Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Julia Quinn - The Sum of All Kisses

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.
Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless ...
New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn's enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

Comment: This book arrived last week, and it's the third in the most recent quartet by the author. Those who know her Bridgerton series certainly remember the Smythe-Smith musicale that happens every year and that mortifies those who listen and...always one of those who plays. This quartet is based on the players, those girls that perform and who dread the incoming year where they'll have to play again. But despite looking like all of the girls hate to play, it isn't so and the reasons why they do it even when they now they're not very talented are explained here.

This is the story of Sarah Pleinsworth, she is a cousin to Daniel and Honoria, the heroes fom the previous two books. Sarah knows they play badly. While Honoria didn't mind playing because it was for the family, Sarah focuses on how badly they crucify the listeners so she wants to marry as soon as possible for the only two reasons one doesn't have to play is death or marriage. Now that her cousins are both getting married within weeks of each other, Sarah is asked to make company with Hugh Prentice, the reason her cousin Daniel went into exile and why she didn't have a proper Season in her come out. Sarah hates Hugh - or she says - but for her cousin, she will endure his company...or aren't things as easy as that..after all, she doesn't have all the details, does she?

I liked this story. The author always makes a good job in her characterization, in mixing the funny moments and the serious ones. Still, I do think there's a slightly obvious attempt to make this look funnier than what it is and if this were to happen more smoothly I probably wouldn't notice, but considering that I do it seems to me, it's something not easily ignored and somehow I can't put it aside. This is my issue with the book, I don't mind that it has funny scenes and dialogs ans so on, but I also didn't want to be reminded of it so obviously, so...the funny is her trademark, but she used to be a bit more subtle about it.

Critics apart, I liked this story and the romance. Sarah and Hugh don't get along, they met years before and had a fight and now they have to bear each other. Their relationship doesn't start very well, but slowly they learn things about the other that are different from what was expected considering neither Hugh nor Sarah thought much about what it is to be in the other's shoes. The time they are spending together bridges not only their differences but their similarities and it's quite the pleasure to see them discover a soul mate.
Sarah learns Hugh's side of the story and she starts feeling he isn't the villain in all this. She also hurts her ankle and has trouble walking so she sees herself in Hugh's shoes for a while and she feels compassion and not pity. As time goes by, she starts seeing Hugh as someone she cares about and the more time she spends with him, the more in love the falls.
Hugh feels the same. After the misunderstandings from the past are dealt with, Hugh still has to bear Sarah's company because after Daniel forgave him, he still feels he has to do what he can to minimize his guilt over what he thing was the ruin of his friend. So he endures th weddings despite his leg because he feels he owns Daniel something. Being with Sarah starts as looking like she his nanny and he's uncomfortable, but soon he sees in her a person with a good heart and her soul isn't that bad 

The romance was amazing. When they figured they loved each other was quite the scene and when they first kiss was a memorable scene as well. I liked the tone of the romance, from them not liking each other, from bearing the other, from seeing something special in the other until they only thought what it would be like to love the other. I thought it was a romance with many levels and all quite balanced. Their personalities an attitudes didn't feel out of sorts for what we were used to see and I liked the consistency.

This book isn't her best I think, but it was quite the romance, the storyline focused mostly on that and I loved it. I do recommend it.
A note for this edition...there's something whimsical about the British covers...I think they're so cute and romantic...when I can I do try to get my Julia Quinn's books from this publisher. Isn't this one lovely?
Grade: 8/10

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