Monday, 14 January 2013

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

About the book
Just Like Heaven is the first book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet series by Julia Quinn. The book was published by Piatkus on 2nd June 2011 and it is 384 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from the back of the book)
Honoria Smythe-Smith, the youngest daughter of the eldest son of the Earl of Winstead, plays the violin in the annual musicale performed by the Smythe-Smith quartet. She’s well aware that they are dreadful but she’s the sort who figures that nothing good will come of being mortified, so she puts on a good show and laughs about it.

Marcus Holroyd is the best friend of Honoria’s brother Daniel, who lives in exile. Marcus has promised to watch out for Honoria, but he faces a challenge when she sets off for Cambridge determined to marry by the end of the season. She’s got her eye on the only unmarried Bridgerton, who’s a bit wet behind the ears. When her advances are spurned, can Marcus swoop in and steal her heart in time for the musicale?

What I thought
I have said many times before that Julia Quinn is one of my favourite Regency writers but I am so far behind with her books now. Reading young adult novels and being at university kind of took over what I was reading so this genre had to take a back seat for a little while. However, I decided to treat myself to something of Quinn’s that I hadn’t read yet and this is what I ended up buying.

The Smythe-Smith family have been a small part of Quinn’s Bridgerton series, due to their annual musicale which everyone seems to attend. Because of this, I was already slightly familiar with some of the characters in this book although if you haven’t read the other series, you can definitely start here. None of the previous plot lines are mentioned too much and when they are, it is only in passing. This book begins when Honoria and Marcus are just children, explaining how they met and how Marcus is best friends with Daniel, Honoria’s brother. I really liked the backstory with this book because it gave more depth to the characters.

Honoria is only 21 but she is worried that she’ll end up not getting married, having not found a husband during her first season. This year, she’s determined to find a match. As a character she was sweet and funny and very clued up about things that were happening around her. She knows that she can’t play the violin well at all so makes fun of herself having to play in a quartet every single year. The quartet brings in some secondary characters which gives an opportunity to see Honoria in a different light. She banters with her cousins which was very humourous as they didn’t seem to understand that they were rubbish with their instruments.

Marcus is quite the opposite of Honoria in the sense that he isn’t quite as fun and he likes to be serious. However, around Honoria he is much more himself and more relaxed having known her for so long. I enjoyed the contrast between these two characters as having two who were so happy and fun would have been a bit much for me. He’s quite a shy character so sometimes has troubles saying what he actually means but I thought he was wonderful when it came to Honoria. Out of all of Quinn’s books that I have read so far, Marcus is one of my favourite heroes due to him being so nice!

The plot for this book was not what I was expecting it to be. While these kinds of books always have a problem somewhere in the middle, which makes the heroine and hero have their own problems, this one was quite shocking. This issue does take up quite a large part of the book but instead of it tearing the main characters apart, it actually brings them closer together which was something that I really liked. Due to what happens, both characters are thrown out of their comfort zones so it means that I got to see completely different sides to them and to see how they would act in difficult circumstances. The plot was very exciting but sweet and lovely at the same time. Just Like Heaven had a little bit of everything which is why I enjoyed it so much.

I can’t wait to get the rest of the books in this series to see what happens to the other members of the Smythe-Smith family. I’m hoping brother Daniel will get his own book too! 

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