First off—I’ve read a couple of books this week that were just awful! NOT THIS BOOK! I’ll get to this one in a minute. Anyway…these other couple of books were so bad that out of respect for the author, whom I happen to know personally, I can’t bring myself to review them. Both of these books were contemporary romances and the female leads were terrible! They were simpering, weak and stereotypical, yet the author kept telling us how strong they were. Just because you keep saying something, does not make it true! I’m tell you about this because I want you to understand where my head was at when I started this book.
This book, Just Imagine, had one the best heroines I’ve ever read in a romance! Kit Weston is a southern girl, but she is no belle. The story starts just after the Civil War when Kit, dressed as a boy (not a costume, but her every day clothes), travels to New York to kill the Yankee Bastard who is stealing her family’s plantation, Risen Glory, out from under her. She is skinny, dirty, swears like a sailor and detests all things girly. Her goal single focus is to get Risen Glory back and restore it to its pre-war prosperity.
Major Baron Cain, a Union Army war hero, is shocked to learn that his estranged mother has died and left him a South Carolina plantation and appointed him guardian of her step-daughter Kathryn Weston. He fully intends to shirk the responsibility for both the plantation and the girl onto someone else as soon as possible, but in a meeting where he discovers that his stable boy is actually the girl that he is in charge of, he finds himself intrigued by this filthy young woman. While Kit flat out hates Baron, she knows that he is her best chance at getting her land back. The two come to a reluctant truce. If she goes to a finishing school and learns how to be a proper woman, he will remain her guardian and will consider selling Risen Glory back to her once she gets her trust fund.
From here, the characters turn into Rhett & Scarlett with their love/hate relationship. While this is somewhat predictable, I loved the strength and uniqueness of Kit, the woman who wears britches and rides her horse astride in one scene and is the belle of the ball in the next. I loved her business sense and tenacity. Is this the best book Phillips has ever written, no—but it was very refreshing after the crap I’d been reading earlier in the week.
The things I didn’t care for… I hate the title!!!! Hey, titles are hard, I know, but what in the hell does this one have to do with the story? My problem here is that it is completely forgettable. If I ever find myself wanting to recommend this book to someone, I’m never going to remember it. NOT GOOD!
I also didn’t care for the ending. I can see that Phillips tried to give it a plot twist, but rather than make the ending interesting, but just seemed unbelievable.
According to the reviews of this book on Amazon, opinions of this book are all over the board. Maybe it was my mood, but I found myself enjoying this book. If you can put the similarities to Gone With The Wind out of your mind and just enjoy this book as it stands, it is quiet enjoyable.
Overall, I give Just Imagine…
Plot – 3 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks (while somewhat stereotypical, I appreciate the guts of a heroine who spends the first several chapters refusing to take a bath. That took guts to write & could have backfired.)
Love Story – 3 ½ bookmarks (typical love/hate thing, but I dig that sort of thing)
Historical Accuracy – 2 ½ bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Couldn’t help myself…Vivian Leigh (Kit), Michael Fassbender (Baron)