Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet Series #1)

Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet Series #1)

by Julia Quinn

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Overview

Once again, #1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn transports her readers to historical romance heaven! Quinn’s Just Like Heaven is the dazzling first installment of a delightful quartet of Regency Era-set tales featuring the romantic exploits of the well-meaning but less-than-accomplished Smythe-Smith musicians—in this case, a beautiful violinist in the pitiful group who has her sights set on marrying the last unwed Bridgerton…unless her handsome, love-struck guardian has anything to say about it. Bridgerton fans will cry, “Encore!”—as will every reader who adores England’s Regency period and great love stories that are smart, witty, and lighthearted.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061491900
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/31/2011
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 175,525
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Please visit her on the web at www.juliaquinn.com.

Read an Excerpt

Just Like Heaven


By Julia Quick

Avon

Copyright © 2011 Julia Quick
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061491900


Chapter One

March 1824
Cambridge, England
Lady Honoria Smythe-Smith was desperate.
Desperate for a sunny day, desperate for a
husband, desperate—she thought with an
exhausted sigh as she looked down at her ruined blue
slippers—for a new pair of shoes.
She sat down heavily on the stone bench outside
Mr. Hilleford's Tobacco Shoppe for Discerning
Gentlemen and pressed herself up against the wall behind
her, desperately (there was that awful word again)
trying to wedge her entire body under the awning.
It was pouring. Pouring. Not drizzling, not merely
raining, but pouring proverbial cats, dogs, sheep, and
horses.
At this rate, she wouldn't have been surprised if an
elephant tumbled down from the sky.
And it stank. Honoria had thought that cheroots
produced her least favorite smell, but no, mold was
worse, and Mr. Hilleford's Tobacco Shoppe for
Gentlemen who Did Not Mind if Their Teeth Turned
Yellow had a suspicious black substance creeping
along its outer wall that smelled like death.
Really, could she possibly be in a worse situation?
Why, yes. Yes, she could. Because she was (of
course) quite alone, the rain having taken thirty
seconds to go from drip to downpour. The rest of her
shopping party was across the street, happily browsing
in the warm and cozy Miss Pilaster's Fancy
Emporium of Ribbons and Trinkets, which, in addition
to having all sorts of fun and frilly merchandise,
smelled a great deal better than Mr. Hilleford's
establishment.
Miss Pilaster sold perfume. Miss Pilaster sold
dried rose petals and little candles that smelled like
vanilla.
Mr. Hilleford grew mold.
Honoria sighed. Such was her life.
She had lingered too long at the window of a bookshop,
assuring her friends that she would meet them
at Miss Pilaster's in a minute or two. Two minutes
had turned to five, and then, just as she'd been
preparing to make her way across the street, the heavens
had opened and Honoria had had no choice but to
take refuge under the only open awning on the south
side of the Cambridge High Street.
She stared mournfully at the rain, watching it
pummel the street. The drops were pelting the
cobblestones with tremendous force, splashing and
spraying back into the air like tiny little explosions.
The sky was darkening by the second, and if
Honoria was any judge of English weather, the wind was
going to pick up at any moment, rendering her
pathetic spot under Mr. Hilleford's awning completely
useless.
Her mouth slipped into a dejected frown, and she
squinted up at the sky.
Her feet were wet.
She was cold.
And she'd never once, not in her entire life, left the
boundaries of England, which meant that she was a
rather good judge of English weather, and in about
three minutes she was going to be even more miserable
than she was right now.
Which she really hadn't thought possible.
"Honoria?"
She blinked, bringing her gaze down from the sky
to the carriage that had just rolled into place in front
of her.
"Honoria?"
She knew that voice. "Marcus?"
Oh, good heavens, her misery only needed this.
Marcus Holroyd, the Earl of Chatteris, happy and dry
in his plush carriage. Honoria felt her jaw go slack,
although really, she didn't know why she should be
surprised. Marcus lived in Cambridgeshire, not too
far from the city. More to the point, if anyone were to
see her while she was looking like a wet, bedraggled
creature of the rodential variety, it would be he.
"Good God, Honoria," he said, scowling down
at her in that supercilious way of his, "you must be
freezing."
She managed the barest of shrugs. "It is a bit brisk."
"What are you doing here?"
"Ruining shoes."
"What?"
