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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on January 25, 2004
It is different from her other books but it is still refreshing. You notice how all the other SEP's heroines proclaim their undying love at the middle of the book(except for honey moon) and the hero most of the time denies or even leave them, and sometimes it gets annoying coz u it's always the girl who do the job or it's kinda predictable, but dont get me wrong, i love them all, anyway, Just Imagine, being her first book, does not follow the pattern. Here, both main characters are denying their feelings toward each other... they keep trying to escape it: Kit using Risen Glory as the barrier, and Baron's memories of his childhood kept him from acknowledging his true feelings for KIt. Never until the end did the question of love was mentioned. This is one of the one-night-stand books where u can't let it go, coz u want to see when they will get along at last. And that's the main difference from this book and all the other phillips' books--the intimacy and affection just started at the last 5 pages of the book, which is fine by me, coz the ending is surely satisfying. Of course, just like a good philipp's novel, this is a story about family, love, God, and friendship.
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on June 9, 2002
and that's saying alot, because I've really enjoyed all of her books. Maybe I'm a sucker for a hero and heroine who try so hard not to fall for each other, but this story grabbed me from the beginning and refused to let me go until I finished it at 2 AM! Kit's transformation from stubborn tomboy to independent belle is surprisingly believable. I agonized with her as she struggled between her long-held dream to regain her land and her growing feelings for the man keeping that dream from her. Baron's fight to resist caring for a woman who could tie him down to a life he didn't know he wanted is equally compelling. I also enjoyed the sub-plot of the secondary characters, and found myself just as intrigued about their future as Kit and Baron's. Emotions here are too raw and edgy to be called "romantic", but the story is magnetic - the sexual tension runs high, the love scenes are steamy with just the right hint of tenderness. The satifying ending is not achieved easily, which is refreshingly realistic. This one will be kept and re-read often.
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on January 11, 2002
Even faithful readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips cannot imagine this book is a revised edition of her earlier effort in historical romances. An abrupt historical release from the primed contemporary romance queen firstly makes it a departure difficult for them to accept, let alone being embarrassed by the association with a literary classic GONE With the Wind.
Indeed Susan Elizabeth Phillips' latest has its fair share of glory. Using the Civil War and the struggle of the South and North as backdrop, she tells of a Southern lass, Kit Weston plotting murder on her Yankee guardian Baron Cain to reclaim her precious Risen Glory estate that is everything to her including Sophronia, her loyal maid. She is mistaken for a stable boy and is hired to serve Cain, which later when her identity is exposed, he threatens to sell away her estate if she refuses to enter an Academy for ladies. Years passed, Kit's vendetta with Cain is unsettled. As she matures into a woman, Cain is unexpectedly drawn to her and yields her into marriage. However, their pride will leave them at loggerheads. There is no fundamental love in their marriage institution - only desire. Cain, who is scared that he will end up like his father being taken advantage of by his mother sees Kit clinging onto him because of responsibilities - and not love. Though painful, their separation is imminent and inevitable for their stubborn hearts.
JUST IMAGINE attempts to stage a grand historical romance with slavery, clashes and racism. Yet the romance element is never quite fulfiling - Kit's wilfulness has made it difficult for any communication. Their departure in the middle of the book left them undeveloped and dry. Furthermore their love being contrived seemed pretentious and severed of emotions. Philips creates Kit to be strong and independent, yet simultaneously childish for her myopic view to be Cain's mistress in order to get back her estate. By the time she matures towards the epilogue, it seemed their love too late for redemption. The get-together far too hasty and unbelievable. In fact her secondary characters like Magnus and Sophronia shines luminously. Theirs is a love triumphed against discrimination - and how Sophronia convinces herself that Magnus is able to protect her with his love.
It is remarkable that historical accuracies are there but it unfortunately languishes into a dry read with undeveloped main characters and the passion is never quite on par with the throes of war. It leaves us only to imagine how ever could this book lack the sweeping passion that GONE WITH THE WIND has enchanted us with when the two are said to be in comparison.
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on December 9, 2001
JUST IMAGINE flows from the fertile imagination of romance fiction's queen, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. As such, it is the ultimate romance novel.
The reader must remember that romance novels follow a certain structure. There is only one primary plot, the heroine of that plot always is beautiful, there must be a happy ending. So it is more difficult rather than less for an author to stay within these limitations and still turn out a compelling novel.
Yet Ms. Phillips manages to pen a winner every single time one of her books hits the stockrooms of the retailers. The reason for this success is simple: The woman can write!
