A Night Like This
Grade : B

Julia Quinn is dependable when it comes to light-hearted, sweet Regencies. I am happy to say that A Night Like This is no exception. Is this great literature? Nah. But it doesn’t have to be, nor does it pretend to be. It is simple and fun and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Daniel Smythe-Smith had a card game go bad that ended in a duel between he and one of his close friends. When everything went haywire, the Marques of Ramsgate swore vengeance on Daniel for injuring his son. With no other option open to him, Daniel fled England and spent three years just trying to stay alive.

Now back in England, he arrives home in time to see his family’s annual musicale. But something odd is going on. Only his cousins and sisters should be a part of the fiasco, but the beautiful woman at the piano is definitely not a relative. She is a woman who captivates him from the beginning. Finding out that Anne Wynter is his cousin’s governess doesn’t stop him the way it should, though. All he knows is that after three years, when he first looks into Anne’s eyes, he feels like he is home and he doesn’t want to give up that feeling.

Anne and Daniel have some serious skeletons in their closets. Though Daniel knows that Anne has secrets, he doesn’t push her to share them. One thing that I loved about this book is that though Daniel, as her employer’s titled nephew, could very much take advantage of his position of power over her, the story never falls back on that or uses it as a plot device. The relationship grows as the two spend time together, with his three young cousins, Frances, Elizabeth, and Harriet. And if the chapters that have him acting out a part in Harriet’s latest playwriting attempt (The Sad Strange Tragedy of Lord Finstead) don’t have you laughing, then nothing will.

One of the funniest things is that when accidents start happening and it is clear that someone is trying to kill them, both Anne and Daniel think that they are the targets. Since both have people swearing to see them hang, it takes a bit for them to untangle who the culprit might be. With a few near death experiences, they realize that they are in love and that the whole business of her being a governess can be overcome. As in the first Smythe-Smith book, Daniel’s mother, Lady Winstead, is charming and agreeable and clearly interested only in her children’s happiness. Marcus, as Daniel’s best friend since childhood, stays true to character in this book and the secondary characters are as charming as the primary ones.

As Quinn writes more and more, I have to say she is becoming a real favorite of mine. Though some of the Bridgerton novels overuse some of the same obligatory Regency plots (marriages being forced by compromising positions, the debutante with the reluctant nobleman, etc.), I have to say that the Smythe-Smith books are doing a great job avoiding the same over used themes and plots and that is making this series a real favorite of mine. And honestly, from about page ten, Daniel had me hooked. Right from the start, he is charming and cute as a button. What governess wouldn’t risk it all to capture him? It is just a fantastic, fun read that will definitely leave you smiling.

Reviewed by Louise VanderVliet

Grade: B

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : May 16, 2012

Publication Date: 2012/06

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