Thursday, January 17, 2013

Title:        A Night Like This [Smythe-Smith Quartet #02] 
Author:     Julia Quinn
Rating:     ★★★1/2

12731293I was really looking forward to this book because the first book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet, Just Like Heaven, was just hilarious. But I found myself laughing less than I did, and not quite as enthralled with the book.

The plot summary is:

Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is...

But she's managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge— in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy— no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he's the first man who has truly tempted her, and it's getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger...

But that's not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family's annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she's a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending...

As in Just Like Heaven, the plot is already similar to so many other historical romance books. Governess with a secret past? Done. A son not expecting to fall in love and get married? Done. Thankfully, some twists to the plot, injected with minimal humor (which I was really looking for) have steered this story from becoming quite unbearable. Or perhaps it’s just Julia Quinn’s writing style that has saved this one from becoming one of my non-favorites.

Daniel Smythe-Smith is another one of those yummy-looking men who keep you wondering why they just can’t exist in real life. Broad shoulders, such gentlemanly manners, such devotion…I mean, really. Okay, moving on, he’s great. You know the type. If you’ve been reading historical romance as much as I have, I’m sure you get the idea.

Anne Wynter is, thankfully, not one of those missish types that I really dislike. She’s really capable, smart, and sooo patient. She would have had to, to be able to withstand Daniel’s adorable cousins! Plus, she really tried so hard to remember her station. She did not try to trap Daniel, and she put up efforts to evade Daniel’s relentless pursuit. You have to give plus points for that.

Other characters that have quite enlivened this story would be the cousins of Daniel. They’re funny, bright, dramatic, and has added to the injections of humor throughout the book. Other notable characters would be Daniel’s mother. I really liked her in the first book, but her appearance here quite confirms that she is a nice touch indeed.

I gave A Night Like This less stars than I expected to because it really felt short of my expectations. Should I not have had expectations when I read a book? I can only do so when I am reading from a new author, but Julia Quinn is an old favorite, and I know that she can be quite humorous. That is mainly my reason for not enjoying the book because I know that it could have been funnier. Also, the ‘chick lit’ feeling which I had in the first book was gone. I felt like this was a historical romance book through and through. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, oh I don’t know, I quite enjoyed the light-hearted feeling of Just Like Heaven, while still being historical and infused with dashing men.

I have to move on, though, and I am still anticipating the third book, The Sum of All Kisses, which does not have a description/plot summary yet. But it’s coming out this June, and hopefully it’s better than this.



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