"Shopping," she said, motioning across the street,
"with friends. And cousins." Not that her cousins
weren't also friends. But she had so many cousins
they almost seemed a category unto themselves.
The door opened wider. "Get in," he said. Not
Will you please get in or Please, you must dry
yourself off. Just: "Get in."
Another girl might have tossed her hair and said,
You can't order me about! Another, slightly less
prideful girl might have thought it, even if she'd
lacked the courage to say it aloud. But Honoria was
cold, and she valued her comfort more than her pride,
and more to the point, this was Marcus Holroyd, and
she'd known him since she was in pinafores.
Since the age of six, to be precise.
That was also probably the last time she'd managed
to show herself to advantage, she thought with
a grimace. At seven she'd made such a pest of herself
that he and her brother Daniel had taken to calling
her Mosquito. When she'd claimed to be complimented,
that she'd loved how exotic and dangerous it
had sounded, they'd smirked and changed it to Bug.
Bug she'd been, ever since.
He'd seen her wetter than this, too. He'd seen her
completely soaked, back when she was eight and
she'd thought she'd been completely hidden in the
boughs of the old oak tree at Whipple Hill. Marcus
and Daniel had built a fort at its base, no girls
allowed. They had pelted her with pebbles until she'd
lost her grip and tumbled down.
In retrospect, she really shouldn't have chosen the
branch that hung over the lake.
Marcus had fished her out of the dunk, though,
which was more than she could say for her own
brother.
Marcus Holroyd, she thought ruefully. He'd been
in her life almost as long as she could remember.
Since before he was Lord Chatteris, since before
Daniel was Lord Winstead. Since before Charlotte,
her closest-in-age sister, had married and left home.
Since before Daniel, too, had left.
"Honoria."
She looked up. Marcus's voice was impatient, but
his face held a hint of concern. "Get in," he repeated.
She nodded and did as he said, taking his large
hand in hers and accepting his help into his
carriage. "Marcus," she said, trying to settle herself
into her seat with all the grace and nonchalance she
might exhibit in a fine drawing room, never mind
the puddles at her feet. "What a lovely surprise to
see you."
He just stared at her, his dark brows coming ever
so slightly together. He was trying to decide the most
effective way to scold her, she was sure.
"I am staying here in town. With the Royles," she
told him, even though he hadn't yet asked. "We are
here for five days—Cecily Royle, my cousins Sarah
and Iris, and I." She waited for a moment, for some
sort of flash of recognition in his eyes, then said,
"You don't remember who they are, do you?"
"You have a great many cousins," he pointed out.
"Sarah is the one with the thick, dark hair and
eyes."
"Thick eyes?" he murmured, cracking a tiny smile.
"Marcus."
He chuckled. "Very well. Thick hair. Dark eyes."
"Iris is very pale. Strawberry blond hair?" she
prompted. "You still don't recall."
"She comes from that family of flowers."
Honoria winced. It was true that her uncle William
and aunt Maria had chosen to name their daughters
Rose, Marigold, Lavender, Iris, and Daisy, but still.
"I know who Miss Royle is," Marcus said.
"She's your neighbor. You have to know who she is."
He just shrugged.
"At any rate, we are here in Cambridge because
Cecily's mother thought we could all use a bit of
improving."
His mouth tipped into a vaguely mocking smile.
"Improving?"
Honoria wondered why females always needed
improving, while males got to go to school. "She bribed
two professors into allowing us to listen to their
lectures."
"Really?" He sounded curious. And dubious.
"The life and times of Queen Elizabeth,"
Honoria recited dutifully. "And after that, something in
Greek."
"Do you speak Greek?"
"Not a one of us," she admitted. "But the professor
was the only other one who was willing to speak
to females." She rolled her eyes. "He intends to
deliver the lecture twice in a row. We must wait in an
office until the students leave the lecture hall, lest
they see us and lose all sense of reason."
Marcus nodded thoughtfully. "It is nearly impossible
for a gentleman to keep his mind upon his studies
in the presence of such overwhelming female loveliness."
Honoria thought he was serious for about two
seconds. She managed one sideways glance in his
direction before she burst out with a snort of laughter.
"Oh, please," she said, giving him a light punch
in the arm. Such familiarities were unheard of in
London, but here, with Marcus . . .
He was practically her brother, after all.
"How fares your mother?" he asked.
"She is well," Honoria replied, even though she
wasn't. Not really. Lady Winstead had never quite
recovered from the scandal of Daniel being forced
to leave the country. She alternated between fussing
over supposed slights and pretending her only son
had never existed.
