Review: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband – Julia Quinn

I love Julia Quinn (so much I traveled two times just to see her, and will travel again when she comes back to Brazil), and I have absolutely no doubt the Bridgerton series is one of my favorite series ever (don’t even need to mention I totally freaked out when I heard Netflix and Shondaland were working on a TV series!!!). The thing is: after the Bridgertons, I didn’t loooooove the other books as much as I loved the novels of the Bridgerton series (ok, I loved The Sum of All Kisses)… until The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband (the last book published here in Brazil).

Check out the sinopsys:

While 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.

Memory loss, the difficulty of communication, impulsive actions leading into a five-week trip… how can one not love historical romances? A cellphone would easily end all of the problems, but where would be the fun then, hum? After all, we read historical novels to escape reality – that, often enough, has no magic. And, as the title suggests, The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is magic!

Cecilia Harcourt lives, with her father, in Derbyshire… and since neither the place or the company are exciting, she spends a lot of her time writing to her brother – who is fighting in the colonies. And these correspondences allow Cecilia e Edward Rokesby to know each other (not in person, obviously), so the two of them starts exchanging mail themselves: with Edward adding a little something in the end of Thomas’ letters, and Cecilia writing back to him.

Everything is well enough until Cecilia’s father dies, and she finds herself before a terrible fate: marrying her cousin Horace. Besides, the latest news she had from her brother was a letter of a certain general informing the family that Thomas had been injured in combat. That’s what is on Cecilia’s mind when she jumps up into a ship and sails away towards the colonies.

When she arrives, she can’t find her brother… but finds one captain Edward Rokesby instead. A very injured and unconscious captain Edward Rokesby. And in order to look after him, Cecilia tells everyone that she’s his wife. She just didn’t expect that Edward himself would believe in her lie.

The situation, at first, makes no sense to Edward. He would remember his own marriage, right? His father was an earl, and even though he was not actually rushing out to the nearest altar, Edward knew marriage was inevitable. So how the hell did he end up married – by proxy! – with Cecilia Harcourt? A gentleman in it’s very essence, Edward has only one certainty: it appears that Cecilia really is his wife, and he must treat her as her position demands: which means a lot to Edward! So much that Cecilia, even though consumed with guilty, starts to imagine how great it would be if their marriage was real.

I think this is the first of Julia’s books that are not set in England, right? About it, I think the scenario was really well worked out (any english speaker to tell me if what I wrote is right? lol), and everything worked perfectly with the ‘random’ bits of information here and there (specially the military ones!!). But I was really curious to see how Julia would bring up a topic as sad as slavery – considering the comic vein of her novels. I can be wrong (I beg you to correct me), but I can only remember one passage where slavery is mentioned (page 41, brazilian edition). Not that I’m saying this as a criticism: no, no, no! That’s a creative choice and I truly respect it! I’m just mentioning it because maybe someone has the same thought.

And now I have a confession to make: even though I loved Cecilia, Edward is the main character here! For starters, we get to know him in Because of Miss Bridgerton. Besides that, I really thought Edward has a little bit of Colin Bridgerton on him (and Colin is and always will be my favorite Bridgerton… so much that I’m really available to portray Penelope Featherington on Netflix’s upcoming series… Just kidding… or not). Back to the point (the point being Edward Rokesby): in addition to all of his qualities (he’s one the good guys!), Edward is a soldier! And do I need to say anything about soldiers on the historical romances we love so much? I know there’s nothing romantic about a war, but what can I do if the imminence of danger makes everything so much hotter? lol.

Although I must say danger is not a decisive fact in this book. The main point, here, is Cecilia’s lie, which:

  1. Begins the story;
  2. Complicates Edward’s feelings, and
  3. Complicates what could’ve happen naturally.

Allow me to explain myself: Cecilia already had a crush on Edward before she sailed to US, and Edward already had some feelings for Cecilia. But they didn’t really knew each other! So Edward gets to know Cecilia believing they’re husband and wife – which means he has absolutely no intention of restrain any feelings of admiration (or love) he might be feeling. No need to say it has a very negative effect on Edward’s feelings when he gets his memories back.

But, please, do not condemn Cecilia so easily: she lies in a moment of despair, and has only the best intentions in mind. Plus: she’s strong, funny and smart in a way only Julia Quinn can create 😊

And now, before I go, let me show you the brazilian covers of the Rokesby series because… well, I’ll just show:

This is our version of Because of Miss Bridgerton

 

This is our The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

And this one below is our version of The Other Miss Bridgerton, but it hasn’t been published yet (and I’m crazy to put my hands on):

 

They’re gorgeous, right? But nothing less than Julia Quinn deserves 🙂

I hope you enjoyed,

With love, Roberta.

Posted by Roberta Ouriques

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