May 24 2012 5:00pm

First Look: Julia Quinn’s A Night Like This (May 29, 2012)

A Night Like This by Julia QuinnJulia Quinn
A Night Like This
Avon / May 29, 2012 / $7.99

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 . . .

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.

Julia Quinn is an author who does a lot of things right and her books are always fun to read. 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.

She looked up.

Time stopped. It simply stopped. It was the most maudlin and clichéd way of describing it, but those few seconds when her face was lifted toward his … they stretched and pulled, melting into eternity.

She was beautiful. But that didn’t explain it. He’d seen beautiful women before. He’d slept with plenty of them, even. But this … Her … She …

Even his thoughts were tongue-tied.

Spending time with her only exacerbates the problem, poor thing.

He and Miss Wynter sat and chatted, talking about very little in particular. And all the time he could not stop thinking how very much he’d wanted to take her hand.

That was all. Just her hand.

He would bring it to his lips, and bow his head in tender salute. And he would have known that that simple, chivalrous kiss would be the beginning of something amazing.

That was why it would have been enough. Because it would be a promise.

And then they share their first kiss—and 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.

Of course, there are obstacles, there is danger from both their pasts, there are any number of serious things to be dealt with before the requisite HEA, but Daniel remains giddy and besotted and determined and absolutely adorable in the face of it all. As all romance heroes should be.


Cheryl Sneed reviews for

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Rakisha Kearns-White
1. BrooklynShoeBabe
Daniel remains giddy and besotted and determined and absolutely adorable in the face of it all. As all romance heroes should be.

Well said, and I agree. I haven't read a Julia Quinn novel but I've heard great things about her. I heard her speak last year at the RWA conference and she was simply marvelous and funny. I began a novel of hers earlier this year that is on my TBR list. I'm sure when I'm done with it, I'll want to read all of her others including this one you reviewed.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
@BrooklynShoeBabe, I don't think any historical author can write as deliciously giddily as Quinn does--her dialogue is amazing, and her characters are so fun.
EC Spurlock
3. EC Spurlock
Julia Quinn is an autobuy for me, and this will be no exception. I adore her; her books do everything just right. Whenever I need solace from life, I turn to Julia Quinn. A few hours with her characters make everything all right, or at least enable me to face life with more fortitude and a huge lingering grin.
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