Title: A Night Like This
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #2
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical, Regency
Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies 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 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. 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 . . .
Both Janon and Bryony reviewed this book. Bryony’s review is first and then Janon’s.
This is the second book of Julia Quinn’s latest series, the spin-off books from The Bridgertons. And although I hate to say it, I think I’m going to have to take Julia Quinn off of my autobuy list with this book.
Some of my all-time favorite romance books–the ones that will always have a place on my keeper shelf–are books by Julia Quinn. (The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman, When He Was Wicked…and beyond Bridgerton books, how about Minx, Brighter Than the Sun, Everything and the Moon, etc?) But toward the end of The Bridgerton series and the majority of the books afterward, I began to realize that the Julia Quinn writing I had originally fallen in love with had undertaken a change. Unfortunately, A Night Like This has confirmed this for me yet again, and sadly I feel like I just may have grown up too much as a reader to enjoy Julia Quinn’s writing anymore–that is, the writing as it is now.
Usually I enjoy Julia Quinn’s quirky humor and witty banter, but although there was some of both in this book, neither could really make me overlook that there just didn’t seem to be anything happening in the story. Of course, there was something happening–in most books something occurs–but in my opinion the pace was so slow and the conflict seemed so forced as to make the book drag on and on and on. I very much enjoyed and appreciated several parts in the book where either the hero or heroine did something or thought something romantic, but at the same time I felt like we were just told that they were supposed to like each other and fall in love; I never actually saw this happen to such an extent that the stakes of their relationship really meant anything to me.
As I mentioned above, there was something happening in this book–although it didn’t seem like it at times–and really most of the conflict centered around the heroine’s past and the villain from said past. The villain, in my opinion, was over the top and his placement in the book seemed to be only used as a plot device to make it a full-length novel.
Please understand that my intention in this review is not to be harsh or unfairly critical; after letting the story settle in my mind, these are just my opinions as a reader. And yes, while I was expecting more because I have loved so many of JQ’s books in the past, I’m still sad to have to say that because of this book, I will be going on a JQ hiatus for quite a while now.
Grade: C+ Reviewer: Bryony
First off Julia Quinn is probably my all time favorite historical author, so I jumped at the chance to review this book. For you JQ fans, this is the 2nd book in her Smythe-Smith Quartet. The Smythe-Smith family is famous for hosting musicals that feature their extremely bad musicians of daughters. The musicals started in the Bridgerton series (by the way is my favorite historical series) as kind of a joke and has continued on.
This book takes place the same time as Marcus and Honoria’s book (Just Like Heaven). But as like any historical romance it can be read as a stand alone. This is one thing about this book that I loved – it made me want to go back and reread Just Like Heaven. Daniel the hero in this book is Honoria’s brother who had to leave the country because he accidentally shot his friend in a dual.
The heroine is working as a governess under an alias because of a scandal in her past. Anne and her interaction with the girls that she governs in this book kept me reading. Cute and funny – the best scene in the book is when Daniel and Anne have to act out a play that one of the girls wrote.
I think I hold Julia Quinn to a higher standard than other authors and compare all of her work to The Duke and I. I recommend this book – but I can’t give it a A this time. 🙁 It was good but not Julia Quinn great. If you haven’t read Julia Quinn before – start with The Duke and I. If you love JQ like I do – you will like this book, but probably say “hmmm, not my favorite Julia Quinn book”.
Grade: B+ Reviewer: Janon