I appreciated Quinn’s departure from the more formulaic concept of only one main character harboring secrets from the past, and I think she did an admirable job of working two very different stories into a point of connection for her hero and heroine, as well as filling the book with the sort of chemistry that has brought her to become one of the most recognized and celebrated romance authors of today. I’ve only made a small dent on my Julia Quinn reading list, but I found all of my favorite Quinn traits in A Night Like This: a wonderfully detailed variety of characters, spot-on chemistry, and the sort of comedic banter (from the characters as well as the narrative) that spark spontaneous smiles and fits of giggles. She has a unique way of taking an era famous for its attention to social nuances and infusing it with some of the most out-right hilarious situations, all the while maintaining the sort of class and propriety that’s expected from a journey into Regency era England. A Night Like This was the perfect illustration of those qualities.
I was tremendously fond of Anne as a heroine, as well. She’s strong, charming, and resourceful. She’s also said to be far more perfectly beautiful than a governess ought to be; but Quinn also uses this as a tool for conveying the character’s strength rather than marking it as simply a stroke of great luck that our heroine was hit with a branch from Mother Nature’s pretty tree (repeatedly, and with vigor). She boldly displays Anne in a light which could easily destroy a heroine’s credit: as a self-absorbed, possibly even conceited girl in her youth. This made for a triumph, in my opinion, as the novel proceeds to reveal the truth of Anne’s past – presenting her with perhaps the greatest lesson she could learn in life – and goes on to illustrate how her character changed as a result. There’s something to be said for an authoress who’s not afraid to allow her heroine – or any of her characters, really - to be revealed as very imperfect for even a small moment in a novel. But imperfection is of course a very relatable thing and it made Anne all the more appealing to me.
I also feel compelled to add, because they were just such a source of charming entertainment throughout so much of the novel, that Quinn creates some of the most adorable characters in the young Pleinsworth sisters, Anne’s charges. From Harriet who writes horrible stage plays to Frances who thinks she’s a unicorn, following their antics and lightning-fast quips made for a great addition to the novel. It all came together to make A Night Like This an endearing, sweet fairy tale with plenty of substance. And now I begin the process all over again of waiting in anticipation for the next in this series. (Insert a dreamy sigh right about...here.)
Title: A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith #2) Author: Julia Quinn Genre: Historical Romance Publisher: Avon Format: paperback, ebook Release date: May 29, 2012 Source: Personal collection Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Better World Books Connect with the author: Website | Facebook