Monday, June 6, 2011

Just Like Heaven, by Julia Quinn

If you are familiar with Julia Quinn's series on the alphabetically named Bridgerton offspring, you are familiar with the infamous and dreaded Smythe-Smith musicales.  I always wondered at the women who comprised the Smythe-Smith quartet. Why would they subject themselves and their audience to those dreaded performances?  We get our answers in this new series.

The first is the story of Honoria Smythe-Smith, a daughter of the Earl of Winstead, a member of the quartet and most definitely not a virtuoso on the violin. She and her brother, Daniel, (now the Earl of Winstead after the passing of his father) have been life-long friends of Marcus Holroyd, the Earl of Chatteris. Marcus grew up motherless and alone, with an absent parent for a father.  Shy and friendless, Marcus is sent to Eton and, with no family to call his own, starts to spend holidays with the Smythe-Smiths, and Daniel, his new best friend. Honoria, the youngest sibling of the prolific Smythe-Smith family, tags along on all their adventures to Daniel's embarrassment and Marcus' amusement. As the trio grows older,  they each go their separate ways.  Marcus and Honoria's paths cross in London numerous times and when Daniel is forced to leave the country, he asks Marcus to watch over Honoria.

Honoria is entering her second year on the marriage mart and is desperate to get married and leave the quartet behind her. When she sets up a situation for a Bridgerton to notice her, what she gets is Marcus instead. And when his life is threatened by her actions, they both realize that they are far more to each other than life-long friends.

It was nice to revisit with some of my favorite characters from the Bridgerton series. We also get an explanation for how the musicales started and why the girls in the quartet stick with it, even though they know they should give it up for the good of the ton.

With no real purpose in mind except the enjoyment of the reader, Just Like Heaven fits the bill for a fun historical romance romp. Unlike the Smythe-Smith musicales, this book is by no means a hardship to get through.

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