It was . . . difficult.
"She hopes to retire to Bath," Honoria added. "Her
sister lives there, and I think the two of them would
get on well together. She doesn't really like London."
"Your mother?" Marcus asked, with some
surprise.
"Not as she used to," Honoria clarified. "Not
since Daniel . . . Well. You know."
Marcus's lips tightened at the corners. He knew.
"She thinks people are still talking about it,"
Honoria said.
"Are they?"
Honoria shrugged helplessly. "I have no idea. I
don't think so. No one has given me the cut direct.
Besides, it was nearly three years ago. Wouldn't you
think everyone has something else to talk about?"
"I would have thought that everyone would have
had something else to talk about when it happened,"
he said darkly.
Honoria lifted a brow as she regarded his scowl.
There was a reason he scared off so many debutantes.
Her friends were terrified of him.
Well, that wasn't entirely true. They were only
scared while in his presence. The rest of the time they
sat at their escritoires, writing their names entwined
with his—all in ridiculous loopy script, adorned with
hearts and cherubs.
He was quite the matrimonial catch, Marcus Holroyd.
It wasn't that he was handsome, because he
wasn't, not exactly. His hair was a nice dark color;
his eyes, too, but there was something about his face
that Honoria found harsh. His brow was too heavy,
too straight, his eyes set a bit too deeply.
But still, there was something about him that
caught the eye. An aloofness, a tinge of disdain, as
if he simply did not have the patience for nonsense.
It made the girls mad for him, even though most
were nonsense personified.
They whispered about him as if he were some dark
storybook hero, or if not that, then the villain, all
Gothic and mysterious, needing only to be redeemed.
Whereas to Honoria he was simply Marcus, which
wasn't anything simple at all. She hated the way he
patronized her, watching her with that disapproving
stare. He made her feel as she'd been years ago, as an
annoying child, or gawky adolescent.
And yet at the same time, there was something so
comforting in having him about. Their paths did not
cross as often as they used to—everything was different
now that Daniel was gone—but when she walked
into a room, and he was there . . .
She knew it.
And oddly enough, that was a good thing.
"Do you plan to come down to London for the
season?" she asked politely.
"For some of it," he replied, his face inscrutable. "I
have matters to attend to here."
"Of course."
"And you?" he asked.
She blinked.
"Do you plan to go down to London for the
season?"
Her lips parted. Surely he could not be serious.
Where else would she possibly go, given her unmarried
state? It wasn't as if—
"Are you laughing?" she asked suspiciously.
"Of course not." But he was smiling.
"It's not funny," she told him. "It's not as if I have
a choice. I have to go for the season. I'm desperate."
"Desperate," he repeated, and he looked dubious.
It was a frequent expression on his face.
"I have to find a husband this year." She felt her
head shaking back and forth, even though she wasn't
sure what she might be objecting to. Her situation
was not so very different from most of her friends'.
She wasn't the only young lady hoping for marriage.
But she wasn't looking for a husband so that she could
admire the ring on her finger or bask in the glory of
her status as a dashing young matron. She wanted a
house of her own. A family—a large, noisy one that
didn't always mind their manners.
She was just so sick of the silence that had taken
over her home. She hated the sound of her footsteps
clacking across the floor, hated that it was so
frequently the only noise she heard all afternoon.
She needed a husband. It was the only way.
"Oh, come now, Honoria," Marcus said, and she
didn't need to see his face to know his expression
precisely—patronizing and skeptical, with just a touch
of ennui. "Your life cannot possibly be so dire."
She grit her teeth together. She despised that tone.
"Forget I said anything," she muttered, because
really, it wasn't worth it, trying to explain it to him.
He let out a breath, and even that managed to be
condescending. "You're not likely to find a husband
here," he said.
She pressed her lips together, regretting that she'd
brought up the subject.
"The students here are too young," he remarked.
"They are the same age as I am," she said, falling
neatly into his trap.
But Marcus did not gloat; he wasn't the sort.
"That is why you're here in Cambridge, isn't it? To
visit with the students who have not yet gone down
to London?"
She looked determinedly straight ahead as she
said, "I told you, we're here to listen to lectures."
He nodded. "In Greek."
"Marcus."
He grinned at that. Except it wasn't really a grin.
