Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: A Night Like This

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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 . .

The second book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet, we get the story of Anne Wynter (who in the first book was briefly mentioned having taken the place of Lady Sarah in the annual musicale) and Daniel Smythe-Smith (the exiled brother of Honoria's who returns at the end of the first book to basically find his sister being compromised by the best friend he had told to watch over her).

The above is all elaborated upon in the first chapter or so of the book as we see how Anne was unfortunately thrust into the role, Daniel stealing a kiss from her one moment, running off to get punched up by Marcus the next and then Anne taking care of him in the aftermath.

The best parts of this book are when Anne and Daniel are trading verbal sparring--as Anne points out at one point, its a bit like watching (or in this case reading) a tennis match as they volley double meanings and chiding retorts back and forth.  The romance here stretches belief somewhat more--Daniel is practically tripping over his feet to get Anne to notice him even though he admits she's not an appropriate choice for him.  And Anne vacillates between being exasperated by his attempts to woo her and terrified that she will succumb and ruin her future (which she has every experience with).

Interestingly there are multiple dangers to both Anne and Daniel.  A mistake from Anne's past shows up and all but says he doesn't care who hurts (or kills) in his vengeance against her (and puts actions to words several times), while the reason of Daniel's three year exile keeps him on his toes.  I hope we see more of Hugh--I think Quinn was laying that groundwork honestly and I won't be upset if he becomes a hero in one of the next books.

Like most of Quinn's books this is filled with humor as well as romance and if the humor sometimes distracts from the plot so be it--Anne's history is heartbreaking and more than anything I think she needed someone to distract her from it.  Her young charges, cousins to Daniel, are lively and spirited.  They weren't tiresome or wedged into the story at awkward moments.

The ending, at least as far as the wrap-up to the romance and the reactions from various people, was the one part I felt disconnected from.  I can't believe that Anne's status can be so quickly overlooked by everyone.  Daniel...well he never seemed to give a farthing anyhow, but his Aunt (Anne's employer) definitely made it clear how she felt and fall out?  It felt glossed over too easily.