Book review: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Ever since Georgette Heyer penned her best-selling Regency romances, the ‘goings-on’ of the Georgian period have held a special fascination for women readers.

Monday, 4th July 2011, 7:00 am

And now it’s Julia Quinn’s turn to find a firm and comfortable footing amongst the fast-living fashionable set of England’s greatest and grandest houses.

Her clever and light-hearted novels contain passion, intrigue and humour in equal measures making them the perfect escape for girls who want to find fun in the early 19th century’s risqué romances.

Comedy is the key to Quinn’s continuing success and there is certainly plenty to enjoy in the enchanting tale of Lady Honoria Smythe-Smith and her desperate search for a husband to avoid the unenviable fate of being ‘left on the shelf.’

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Honoria is the youngest daughter of the eldest son of the Earl of Winstead, part of the embarrassing Smith-Smythes, and plays the violin in the annual musicale performed by the family quartet.

She is well aware that they are dreadful. In fact, she freely admits (to her cousins) that she is probably the worst of the bunch but she’s the sort who reckons that nothing good will come of being mortified so she puts on a jolly good show and laughs about it.

Secretly though she is worried that at 21 and a veteran already of the London season, she will soon be considered too old to marry. It doesn’t help that every time a young man seems on the cusp of a proposal, his interest mysteriously vanishes at the eleventh hour.

Marcus Holroyd, son of Lord and Lady Chatteris, is the best friend of Honoria’s brother Daniel, who was exiled to Italy with a death warrant on his head after winning a duel.

Marcus has promised Daniel to watch out for Honoria and takes his responsibility very seriously but he has his work cut out for him when Honoria sets off for Cambridge determined to marry by the end of the season.

She has got her eye on the only unmarried Bridgerton boy, who’s a bit wet behind the ears, so when her advances are spurned, can Marcus swoop in and steal her heart in time for the big musical night?

An addictive mix of sparkling dialogue, tender romance and moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity give the adventures of Honoria and Marcus a light touch and a lively pace.

Regency romps for the 21st century woman...

(Piatkus, paperback, £7.99)