By the explanation in her foreward, JUST IMAGINE is the reworking of her first published novel, which was written at a moment in time when the ethics were different than now.
Nonetheless, even in this more moderate, politically correct version, no one creates sexual tension better than SEP, or sustains that conflict long past the point where the reader's interest should remain engaged.
With it, Ms. Phillips spins a fine yarn about the South in those immediate years after the Civil War. As Rhett Butler would have said, "Scarlet, JUST IMAGINE is a damn good read!"
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on November 27, 2001
Let me begin by saying that this is not a new book, but it’s not a reissue either. Ms. Phillips took her first solo book, revised and updated it, and Avon sent it back out to the purchasing public. Now, for those of you who hate buying a book you’ve read before, this is my last warning that you’ve read this book… well, okay, almost twenty years ago. But this warning comes with my usual caveat (don’t I always include one? <g>) that you’ve never read this book before. But this is a point I’ll address again after I do the usual stuff.

The War Between the States might be over for the rest of America, but it will never be over until Kit Weston kills a man. Dressed like a boy, she’s come to New York City to track down and kill Baron Cain, the man who’s inherited her South Carolina home. A man she’s never met yet he makes her blood boil to think that a Union hero could inherit the plantation she’s loved since birth. You see, Kit’s father married a woman who succeeded in banishing Kit to the slave cabins in the back. A woman who never wanted her own child, let alone the offspring of another woman. And the same woman who was given Kit's inheritance upon her father's death. Now that she's dead, she's left Risen Glory to her own child and not Kit. After waiting so long to finally get her hands on Risen Glory, Kit refuses to wait any longer. If she has to kill Baron Cain to get her land back, then so be it...(...)
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on November 17, 2001
Take Scarlet out of her curtains and put her in some boys' clothes and make Rhett a Yankee. That pretty much sums up the story between Kit Weston and Baron Cain.
Like Scarlet, the land is the only thing that Kit truly loves. Her father's plantation Risen Glory is Kit's legacy. Unfortunately, that legacy has been stolen from her by her step mother.
In shades of Cinderella, Kit's step mother has inherited Risen Glory and upon her death bed wills it to her son from a previous relationship.
Kit knows what she must do in order to inherit Risen Glory. She must kill her never before seen step brother, Baron Cain.
I have mixed feelings about this book - I neither loved it or hated it. On the one side, it is filled with cliches. Gone with the Wind is obvious. So is Cinderella. My Fair Lady is in there, too.
On the other hand, I enjoyed watching Kit grow up. She's so filled with hate and pride that it takes a long time for her to grow up. And she does a lot of mean spirited things in the process. But eventually, she does grow up.
Cain is very much the alpha male. Compared to him, all other male characters seem flat and unfinished.
Read it if you can - it's certainly a good book, but save your money and buy it used.
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on October 1, 2001
first things first: if this is your very first book you've read by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and you didn't like it - PLEASE don't give up on her books. She's an amazing author, full of wit and humor, has a super imagination and creates extremely exciting storylines. JUST IMAGINE was a satisfying read, SEP's only historical, and her very first novel. So you can imagine, that's probably why it doesn't fit up to her contemporary standards, or even up to your standards! Give it a try, if you like... i did, and i enjoyed the light read.
Read the book synopsis for the plot outline! Kit Weston is your everyday typical historical heroine... and she sure does remind me of Scarlet O'Hara. She's temper mental, stubborn at times, but definitely not one of those frilly-wily girls, and infact is very intelligent, witty and at the same time gorgeous. I can't agree more with the author, that Baron Cain was the perfect hero for Kit. He was the only one that was able to put a solid hand to her behavior and put up with her spoiled ways, (kinda reminds you of Rhett Bulter eh?) Set in the south, where the time period was a treat to read about, where the ladies were real feminine and the clothes and outfits were wonderful and fun to experience. Many interesting scenes, tons of arguments and sweet make-ups, and the ending was excellent! My favorite parts were when Kit was at boarding school, and SEP writes the transition of Kit from tomboy to a beautiful young lady. Very realistic, and another great part was when Baron sees Kit for the first time in 3 years, imagine his surprise! Well written by SEP.
so why 4-stars? maybe more in-depth characterization was required...more scenes between the hero and heroine that displayed true love, not lust then love, it could have been more convincing...and maybe after reading all of SEP's contemps, my standards were too high. I expected more of SEP's famous humour touch, but didn't find that many funny scenes in JUST IMAGINE. but all in all, it was a good read, and looks great in my SEP collection!
