21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2011
"Because for a moment she'd felt like herself again, like the girl she'd been just a few years ago, when the world lay before her, a bright shiny ball that glittered with promise. It had been a feeling she hadn't even realised she'd been missing - of belonging, of place, of being with someone who knew you utterly and completely and still thought you were worth laughing with." (Page 26).
Honoria Smith-Smythe and her family have been friends with Marcus Holroyd (Earl of Chatteris) for YEARS - since she was six. That means they know all sorts of embarrassing secrets about one another, but it also makes it difficult to put a couple in the appropriate situation for a romance. Julia Quinn manages this with her usual aplomb, and the help of a small garden shovel.
If this had been written by anyone else, I'd immediately have put that person onto my 'Buy other books by' list. Julia Quinn has been on that list since I first picked up one of her books, and has not disappointed while I read everything since. Therefore from this, I was expecting something - more.
Unfortunately, whilst interesting, and featuring several laugh-out-loud moments, this book doesn't quite match the rest of the body of work from this author. It felt a little - flat. Mrs Sarah Gorely's work 'Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron' makes an appearance, Lady Danbury is, as always, a gem and both Gregory and Colin Bridgerton have cameos, but this feels like the sort of novel that you can enjoy, rather than something you need to re-read immediately after you've finished it, and then at least another six times because of the delicious feeling it gave you.
I'm hoping that the other three books in the series - probably about other members of the quartet - Iris, Sarah, and the oblivious Daisy - possibly even governess Anne Wynter (who looks so familiar) - will have a little more of the zing that I've come to expect from Julia Quinn.
If you've not read JQ before, start earlier in her repertoire - preferably with the early Bridgertons - you won't regret it!
If you HAVE read JQ before, then obviously you'll read this - but don't expect TOO much from it. It's good, but doesn't quite make it to her usual level of greatness.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Honoria has known Marcus since she was 6 years old when he became best friends with her brother Daniel and she thinks of him as part of the family. When Daniel is forced to leave the country he asks Marcus to watch out for his little sister and Marcus takes his responsibility seriously, determined not to let Honoria marry the wrong man. When an accident caused by Honoria leaves Marcus on his death bed she is determined to do whatever it takes to make him well again. But as their feelings towards each other start to change will either of them be brave enough to tell the other how they feel?
I have always loved historical romance but for some reason I've hardly read any books in this genre over the last couple of years. Just Like Heaven has reminded me why I love these books and I'm definitely planning on reading more of them from now onwards. Julia Quinn is an incredibly popular author but this is the first of her books I have read, it definitely won't be the last though and I'm looking forward to working my way through her back list.
Honoria is a sweet character who loves being part of a big family and holding up their traditions by taking part in the Smythe-Smith musicale. Even though she knows how dreadful the quartet really is she puts on a brave face and is happy to go along with it just because her family love it so much. I loved the bantering between her, Sarah, Iris and Daisy as they were practising for the musicale and am looking forward to seeing more of their bickering in future books in the series. Honoria is 21 and what she wants most is to find a husband and start a family of her own, she is determined to find her man and the antics she gets up to trying to catch him had me laughing out loud on several occasions. It was nice to have a hero who was a nice man, Marcus isn't a rogue and in fact comes across as quite serious to those who don't know him well. Deep down though he is just shy and to the few that he is close to he is sweet and funny. I'll admit he made my heart melt and I loved the way he expressed his feelings about Honoria.
Just Like Heaven is a great light hearted, fun read that I couldn't put down. I'd heard the story described as Jane Austin meets Bridget Jones and would completely agree with that assessment. It's a great summer romance and I can't wait to spend more time in the world Julia Quinn has created. A highly recommended read for fans of historical romance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2011
My summary of the book - Honoria and Marcus have known each other for years after Marcus becomes Honoria's brother' best friend. When they accidentally meet in Cambridge Marcus knows he needs to keep his promise to Daniel and keep an eye on Honoria who is on the lookout for a husband. A meeting at a house party soon turns to trouble as Marcus is injured and needs Honoria to help him.
