Title: The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband (Rokesbys #2)
Author: Julia Quinn
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
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…
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.
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
As with other Julia Quinn books, The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband had endearing storyline with solid tropes. Unfortunately, also like other books of Quinn’s, The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband is unmemorable, dull story that fails to enchant.
The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband follows Cecilia Harcourt. After the death of her father, she receives word that her brother has been injured while fighting in the war with the Colonies. With nothing to keep her tied to her small English town, she goes to the colonies to nurse her brother back to health. Upon her arrival, she finds that her brother is now missing and that her brother’s best friend Edward Rokesby, the man she’s been conversing with through her brother’s letters, is injured. She lies about being his wife in attempt to get more information about her brother. When Edward wakes and has memory loss, the sham continues.
Separate from the story, I enjoyed the tropes that Quinn used in The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband. I’m a big fan of the “meeting through letters” trope. I don’t think it is utilized enough in Romance, especially Historical Romance. I also enjoy anything related to the hero and the heroine being married and fake marriages when only one of them knows what’s fact from fiction. However, there wasn’t anything special about the tropes usage in the novel. When the story was focusing on their letters to each other, there were maybe a couple moments when I thought I could’ve loved Cecilia and Edward together, but they never managed to get beyond the “cute” stage.
That’s not to say Cecilia and Edward were bad together. They’re a nice couple and sweet individuals. But, that’s all I really think of them as. There in lies the problem. Julia Quinn writes cute, endearing couples but not “sweep me off my feet” couples. When I read romance I’m not looking for couples that are just cute. I’m looking for the high stakes, sweeping romance, not a hero and heroine that are “cute” together. I had the same problem with the previous book in the Rokesbys series, Because of Miss Bridgerton.
The plot was what sealed The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband’s 2 1/2 star rating because I expected a lot more from it. Cecilia’s brother goes missing during the war. There could’ve been intrigue surrounding it, and it would’ve been an amazing opportunity to get Cecilia and Edward to work together to go find him. Of course, that didn’t happen. The resolution of what happened to Thomas was extremely disappointing. It almost went in the direction of being interesting but then we were given a plot ending answer that Cecilia never learns the truth behind. After an entire book of wondering what happened to him, getting an answer so indeterminate felt like a waste of time.
If you like Julia Quinn, then you’ll probably enjoy this one I guess.