Marcus was always so serious, so stiff, that a grin
for him would be a dry half-smile on anyone else.
Honoria wondered how often he smiled without
anyone realizing it. He was lucky she knew him so
well. Anyone else would think him completely
without humor.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Just Like Heaven by Julia Quick Copyright © 2011 by Julia Quick. Excerpted by permission of Avon. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Just Like Heaven 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 560 reviews.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Marcus Holroyd, the Earl of Chatteris knew two facts about his life - that he was well trained for his title and that he would always be alone. Honoria Smythe-Smith also knew two facts, she would never be alone since she was part of a large family, and not one of them had a musical bone in their body. Marcus was taught friendship from Honoria's brother Daniel when they met at school and learned how to have the young Honoria around Marcus took his lonely childhood and grabbed onto the large, boisterous Smythe-Smith family. When Honoria grew up, she became a stunning young woman who needed her brother to protect her but he had fled to Italy in scandal. What she did not know was Daniel had asked Marcus to watch over her and he did just that quietly and alone in the background as he did everything his life. He went to balls and stood by the back wall unnoticed, checking on the potential suitors who went after Honoria and drove them away one by one. He also attended the yearly Smythe-Smith Musicale, featuring the unmarried female cousins in the family who yearly massacred any type of credible music. The family was known for this event and all in attendance understood it was going to be awful but for Marcus who sat in the front row he never heard the notes being butchered he only had eyes for the beauty playing the violin, Honoria. When Marcus decides he may try courting her, Honoria has decided to step up the husband hunt. Honoria sees Marcus less as a potential suitor and more like a brother while Marcus is trying to change that and his first step toward winning her hand finds him stepping in a hole and doing damage to his ankle. This simple twisted ankle turns into a bad situation when a secondary injury leads to infection and near death for Marcus. Honoria comes to care for Marcus with her mother and with no regard for propriety or knowledge of how to make him better only a willingness to be someone in his life when he truly has no one. Honoria and her mother take Marcus from brink of death to recovery and somewhere along the way Honoria and Marcus both realize what they feel for each other is love, not friendship or family affection but deep, burning love. Neither is quite sure what to do with these feeling but someone has to take the first step. Will it be the man wearing new boots or the woman in a pair of red slippers? Reading a Julia Quinn book such a calming, romantic, and wonderful experience, you look forward to each book with anticipation. I am in awe of her ability to spin a fresh and exciting story with each book and make you think "I love these characters the most of them all" when in fact with the next book you will say the same and it will be true. Marcus will forever be dear to me because he knows he wants love he just does not know how to get it and Honoria is such a self-confident and strong woman who knows she can cure everything but her cousins' lack of musical talent.
texasreaderDH More than 1 year ago
Very sweet book. I like when two characters grow up together and then find out each other are their soul mates..... Very good funny clean book.
NeptuneKH More than 1 year ago
I normally LOVE everything Julia Quinn writes and I've read everything she's written, but I was disappointed with this. I felt she could have done so much more, it felt rushed and all together too short. I swear when I finished the book I thought to myself, "that's it?" However I don't regret buying/reading the story and it wont prevent me from picking up the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have long enjoyed Julia Quinn's books--I have them all and have re-read most of them--some several times, but this one was very disappointing to me. I have always enjoyed her characters and their repartee' which is usually fun and clever, but in this one that feels like all there is--lots of silly conversations that don't really go anywhere. In my opinion, she doesn't develop her characters satisfactorially and so they really have no depth. In all her regency novels she, like most regency authors, is always putting down the empty-headed, vapid, insipid debutantes but this book felt like it was written by one of them. And worst of all the romance (i.e. seduction) was not satisfying at all. I just kept hoping for more-- of everything. I understand that this is the first in a series, so I hope the next ones are a little meatier.
Corry Sisson More than 1 year ago
This book is so deliciously witty, easy flowing and the characters are lovable...I love Julia Quinn books and wasn't disapointed with this one! I recommend this book if you love to laugh out loud while reading, warning though people may look at you weird if you are reading this book in public and laughing out loud!! Happy reading!
Fully More than 1 year ago
Julia Quinn has done it again. This book is one of her best. It was worth the wait and a perfect summer read. The relationship is believable and unique. I also enjoy that Quinn adds elevated vocabulary to her novels. The worst part about finishing this book is that I now have to wait for her next book. Write quickly, Julia!
