Saturday, September 08, 2012

Week-End's Minis XXIII: A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
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...
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet, Book #2

What do you need to know? Daniel Smythe-Smith has escaped to the Continent after he severely injured his friend Hugh Prentice in a duel where the two men were drunk. Hugh's father, Marquess of Ramsgate, took his son's injury really badly and threatened Daniel's life, hence the exile. However, after having the reassurance that his life is no longer in danger, Daniel can finally come home... right in time for the Smythe-Smith musicale! How lucky for him LOL. During the musicale, Daniel spies Anne Wynter, his cousins' governess, and he is instantly attracted and intrigued by the woman. Anne is not immune to Daniel's charms either; however, she's been in hiding for so long, she does not dare let her guard down. Especially after she gets news that her past might be after her once again. And when there is an attempt on Daniel's life, they have to consider from which camp it comes from...

Why this book? Ms Quinn is on my list of auto-buy authors, enough said right? But also, I like the concept of this quartet :)

What didn't work? I usually start with what I liked of the book first, but in this case, I felt it made more sense to start with my issues with the book. A Night Like This is basically a "love at first sight" romance and sometimes, they work and sometimes, they don't. In this case, it didn't mainly because I felt Daniel and Anne did not get to know each other. I can buy love at first sight, two persons connecting instantly, but afterwards, the romance still needs to be developed and to me, it didn't really happen. Yes, Daniel and Anne actually spent time together, but it was not enough to really understand one another - at least, not the important stuff. In fact, it all felt a bit superficial ^_^; Also, while I liked that Daniel spent time with Anne, I couldn't help but wonder after two years of absence, didn't Daniel have more pressing things to do than hang out with his cousins to court their governess? At the end of the day, the romance was bland and did not work for me and neither the intrigue, which had a lot to do with Anne's past. The intrigue was simply boring and a bit far-fetched in my opinion, especially when it came to Daniel's life. I think A Night Like This could have done without the intrigue and only focus on the romance, that would had worked better.

What did I like? I did enjoy Ms Quinn's writing and the light tone of the book :) I loved Daniel's three younger cousins - they were hilarious. I actually had a lot of LOL moments, especially when they acted out Harriet's play. The barbs on their musical talents were also very funny :) That's why I think the intrigue was unnecessary, it just didn't blend in well with the feel of the book. To me, clearly, the strength of A Night Like This was the interactions between all the different characters and I wished for more, especially the men. I wished there had been more scenes between Daniel, Marcus and Hugh. By the way, I quite liked Hugh's character and I can't wait to read his book next year.

My Grade? I originally gave A Night Like This a B-, but I think that was way too generous. Looking back, I think a C is more like it. It just feels like it's been a while since Ms Quinn delivered a great book and unfortunately, A Night Like This wasn't it. It did have its moments, but overall, it was not very memorable.