June 13, 2012

Book Review: A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

At First Sight: After three years in forced exile, Daniel Smythe-Smith, Earl of Winstead is quite happy to be back in England, and it just happens that his returns falls on the day of the infamous Smythe-Smith musicale, which is currently being held at his house.

Not wanting to draw all the attention to himself, he decides to wait and just watch the proceedings without being seen. And so, he ends up noticing the woman playing the piano at the musical, and he's very surprised to realize she is not one of his endless parade of female cousins. More over, it only takes him a heartbeat to be smitten with her. 

Anne Wynter is quite happy with her position as governess to the younger Pleinsworth girls -Harriet, Elizabeth and Frances - even if she's being forced to play the piano at a notoriously bad musicale. She isn't happy to discover she's being watched by an unknown man, and she's even less happy when she discovers the man is actually Lord Winstead, the Pleinsworth's cousin.

With quite a few secrets that she wants to keep to herself, Anne knows it's not a good idea to tangle with Daniel, much as she finds him rather handsome and his smile does funny things to her. But the more he endeavors to be around her, the harder is for her to resist.

Second Glance: I'm leaving a few thins out of this summary because I don't want to spoil the fun, though I kind of figure out who the bad guy was early on. But still, far be it for me to spoil.

Anyway, I loved A Night Like This. I found Daniel and Anne to be very likable, and lovable people. I so wanted them to be happy from the very beginning. They have both made mistakes in the past, so they don't hold the other's mistakes against them. 

And they are so smitten with each other. I really can't think of another word for it. Daniel gets all tongue-tied when he first sees Anne and I love how he gets to know her by actually spending time with her - and with his cousins. They talk and laugh together -and really some of their scenes together were just so funny, they were both such good sports. 

That being said, I have to admit I liked this book a little less than Just Like Heaven. And I had a few problems with it too. First, I found it odd how little time Daniel spent with his mother, sister and best friend - he has just come back from 3 years in exile and he barely spends time any of them - much as I loved seeing him spend time with Frances, Harriet and Elizabeth (even if she did get lost in the middle of her sisters personalities). 

Second, I didn't like the Sarah and Lady Pleinsworth. Sarah wasn't very nice and Lady Pleinsworth was annoying and flighty. And this bums me out because I'm pretty sure I'll see more of them both in future books - it's entirely likely Sarah will be a heroine in another book in the series. 

On the other hand, I loved seeing what little there was of Marcus in this book -I just love me a dependable guy who also happens to be a good friend. And I so loved Hugh Prentice, he's a bit nuts but I loved him. Oh, and Frances rocks! 

Bottom Line: When I think about A Night Like This the first word that comes to mind is "Lovely" because this truly was a lovely book. It was so much fun to read, and I genuinely cared for the characters. This book just made me so happy, and it had all the things I really love about Julia Quinn's writing. 

Favorite Quote: First one....
Miss Wynter regarded Harriet. Then she regarded Daniel. And then, as he began to feel rather like a lamb to slaughter, she turned back to Harriet and asked, “Did you bring your plays with you?”

“Of course. I never go anywhere without them.”

“You never know when you might have the opportunity to have one staged?” Elizabeth said, somewhat meanly.

“Well, there is that,” Harriet replied, ignoring her sister’s dig or (and Daniel thought this was more likely) simply not noticing it. “But the big fear,” she continued, “is fire.”

He knew he shouldn’t inquire, but he just could not stop himself. “Fire?”

“At home,” she confirmed. “What if Pleinsworth House burned to the ground while we are here in Berkshire? My life’s work, lost.”

Elizabeth snorted. “If Pleinsworth House burns to the ground, I assure you that we will have far bigger worries than the loss of your scribblings.”

“I fear hail myself,” Frances announced. “And locusts.” 

Second one:
“You are a bloody madman,” Daniel said.

“Or,” Hugh said plainly, “I’ve never been in love. It does leave one more clearheaded.” He motioned to his gun. “Better aim, too.” * 
starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

*slightly edited 'cause of spoilers!

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