*must reads* her whole chicago football stars series - do not miss!!! ;)
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on September 30, 2001
What a treat to find a reissued, rewritten version of this classic historical from the "olden" days of romance! I had not read RISEN GLORY because I couldn't find it and so was delighted to have the opportunity to read it now.
And in a new, fresh form! Wow! Just imagine the fun! I love the characters and the dialogue, and it's such a hoot to read it and remember those days when I first started reading romances.
Because Ms. Phillips now writes contemporaries, it was a real treat to see her treatment of the "old" romance themes and characters, a privilege to see the early Phillips at work with her trademark talent and warmth.
Quite a trip back in time, and an endearing journey at that.
I know some of the aspects of those old romances are problematic now. I know the slavery situation is touchy, and yes, that's a weak word for such a huge, horrible time in our history. I'm not sure that any historical romance written in the '00's, could use those settings and situations. Though a lot of romances, probably too many, used the Old South as the setting of the romances from the 80's, it's just about off limits now for romantic fiction. It's an ugly, divisive aspect of our history. There's no way with our modern sensibility to make it palatable.
Because of the heroine's growth and changes, JUST IMAGINE, however, delicately skirts this issue and makes it understandable from the point of view of those days. A tough job, but Ms. Phillips has pulled it off. She has a light touch, a sensitivity that comes through.
In updating RISEN GLORY and turning it into JUST IMAGINE, Ms. Phillips has taken a classic and freshened it in the most delightful ways with her traditionally adorable, steel underneath the magnolia, heroine. And Baron? Hey, he makes my hormones buzz! But I'm a sucker for Ms. Phillips' heroes, whether in 19th century dress or modern garb!
This was just a total fun read, start to finish!
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on September 26, 2001
Susan Elizabeth Phillips never disappoints and this re-issue of her old historical novel, Risen Glory, is no exception. Fun and funny, with fantastic characters (as well as scene stealing secondary characters), Just Imagine is the perfect escape into a romantic adventure.
Kit Weston may be sent to charm school to reform her from a dirty, mistaken-for-a-boy, no-manners, scamp into a proper southern lady...but no amount of time in school will dull her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, generous heart and absolute spite for the Yankees. Unfortunately for her, it's a Yankee who has her keeping!
Enter Baron Cain, a rake who spends his life gambling and bedding gorgeous women, until he discovers that Kit and the plantation, Risen Glory, have been left in his care. While he quickly finds the hard work of putting the plantation back together in the wake of the war of independence a welcome distraction from a life which had become boring, preparing Kit for a life in society prooves too much for him. He sends her away to school, solving the short term problem of cleaning her up and making her presentable.
However, three years pass quickly and Kit returns to Risen Glory a full grown, astonishingly beautiful woman of grace and dignity...with the singular goal of reclaiming Risen Glory from Baron Cain.
Watching these two characters spar is well worth the price of the book -- Kit has some absolutely precious lines (and Baron Cain manages to get one or two digs in as well!). And as I said, the secondary characters are often scene stealers.
A wonderful read!
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on September 19, 2001
This historical, chronicling the stormy attraction between a Southern woman and a Yankee war hero, is actually a revision of RISEN GLORY published in 1984.
At the conclusion of the Civil War, Kit Weston travels from South Carolina to New York to kill the only man that stands between her and Risen Glory, the plantation that she stands to inherit upon his death. Major Baron Cain, Union “Hero of Missionary Ridge”, was deeded the plantation by his wayward mother, Rosemary, who also happened to be Kit’s stepmother.
Believing that Kit is a boy, Baron hires her to be his stable boy. When Cain discovers his mistake and learns her true identity, he decides to send Kit away to finishing school. Not only does Risen Glory belong to him, but, in a coincidence true only in romance novels, he is also Kit’s guardian.
Though Kit despises Baron, she agrees to do as he suggests. If not, he has promised that he will sell Risen Glory. But three years later, at the tender age of twenty-one, Kit returns to South Carolina to see the prospering of her plantation. Tension between Cain and Kit is like an electric storm, as they are constantly sparring amidst the sparks of attraction.
The cast of supporting characters are the condiments to this Yankee/Southern sandwich. There is Sophronia, a freed former slave and friend of Kit’s and Magnus, also a freed slave who is both friend and employee to Cain. And one could hardly forget the ever-proper Miss Dolly, Kit’s slightly batty, aging Southern belle chaperone.
In the tradition of the tension filled romance novel, Kit and Baron are the perfect protagonists, coming together in their moments of passion, though they are distant and constantly at each others’ throats any other time. Ms. Phillips weaves a delightful mix of tears, laughter, and passion into this memorable historical, another novel in her growing list of exceptional reads.
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