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Just Like Heaven

by Julia Quinn

genre: historical romance

Just Like Heaven by Julia QuinnI’m closing in on the end of my A-Z author challenge with only five letters to go. Looking through the thread for Q authors, I found historical romance novelist Julia Quinn. After two disappointing novels, Just Like Heaven had me laughing nearly every chapter and hitting the steering wheel crying, “Yes, yes, yes.” Completely cliche, guy falls on top of girl and they kiss moments, but I loved it. You don’t read romance novels for a surprise. Romance novels by definition have to have a happy ending.

Summary from Audible

Honoria Smythe-Smith is:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed “Bug” as a child
C) not in love with her her older brother’s best friend
D) all of the above

Marcus Holroyd is:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend’s younger sister
D) all of the above

Together they:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever
C) fall quite desperately in love

It’s Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is…

D) all of the above


While the last two books I’ve reviewed have been slow starts, Just Like Heaven had me in a fit of giggles from the first chapter. I never cried, or maybe I did, I’ll never tell! I have a weak spot for romance, especially the cliche stuff.

If you’re looking for an action thriller or a novel filled with vampires and love triangles, Just Like Heaven is not for you. I’m guessing 50% of the book happens in a single room, our hero delirious with fever and fighting for his life. It’s a very relationship based story-line. Each character has a vivid and distinct personality, even the minor ones. You sympathize with them, you fear them, pretty sure if I were to ask Quinn what each of their favorite colors are or what type of underwear they wear, she wouldn’t have to think before answering. I could be friends with these women. I could gossip about the men. I would want to return to my own time immediately after, but you get the idea. Quinn’s characters are living breathing people, more than characters in a book.

Things I Learned

  • Definition of touchstone.

“You’re my touchstone,” one character said to the other. I could tell it was a complement, most likely romantic in some way, but I didn’t know what it was. The first definition was unhelpful.

noun. a piece of fine-grained dark schist or jasper formerly used for testing alloys of gold by observing the color of the mark that they made on it.

The second definition was the “ooooh,” moment.

noun. a standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized.

I love historical romance. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era, but then I imagine life without indoor plumbing, but I digress. Men just spoke differently to women then (in fiction at least). My Prince Charming (I’ll settle for a Lord) wouldn’t be as brooding as Marcus, but he would say things to me like, “I was only looking at you,” and tell me that I am the woman against which all others are judged. Swoon.

  • I appreciate the modern era, particularly modern medicine.

I’ve always been thankful for toilets, clothes that I can get in and out of myself, and that I have full faith in doctors to actually cure me of 99% of anything I could reasonably catch. Let’s face it, Ebola is in that 1%, but I don’t have to worry that I’ll die from a gash on my leg.

You might like Just Like Heaven if:

  • You liked Pride and Prejudice
  • You enjoyed the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • You prefer stories built on character relationships rather than events in the character’s lives

5 out of 5 stars

-Eliabeth Hawthorne

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