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
I kept this book on my nightstand and my "currently reading" shelf for about a year before finally deciding to just mark it as DNF (did not finish). It's not that the book is SO bad that I couldn't keep reading, but rather, I kept putting it down, forgot about it, and was never really inclined to pick it up again... that went on for about a year. There are way better books I could be spending my time on. Overall Just Like Heaven just bored me; nothing was exciting, and nothing intrigued me enough to want to continue reading. There's very little action both romance- and plot-wise; even by page 158—which is how far I got—hardly any of Honoraria and Marcus's relationship is built. If there is no swoon-worthy romance by the halfway mark, we've got a problem. Honoraria isn't a dreadful heroine but she's rather desperate for a husband and childish, blushing at ever sight of skin and brush of fingers, and so on. I can understand these traits were meant to color her "cute" and "clumsy," but I just found it annoying. There's almost no chemistry between her and Marcus, which bothered me a lot considering this is a historical romance, and the dialogue and description scenes drag on forever, which made this one even more difficult to digest. Pros: Well written // Playful, readable style Cons: Romance moves at a snail's pace // Honoraria is annoying and Marcus is uninteresting // Boring // Not enough action! Verdict: Containing too much backstory and not enough action, this first title in the Smythe-Smith quartet is rather boring. It isn't a terrible or intolerable—in fact, stylistically, Julia Quinn is a pleasure to read—but I just didn't have the patience to finish it. I was quite annoyed by the "witty" (not witty) banter and passionless relationship that's supposed to pass as a romance. True historical fiction fans may be able to swallow Just Like Heaven, but I definitely wasn't impressed. Rating: 2 out of 10 hearts (1 star): Not completely a lost cause, but could not finish and did not enjoy; potentially could be used as a cure for insomnia. Source: Complimentary ARC provided by Romance Novel News in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Carolyn!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice story. VReliable JQ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mostly light-hearted fun, but it did have some serious moments to it also. And I always enjoy characters from her other books making appearances. She tends to weave her books together that way: writing about a particular event in more than one book, for example, through different characters' viewpoints.
thecollector0 More than 1 year ago
interesting characters, good plot. Emotion, good romance, humor, a little suspense. One of my favourites. I enjoyed it.
Trisha Crabbs More than 1 year ago
I have read all of julia quinns books. While i wouldnt describe this as one of her best, it was still really good. It was a pretty simple story but the love story between marcus and honoria was really sweet. Many familiar characters from past books make appearances as well. Well worth the time and money to read!
Anonymous 8 months ago
I have read it at least twice. love the sense of humor.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Just what I needed today. Well written... fun... with characters you really care about!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! It moved along quickly and I read it in 2 days!
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fast and funny read, even when our hero is in danger of dying (a nice reminder from Quinn about the dangers of living in the eighteenth century). The two main protagonists are lovely characters and the insight into the workings of the Smythe-Smith Quartet was very amusing. She's not in the same league and Heyer and it would be sacrilege to even consider her anywhere near the same league as Austen, as some of the reviewers here do, but if you're looking for something amusing to while away a couple of hours this is perfect.
abigailyow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just like heaven is the long-awaited first book of the Smythe-Smith series. It tells the story of Honoria and Marcus; and the progress of their relationship from casual acquaintances of being Daniel's sister and best friend, to something more.It was a quick and fun read but that was to the extent of it. I couldn't feel the author's usual magic in this book and whilst the main characters were likable, their romance was sadly tepid. Don't get me wrong, I love the author and her brilliant skill of producing witty dialogues but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would as with her previous Bridgerton series.Altogether, I think this is a fluffy read and would recommend to those who are looking for a book that is purely entertaining.
tmommy4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this novel. I found both Honoria and Marcus to be funny and amazing characters. I laughed so hard during several of the scenes, my most favorite was when Marcus had the fever. This was one of the most refreshing romance novels I have read in quite awhile.
reesa00 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A big improvement from Julia Quinn's recent works. At first this seems like a typical romance involving a heroine and her brother's best friend, but the characters and the plot were far from typical. Honoria is a great character. Who hasn't wondered what ever became of the Smythe-Smith's after reading the Bridgerton books? Marcus is an interesting hero in that many authors would have used his background to have him become a rake or cruel but not in this case. I liked most that these two characters were normal. Not boring but normal. They have relationships, are intelligent and caring and have faults just like all of us. A very enjoyable story watching these two accept their feelings for each other!