Thoughts on the characters - Honoria loves her family and will do anything for them even if it means that she has to play in yearly family musicale which she detests doing. This loving side of her makes her help Marcus because she knows he doesn't have anyone and when he is ill he needs her. She certainly proves how strong she is when the situation becomes worse and it helps make her grow into her own woman.
Marcus is used to not having anyone to help him so he loved it when he was welcomed into Daniel's family. Having no one it made him quite independent so it is a shock when he has to rely on Honoria when he becomes ill. It changes him and it also changes the relationship between Marcus and Honoria because he has only seen her like a little sister but now that she is grown his feelings slowly change.
Thoughts on the writing style - Julia Quinn has a brilliant way of writing where it is amusing all the way through so you just have to carry on reading. It is engaging and interesting and you follow the story easily.
Overall thoughts - I just loved it, I had a smile on face all the way through reading it. I loved reading the interaction between Marcus and Honoria which was teasing to begin with and then more serious as their feelings change and they try to fight for what they want.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2011
I've read most of Julia Quinn's back catalogue in the last six months since receiving my kindle, so I was excited to have the chance to purchase one of the books at its actual release. I was also excited about the prospect of a series of books about the Smythe-Smith girls, given what we've learned of them through attendance at their recitals in Quinn's other novels.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2014
There are moments that'll make you laugh and want to hug and kiss Marcus and Honoria but there will also be times when you'll feel..uh? There's nothing wrong with it, you understand, but the zing of Julia Quinn is missing. It's the missing zing that makes it just a bit less. It's almost as if there was more but it got lost somewhere. In most of her books everything is seamless and funny and adorable. That being said, these are two of the best romantic hero and heroine of contemporary romance. There's something old-worldly about them and their love story and I don't mean in the historical sense, rather in the chivalrous knights of the Round Table kind of behaviour and silliness, especially from Marcus.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2011
I have loved all J.Q's books and was waiting impatiantly for this one.I won't say it disappointed because it didn't,but being english there were a couple of details that stood my hair on end.Firstly will someone please tell J>Q or her editor or proof reader or someone that primroses are YELLOW .Our heroine was about to look very weird if the fashion was pink and she was choosing primrose!!Also english moles have hills not holes!They might live in a hole but they throw up hills - generally in the middle of someones perfect lawns.If she had done her homework I suppose the whole story would need changing which would be a shame as apart from that it was an enjoyable read just right for a holiday.
on 30 May 2013
The perfect piece of audio-fluff for when - as I am - you're laid up in bed with a stinking cold and can't read a book because it makes your eyes ache!
It's classic JQ - light-hearted, with plenty of witty dialogue; and it contains one of my favourite tropes, the "friends-to-lovers" one.
Lady Honoria has known Marcus Holroyd since she was a child. He's her big brother's best friend, the only child of an only child who has been given the best of everything in life - except familial life and affection. It's a miracle he hasn't grown up a complete head-case, but he's a genuinely nice guy; shy, somewhat reclusive and possessing a dry wit which he generally keeps hidden.
Honoria is the youngest of her siblings by well over ten years, and as her sisters are all married and her brother Daniel (we get his story in A Night Like This) had to leave the country, she is terribly lonely and desperate to find a husband so that she can have a home of her own. Most of all, she hates the silence. Having grown up in a large, bustling household, there is now just her and her mother, who has become very withdrawn since Daniel's departure.
When Marcus becomes desperately ill, Honaria insists on going to him; and threatens to go alone when her mother demurs. Fortunately, her mother relents and the pair head off to Marcus' Cambridgeshire estate where they discover him to be in far more danger than they had believed. Seeing her son's best friend in such dire straits seems to give Honoria's mother the kick up the backside she needed to pull her out of her listlessness and together, she and Honaria work tirelessly to save Marcus' life.
There are some truly tender scenes - between mother and daughter and Marcus and Honaria - in that part of the book. Although they more or less grew up together, the couple have not been especially close in recent years - although unbeknownst to Honaria, before Daniel left, he asked Marcus to keep an eye on her and "stop her marrying an idiot". As he recovers, the two draw closer and begin to realise the true nature of their feelings for each other.
There's a bump along the road to true love when Honaria discovers that Marcus had chased off a number of her suitors the previous year and gets huffy about it - but really, it's a mole-hill (see what I did there?) rather than a mountain and doesn't take long to sort out.
