Author: Julia Quinn

THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND by Julia Quinn

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND by Julia QuinnThe Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesby #2
Published by Avon Genres: Historical

When she receives word that her brother has been injured on the battlefield in the Colonies, newly orphaned Cecilia Harcourt does the only thing she can do: pack her bags, flee her oily cousin trying to coerce her into marriage, and spend her savings coming to America to take care of her brother.  But when she arrives in New York, it’s not her brother she finds in the hospital, but his best friend, Edward Rokesby.  Edward is injured and unconscious and Cecilia is determined to help him.  To do so, she has to tell one little lie: that she’s his wife.  She doesn’t expect Edward to awaken with no knowledge of the last three months of his life.  He knows who she is and believes it when he’s told they’re married.  With no leads on her brother and an injured, kind man who needs her, Cecilia decides to temporarily carry on her charade.  But the longer she’s around Edward, the harder it is not to slip into the fantasy that she’s his wife.  She knows she can’t lie to him forever, but what will happen when the truth comes out?

 

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a bit of a difficult book for me to review.  Julia Quinn is one of my favorite authors and though this is a solidly-written book, it lacks Ms. Quinn’s signature vibrancy.  Part of this is due to the setting – Revolutionary War America, even away from the battlefront, doesn’t lend itself to witty banter or cheerful antics – but part of the problem is that nothing much happens in this story.  It’s the story of a good woman in a hard situation who is forced to lie, and the good man who is tricked as a result.

 

I won’t say The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a bad book, for it isn’t.  Cecilia and Edward are caring, likeable people who clearly make a good match.  But the most engaging part of their romance comes from the excerpts of letters they started to exchange through Cecilia’s brother months before our hero and heroine ever met.  Those tiny bits at the beginning of each chapter were, for me, the liveliest bits of the book.  The rest of the story was fairly slow and uneventful and this is the first time ever that I had no problem putting a book of Ms. Quinn’s down.  As I said before, it’s not a bad book; it’s a sweet, if slightly muted romance, and perhaps it would have worked better for me in a novella format.  Even though The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband wasn’t my particular cup of tea, the ending left me satisfied with Edward and Cecilia’s happily ever after and I’m incredibly anxious to read Andrew Rokesby’s book.

THE SECRETS OF SIR RICHARD KENWORTHY by Julia Quinn

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
THE SECRETS OF SIR RICHARD KENWORTHY by Julia QuinnThe Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith #4
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
ReviewedbyShayna

Sir Richard Kenworthy needs to find a wife, and he needs to do it in less than a month.  Though he hopes to find someone he can have a decent life with, Richard knows he can’t be too picky.  Then he spots Iris Smythe-Smith trying to hide behind her cello at her family’s musicale and he knows he’s found the perfect woman to suit his plans.  Now if only he can get her to marry him quickly without asking too many questions…

 

Iris Smythe-Smith is no fool.  She knows Richard is hiding something, but for once she has met a man who not only sees her, he seems to actually like and understand her.  Still, after a lifetime of being overlooked she doesn’t quite trust his motives.  Then Richard forces them into a compromising position, and Iris has no choice but to marry him.  Though she doesn’t understand his actions, Iris truly believes she has a chance at happiness with her new husband.  Then Richard’s true reason for needing a wife comes to light, threatening to break their fragile bond forever…

 

Julia Quinn knows how to pen stories that are fun, charming, and impossible to put down.  The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy isn’t quite Ms. Quinn’s usual fare, but thanks to the author’s talent, the pages of the story do fly by.

 

Iris Smythe-Smith is a gem.  She’s a smart, quiet woman with a quick wit who generally blends into the background.  You want to see her shine and get the attention such a compelling heroine should get.  Simply put, Iris is easy to love.  She’s no saint, but that only makes her an even better heroine and it’s impossible not to root for her to get the love she deserves.  When Richard first courts her, even though you know it’s because he’s using her, the two of them are so delightful together it’s easy to be swept away by their banter.