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honoria Smythe-Smith comes from a family with a long musical tradition. Unfortunately, it's a tradition of being really terrible musicians. Marcus is her brother's best friend. Although they've known each other since childhood, their relationship takes an unexpected turn when Marcus becomes deathly ill.As always from Quinn, lots of fun.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Romance novels are seldom accorded respect by the world's more serious book readers; their plots are relatively predictable, their characters often lack depth, and the sex scenes are soft porn. What's left out of this condescending evaluation is that romance novels can be enjoyable and relaxing reads in large measure because of all of the above. And Julia Quinn is the queen of the fun read. Her newest offering, 'Just Like Heaven' is the perfect book to take along while waiting out softball practice or better yet, on the family room sofa at 1 AM accompanied by a frozen brownie. Those who have read Quinn know of the Smythe-Smiths. The non-musical Smythe-Smiths who often provide musical interludes at 'musical' evenings for London's ton. The story line is simple - Honoria Smythe-Smith and Marcus Holroyd have grown up together and it is now time for them both to realize that 'they are destined for each other.' Romance fiction isn't about getting from Point A to Point B, it's the fun along the way that matters. And 'Just Like Heaven' is at times a laugh aloud trip. Four Stars. The bottom line: While 'Just Like Heaven' is an enjoyable, relaxing read, long-time Quinn readers know that it's not Quinn at the top of her form. It's far better than her imitators and will please most readers, but it's not a compelling read. Maybe next time?
jedisakora on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I would like to start off with that congratulations to the author for getting her groove back. Reading this book felt like reading the Bridgerton books of yester years. It was brilliantly witty and the romance was actually very believable. Honoria Smythe-Smith and Marcus Holyroyd had known each other for years. Literally. Since Honoria was six to be exact. Therefore the last thing either of them expected was to fall in love with each other. Honoria was simply Marcus's best friend Daniel's little sister and Marcus was Daniel's best friend to Honoria. Then again the last thing either of them expected was for Daniel to have to leave the county, turn things on their ends, and for a home made "mole hole" to turn everything topy turvy. That is what happened though. So forth the lives to these two unlikely lovers got turned on their end and found that the other was more than a friend. The relationship between Honoria and Marcus was very sweet and one that is entirely realistic. Something i found very refreshing. In a world where love (or lust) at first can be somewhat the norm having two characters with a long history was a nice change. It was something that was building up for a while and it took a twisted ankle and a near death experience for them both to realize their true feelings for each other. Individually both of them were great as well. Marcus is not your typical hero. He is not described as particularly handsome, is shy and reserved, and doesn't seem to have a line of past lovers that reach the length of my arm. In fact there were no past lovers or mistresses even mentioned. It was merely implied that he wasn't a virgin. I felt myself connecting with him on so many accounts because of his shyness, lack of ability for small talk, and his dislike of being center stage. If there is one thing Julia does well is write heroes who don't always fit the bill. In this case she brought on a new favorite of mine. Long live the shy hero!!Honoria was beautifully written as well. She wasn't described as drop dead gorgeous or have an amazing body to boot. She was perfectly average and normal whose favorite feature is her eyes. She is loyal to her family and friends. She isn't a shrinking violet, but neither is she the life of the party. She was refreshing normal. Another character that i found myself connecting with. It's quite the rare instance when i find myself connecting with both hero and heroine in a book and thus this has to be one of my favorite romances in a long time. In fact it's what i would use as a reference for the type of romance i would like in my life (25 and hopelessly single here). The book is neither ground breaking, nor filled with action and adventure. It is one i would highly recommend nonetheless. Final rating: 5 stars. We have another absolute favorite to add to the list.
