It's time for another installment in the Smythe-Smith family series, the family who has been assaulting the ears of the ton for years with their annual family musicale. Our heroine this time around is not a Smythe-Smith, but a governess in a Smythe-Smith household who was dragooned into playing the piano at the last minute when an enterprising Smythe-Smith debutante feigned illness to get out of performing in the musicale which took place at the end of the previous book. Fortunately - or unfortunately - Anne Wynter's musical abilities fit right in with the rest of the performers and nobody much noticed the substitution. Except for Daniel Smythe-Smith, who was exiled to Europe for several years because of a duel and who arrived home just in time to catch the musicale. And be instantly smitten with Anne. And, vice versa, of course.
Anne and Daniel's histories run along some astonishing parallel lines. Both, in their youth, have maimed others (Daniel in the duel and Anne in fending off a sexual attacker) and been exiled as a consequence. Both are threatened with death for the deed, but both have someone who is able to hold back the threat for a time. When Anne's protector dies, she finds her life in danger at the same time that it appears Daniel's protection is also gone when several attempts are made on his life. It is a fraught time and much needs to be worked out before Daniel and Anne get their HEA.
But, lest you think this book is too dark, be assured that the light and fun touches that are the hallmark of a Julia Quinn romance are here in abundance. What I really enjoyed this time around is her portrayal of a man gobsmacked by love - the confusion and giddiness of it all. And Daniel is pretty giddy. I loved their first kiss - it's a good first kiss, but the best thing about it is Daniel's reaction to it the next day. His giddiness cannot be contained.
What a day, what a day. Birds were chirping, the sky was blue, the grass was green (as always, but it was still an excellent thing), and he had kissed Miss Wynter.
He nearly bounced right off his feet, just thinking about it.
It had been splendid. Marvelous. A kiss to deny all previous kisses. Really, he didn't know what he'd been doing with all those other women, because whatever had happened when his kips had touched theirs, those had not been kisses.
Not like last night.
And through all their trials, Daniel remains besotted with Anne, and absolutely adorable in the face of it all. As all romance heroes should be. A Night Like This is another charming winner from Julia Quinn.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, April 24, 2012