by Karen Robards

Septemeber 1993
ISBN: 0-446-30057-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

In a bizarre chain of events, that Robards somehow makes believable, Jewel Combs finds herself married to the cousin of the Earl of Mooreland and widowed all in the same day. Since Jewel has grown up on the streets of London scrounging for every bite of food and picking pockets to survive, she now seizes the opportunity to better herself. Unfortunately, this means throwing herself on the mercy of the Earl, Sebastian

Sebastian doesn't quite know what to make of Jewel. From her rough manners and Cockney accent to her scraggly looks, she doesn't seem like the kind of woman his cousin would marry. He knows that somehow she is involved in his cousin's death and he means to find out exactly what part she played in it. He sees the challenge of transforming Jewel into Julia Stratham as the perfect opportunity to discover what happened. Anything he can do to annoy his mother is an added bonus, and his mother definitely isn't happy having Julia around.

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Sebastian seems to be cold, untouchable and always in control. Julia is hot-tempered and quick to speak and act. They appear to have nothing at all in common, but we find that they are more alike than what meets the eye. What starts out as friendship soon blossoms into something more - something that neither one thinks is possible to pursue given their differences in backgrounds.

It was so entertaining reading how ugly duckling Jewel turned into the swan Julia. There are some really hilarious moments along the way, so be warned that you may get some curious looks from your family because of the many times you need to stop and laugh. Along with the comical side, there are many serious aspects to the story that touch your heart. There is a mysterious killer to add some suspense to Loving Julia, but it was rather easy to pinpoint who this was right way. Even though the element of surprise wasn't there at the end, it didn't dull my enjoyment of the story at all.

Loving Julia is so well written that I felt sad when Julia was sad, fear when she was afraid, but most of all, I fell in love with Sebastian right along with her. When I reached the end, I wanted to start all over from the beginning - it's that good! Loving Julia made me realize all over again why I read romance and that there really are books out there that touch your heart and stay with you long after you have finished reading them.

Reviewed in August 2001 by Nicole.

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