Release Date: May 29, 2012
Source of my e-galley: publisher
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #2**
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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…
Although I've read a couple of books by Julia Quinn in the past, she is not an author I often read. Her romance novels are more on the light, fluffy side and mild in the "steam" level whereas I prefer my romance novel reads with lots more angst and on the hotter end of the steam level. However, I was inspired to pick up A Night Like This after seeing a Q&A video featuring the author and I thought I'd give her newest a try.
Overall, it was just an okay read for me. The pacing was uneven: nothing really big happened in the first two-thirds of novel and the plot only picked up once the villain and his intentions were revealed.
What I liked:
Daniel Smythe-Smith. He was exiled after a foolish duel where he accidentally shoot his friend in the leg, permanently disabling him. On the day he returned to London, he met Anne Wynter and falls for her. As a reader, you get to know Daniel right away and he was an all-around nice guy. He really loves his family and he was very patient in getting Anne to open up.
Harriet, Elizabeth and Frances: The true stars of the novel were Daniel's cousins, the three Pleinsworth girls Anne was the governess for, Harriet, Elizabeth and especially unicorn-obsessed Frances. They were funny and stole every scene they were in.
The dialogue and banter between the characters.
The fact that we readers don't know whether the villain was from Daniel's past or from Anne's past and who he was truly after.
The moment Daniel sees Anne, he fell for her. This is just me, but I am not a fan of "love at first sight" type of meeting between the hero and the heroine.
I would've liked to see a relationship develop between Anne and Daniel's mother. I haven't read the first book in the series so there might've been interactions between Anne and Daniel's mom there but I thought there would be some hesitance on the mom's part when it came to Anne for Daniel. I mean, the family know nothing about her and she obviously has a past that Daniel is now caught up in too. I just thought since she just got her son back, there would be more of a reaction on her part than just insta-acceptance.
Some scenes were dragged out more than they should have been, like the scenes where Daniel, Anne and the Pleinsworth girls were chatting at the breakfast table or the reading and acting out a play written by Harriet. The scenes, although fun and I enjoyed them, were overly long and didn't add to or move the plot.
A Night Like This was an okay read. Like I said, it's not my type of romance novel but I was entertained by the story despite my issues. It has the signature Julia Quinn charm and fun dialogue/banter and I think fans for Julia Quinn will devour it right quick.
**A Night Like This is the second book in the Symthe-Smith quartet but you do not need to read the first book to enjoy this one.