Both protagonists are attractive characters. Marcus isn't a rake or man with a dark secret in his past, he's just a truly decent man who doesn't like to be the centre of attention (although when push comes to shove, he'll do it if he has to) and who wants to be loved and have a family of his own around him.
Honoria is no silly debutante. She's kind and funny and fiercely loyal to her family and its traditions. She's one of the few people to truly 'see' Marcus for what he is underneath the rather starchy exterior he presents to the world; and even though she worries that his attentions to her have been a result of his promise to her brother, she is sensible enough to realise she's wrong and that he does truly care for her.
If I have a criticism, it's that the sex scene was really not necessary. I have no objection to sex in romance novels, but it felt like it had been shoe-horned in here for the sake of it.
Rosalyn Landor did her usual superb job with the narration. There are five or six different female characters featured throughout the novel, and in some scenes, they all appear - but each voice is clearly delineated so there is never any doubt as to who is speaking. The narrative passages are well-paced and invested with the lightness of tone and humour that is prevalent throughout the story.
Just what the doctor ordered!
I have been in love with Julia Quinn's writing for years and she has always been on my must-buy list. However, her more recent books such as "What Happens in London" and "Ten Things I Love about You", in my opinion haven't been as good. There was nothing wrong with the writing or the characters (except Olivia Bevelstoke, she was just plain annoying) but I just didn't feel the special connection with the book and if I'm honest I didn't really want to re-read them! Which I though was a shame as the first one in that series "The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever was one of my favourite Julia Quinn's.
"Just Like Heaven" I felt was back to the Julia I know and love, I couldn't put the book down and read it in one sitting, which completely messed up my body clock but who cares. The characters were charming and I really wanted the hero and heroine to end up together, which they do so don't worry. I'm can't wait for the next book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet to come out. It was also nice to finally get their stories after hearing so much about them in her other books, however, that is not the only reason you should buy this book. It stands by itself as a must-read book and has, for me, reinstated Julia Quinn as a must-buy author again!
Now, I don't wont to say anything more detailed about the plot, as I and probably some over people don't particularly like spoilers, but you should buy this book and don't be put of by the 3stars, it isn't a three star book.
on 23 June 2011
I bought this book without even reading the back cover simply because it had Julia Quinn's name on it. I love Quinn, and I love her books...I didn't really love this one though. It was definitely not up to par with the rest of her books, and the only reason I'm giving it 3 stars is because it's Julia Quinn.
Yes, I did laugh out loud several times throughout the book, because that's Julia for you, she's funny, and she's great at creating the perfect comical scene. The story, however, was very very bland. The feelings seemed contrived, and almost forced. The plot wasn't creative at all, but then one can argue that as historical romances go, you can't exactly expect creativity. Fine. I'll take that. But the characters didn't seem very well-rounded. I felt a stronger connection to the secondary characters than I did with Honoria and Marcus, and I really hope their stories are better in quality than this one was.
And really, for the protagonist to be seriously ill, and bed-ridden for SEVEN consecutive chapters, out of a total of 23. Come on.
It was just a little disappointing that the highlight of the entire book for me was Quinn's dedication to her husband, Paul.
All in all, this wasn't a great book, it was not up to Quinn's standards, and I do not recommend reading it to tell you the truth.
I do, however, recommend all her other books, and I know that I will still buy her next book when it comes out.
on 8 January 2012
I've been waiting to read this for ages, after finishing all Julia Quinns other books i was desperate to read this. And i wasn't disappointed, the two main characters, Honoria and Marcus are up to Quinn's usual standard of lead characters and i managed to read the entire book in one go as i was enjoying the book so much. It was an easy to read book, but i don't find that a discouraging aspect, it was plain and simply a good, in parts humerous, historical romance. I can't wait for the other books in the quartet to be published and it clearly is going to involve the other members of the Smythe-Smith 'music' group! The only aspect i was not expecting was that this book would be set time wise in the same years as some of the Bridgerton series, i certainly didn't imagine meeting the 'single' members of the Bridgerton family again, but as complaints go its a very minor detail. I don't understand some other peoples more lack lusture reviews of the book - if you want a good curl up and read historical romance this is ideal.