avernon1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You know that feeling of satisfaction, when you can't help but sigh with contentment. You have a little grin on your face and all is well with the world. Well, this is how I felt returning to one of my favourite authors, Julia Quinn. She has a knack for making her characters so likable and so very enjoyable. It's effortless. That is true talent. I am laughing frequently as I read, making passersby stare and question my sanity. I first enjoyed Ms. Quinn's tales in the Bridgerton series, gobbling them up like literary candy. It was with joy and a tiny bit of trepidation that I picked up the first book in her newly released series "Just Like Heaven". I wasn't sure if I would like the heroine she chose, one of the Smythe-Smith characters from the Bridgerton series. Boy was I wrong. Honoria Smythe-Smith is wonderful. She is an endearing young woman whose looks aren't overwhelming but whose sense of humour and honest love of family is heartwarming. Our hero, Marcus, also known as Lord Chatteris, isn't a rogue. He isn't even overly attractive! Gasp! He is your every day gentleman! A man with morals, a man who does the right thing. A dependable man. A man who longed for a family to love and for a family to love him. What's even better is the fact that this story is based upon two characters who have known each other for fifteen years. Yes, Marcus has known Honoria since she was six years old. Daniel, Honoria's brother, is Marcus' best friend. Hence Marcus' presence at the Smythe-Smith's home for many holidays, birthdays and special occasions. He was always there. Always the quiet, dependable Marcus. Honoria knew him like the back of her own hand. Marcus knew every quirk of Honoria's personality. Suddenly, each discovers they hold deeper feelings for the other, a realization that knocks them off their feet. I cheered for Lord Chatteris and his quest for a sense of belonging. I loved how his feelings began to take charge, overwhelming him in their urgency. ¿He¿d spent his life being a perfect gentleman. He¿d never been a flirt. He¿d never been a rogue. He hated being the center of attention, but by God, he wanted to be the center of her attention. He wanted to do the wrong thing, the bad thing. He wanted to pull her into his arms and carry her to her bed. He wanted to peel every last inch of her clothing from her body, and then he wanted to worship her. He wanted to show her all the things he wasn¿t sure he knew how to say.¿This is a sweet love story that will make you smile. Yes, there are scenes that will make you laugh out loud. Yes, you will delight in the wonderful characters. Yes, you will want to fall in love all over again. Sigh.....I am feeling content again.
4fish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not her best book, but as always, Julia Quinn writes snappy, funny dialogue that makes for a fast, fun read, although it's marred by a predictable plot without much conflict.
mt256 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just Like Heaven is the first book I've read by Julia Quinn. I read somewhere that Julia Quinn is a modern day Jane Austen. That description alone peaked my interest in this novel. After reading the summary I knew I needed to read this novel. Just Like Heaven is set in regency times. The story centers around Honoria Smythe-Smith and Marcus Holroyd. Honoria is desperate to be married. She is determined to be married by the end of the season. Marcus Holroyd is the Earl of Chatteris. His best friend is Honoria's brother, Daniel. When Daniel is forced to leave England under scandalousness circumstances, Marcus vows to watch over Honoria. Marcus and Honoria have known each other for so long, their relationship resembles that of a brother-sister. However now that they're not children anymore they begin to see one another in a different light. I adored these two characters. Their banter is hilarious. Honoria has the habit of saying what ever is on her mind. She's a delightful character with a great sense of humor. I also love her devotion to her family. Marcus is a bit shy but I like his affinity for anything sweet and his sense of humor as well.Just Like Heaven is a witty story full of humor, love and a very bad musical performance. This is the first book in the Smythe-Smith series. If you're a fan of regency romances this is a book is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I definitely want to read more about the Smythe-Smiths. I also need to acquaint myself with her other novels and her other well-known characters the Bridgeton's.
bookworm2bookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I reviewed this book for Romance Reader At Heart websiteRRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS: Julia Quinn¿s fans are all familiar with her annual Smythe-Smith Musicales, so this book is a must for us. However, if this is your first book by this author, you just might miss the long-running joke that the music performed by the sisters had the ton cringing for a very, very long time.Honoria Smythe-Smith is a part of a large family, while Marcus Holroyd, the Earl of Chatteris, is not. She¿s sweet and sincere; he¿s shy and very lonely. Being an only child who grew up with no affection or the kind of family dynamics that the Smythe-Smiths have, Marcus gravitated towards them and they welcomed him.As life takes them in and out of each others¿ lives, neither is aware of the deeper connection until Daniel, her brother, leaves home and asks Marcus to watch out for her. And that¿s when Marcus finally sees her as a beauty and not just a kid that always tagged along after them. After an accident, our hero is left near death, and our heroine is left taking care of him. This is where they both realize the depth of their feelings for each other. The banter between the two was so real and just a pure joy to read.This book had everything you¿d expect Julia Quinn to give us: a very realistic and believable plot, quick pace, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but you also just might shed a tear or two. It goes without question that Ms. Quinn has penned yet another well written, sweet and heartwarming romance. Her fans will not be disappointed by this story, while her new readers just might run out and buy her earlier novels.Melanie