whom he had only just announced his desire for - mind you it wasn't even an 'I Love You' that he'd declared yet.

All in all, this is not one of her best books, but it is certainly enjoyable, and is a definite improvement from her recent 'Two Dukes of Wyndham' series.
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