 

However, some of the shine soon wears off of The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, and that’s due to the hero.  All the internal flagellation in the world doesn’t make up for the fact that he locks in on Iris from the start in order to use her.  The ends may justify the means in his mind, but it won’t in anyone else’s.  His secret – the reason for him marrying Iris – seems pretty obvious from the start, and if this plotline hadn’t dragged on for so long, I might have liked Richard a lot more.  Ms. Quinn does a good job of showing that he isn’t a bad man, but that doesn’t make him a great hero.  And Iris really deserved a great hero.  I’m afraid I can’t say more about Richard without spoiling the story, so suffice it to say it would have been nice had there been a bit more to him that I could have latched on to so that his negative qualities (lying and manipulation) weren’t so stark.

 

It’s a testament to Ms. Quinn’s skill as a writer that even though I had issues with Richard I was entertained by The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy.  Ms. Quinn makes even the most serious of her books feel light on their feet and I devoured this story in one day.  Even though this is the final book in the Smythe-Smith quartet, I do hope that Ms. Quinn returns to the supporting characters one day, because after the all-too-brief appearances of the comical Winston Bevelstoke and the unicorn-obsessed Frances Pleinsworth, I am desperately hoping these two get books of their own.

THE SUM OF ALL KISSES by Julia Quinn

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Source: Publisher
THE SUM OF ALL KISSES by Julia QuinnThe Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn
Published by HarperCollins on 2013-10-29
Genres: Historical
Reviewed by Shayna

He thinks she's an annoying know-it-all Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, even if Hugh did grow to enjoy her company, it wouldn't matter. A reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now, unable to run, ride, or even waltz, he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.She thinks he's just plain mad Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought three years earlier, the one that forced her cousin into exile, nearly destroying her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But when the pair is forced to spend a week in close company, they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless.

Hugh Prentice has no patience for theatrics, which should be enough to turn him off of Lady Sarah Pleinsworth.  If it weren’t, the fact that she declares she hates him and that he ruined her life would do it.  After all, it’s Hugh’s own life he ruined – and the life of Sarah’s cousin Daniel Smythe-Smith – thanks to a reckless accusation followed by a duel that ruined Hugh’s leg and forced Daniel to flee the country.  Now that Hugh’s done his best to make things right with Daniel, he’s found himself a guest at not one, but two Smythe-Smith weddings.  That alone wouldn’t be a problem, but the weddings have thrown Hugh together with Sarah.  The more time the two spend around one another, the closer they become, to the surprise of both.  Fate seems to have a cruel sense of humor, for the one woman Hugh shouldn’t want is fast becoming the one to capture his heart.

 

A brilliant mathematician, an outspoken heroine, and Julia Quinn’s trademark humor all come together to create a charming read.  Despite their initial wariness (on his part) and dislike (on hers), Sarah and Hugh are a great match and their chemistry keeps The Sum of All Kisses afloat, even through the surprisingly slow-paced first half of the story.  I’m a bit conflicted about The Sum of All Kisses, for as much as I liked it (and I did), the slowness of the first half of the book and the confrontation with the villain at the story’s climax left me strangely hollow.  Some of Ms. Quinn’s usual magic is missing from this book.  That being said, once Sarah and Hugh begin to fall in love, The Sum of All Kisses takes off and readers are treated to the sigh-worthy romance Ms. Quinn is famous for.

 

The Sum of All Kisses is the third book in the Smythe-Smith quartet, but it can easily be read as a standalone.  Honoria and Daniel (of Just Like Heaven and A Night Like This) do play strong supporting roles, and it was lovely to see both of their weddings.  Speaking of family, Sarah’s sisters definitely threaten to steal the show in The Sum of All Kisses.  Ms. Quinn had me laughing out loud at the younger Pleinsworths’ antics, and though this series is supposed to be a quartet, I do hope we get to revisit Harriet, Elizabeth, and especially Frances when they’re older.  Whether or not they do, I’m eager to see where Ms. Quinn takes the Smythe-Smith family next.

 

Note: If you also happen to be a fan of Eloisa James, you’ll be happy to learn that Once Upon a Tower heroine Edith gets a nod in The Sum of All Kisses.

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