Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review & Tour: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

Title: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: The Rokesbys Series (Book Two)
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: ebook via Tasty Tours
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisWhile you were sleeping... 

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He's unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier's life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie...

I told everyone I was your wife 

When Edward comes to, he's more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he'd always assumed he'd marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true... 

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

Manhattan Island
July 1779

His head hurt.

Correction, his head really hurt.

It was hard to tell, though, just what sort of pain it was. He might have been shot through the head with a musket ball. That seemed plausible, given his current location in New York (or was it Connecticut?) and his current occupation as a captain in His Majesty’s army.

There was a war going on, in case one hadn’t noticed.

But this particular pounding—the one that felt more like someone was bashing his skull with a cannon (not a cannonball, mind you, but an actual cannon) seemed to indicate that he had been attacked with a blunter instrument than a bullet.

An anvil, perhaps. Dropped from a second-story window.

But if one cared to look on the bright side, a pain such as this did seem to indicate that he wasn’t dead, which was also a plausible fate, given all the same facts that had led him to believe he might have been shot.

That war he’d mentioned... people did die.

With alarming regularity.

So he wasn’t dead. That was good. But he also wasn’t sure where he was, precisely. The obvious next step would be to open his eyes, but his eyelids were translucent enough for him to realize that it was the middle of the day, and while he did like to look on the metaphorical bright side, he was fairly certain that the literal one would prove blinding.

So he kept his eyes closed.

But he listened.

He wasn’t alone. He couldn’t make out any actual conversation, but a low buzz of words and activity filtered through the air. People were moving about, setting objects on tables, maybe pulling a chair across the floor.

Someone was moaning in pain.

Most of the voices were male, but there was at least one lady nearby. She was close enough that he could hear her breathing. She made little noises as she went about her business, which he soon realized included tucking blankets around him and touching his forehead with the back of her hand.

He liked these little noises, the tiny little mmms and sighs she probably had no idea she was making. And she smelled nice, a bit like lemons, a bit like soap.

And a bit like hard work.

He knew that smell. He’d worn it himself, albeit usually only briefly until it turned into a full-fledged stink.

On her, though, it was more than pleasant. Perhaps a little earthy. And he wondered who she was, to be tending to him so diligently.

“How is he today?”

Edward held himself still. This male voice was new, and he wasn’t sure he wanted anyone to know he was awake yet.

Although he wasn’t sure why he felt this hesitancy.

“The same,” came the woman’s reply.

“I am concerned. If he doesn’t wake up soon...”

“I know,” the woman said. There was a touch of irritation in her voice, which Edward found curious.

“Have you been able to get him to take broth?”

“Just a few spoonfuls. I was afraid he would choke if I attempted any more than that.”

The man made a vague noise of approval. “Remind me how long he has been like this?”

“A week, sir. Four days before I arrived, and three since.”

A week. Edward thought about this. A week meant it must be... March? April?

No, maybe it was only February. And this was probably New York, not Connecticut.

But that still didn’t explain why his head hurt so bloody much. Clearly he’d been in some sort of an accident. Or had he been attacked?

“There has been no change at all?” the man asked, even though the lady had just said as much.

But she must have had far more patience than Edward, because she replied in a quiet, clear voice, “No, sir. None.”

The man made a noise that wasn’t quite a grunt. Edward found it impossible to interpret.

“Er...” The woman cleared her throat. “Have you any news of my brother?”

Her brother? Who was her brother?

“I am afraid not, Mrs. Rokesby.”

Mrs. Rokesby?

“It has been nearly two months,” she said quietly.

Mrs. Rokesby? Edward really wanted them to get back to that point. There was only one Rokesby in North America as far as he knew, and that was him. So if she was Mrs. Rokesby...

“I think,” the male voice said, “that your energies would be better spent tending to your husband.”


“I assure you,” she said, and there was that touch of irritation again, “that I have been caring for him most faithfully.”

Husband? They were calling him her husband? Was he married? He couldn’t be married. How could he be married and not remember it?

Who was this woman?

Edward’s heart began to pound. What the devil was happening to him?

Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and 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.

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

My new favorite historical romance book of the year!

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Cecilia has just made a decision that will have steep consequences. She lied and pretended to be the wife of a soldier. She had good reason, though. This man is the best friend of her missing brother, who she's desperate to find. So if pretending to be the captain's wife is what she has to do to stay close, she'll do it. He's unconscious anyway. What's the harm?

That is, until Edward wakes up to find the sister of his comrade standing over him. He's never met this woman but he knows her, from an exchange of letters. He wonders if he's dreamed her to life but is surprised to hear someone refer to Cecilia as his wife. Surely, he would remember marrying her, right?

That's when things start to get interesting. Edward's memory loss makes it impossible to know for sure if he did indeed marry Cecilia, though he certainly hopes that to be the case. And Cecilia needs the charade to go on for a while longer so she can find out the truth of what happened to her brother. But while she's tending to Edward and searching for her brother, Cecilia may just forget to protect her heart. 

I loved everything about this book. I would give it six suns, if I could. From the first page, I fell in love with our characters and my affection for them only grew as the story went along. I read this entire book in practically one sitting and couldn't put it down. I carried it to the bathroom, people. That's how much I enjoyed it.

The plot was one I've seen before but not in this way. The declaration of fake marriage wasn't done maliciously and it wasn't continued for selfish reasons. Not really. I could see Cecilia struggle with wanting to come clean and fighting her growing affection for her fake husband. And it was so sweet to watch her care for Edward when he needed her the most. The pacing was steady and wasn't filled with shocking or over-dramatic situations, which I think is why I liked it the most. It was believable.

The romance was so sweet and I swooned several times. I also teared up once or twice, too. My heart broke for Cecilia, knowing she was in a place where her secret coming out would have dire consequences. And Edward was such a likable character that I didn't want his heart to shatter, either. I ached right along with them.

But that ending? Woooo! That was a whole lot of fun. I am so glad that this didn't follow the typical romance novel formula. This was a roller coaster of emotion but there was a certain thread of hope there the entire time. I just knew it would work out. It had to. These two characters couldn't have been more right for each other.

In closing... 
I have to know how George and his new wife came to be, which is apparently the first story of this series. And I'm on pins and needles for Andrew's tale, too. This is my first Julia Quinn novel but it absolutely won't be my last! Five suns!

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