Expected Release Date: October 29, 2013
Author’s Website: http://juliaquinn.com
My Source for This Book: Edelweiss
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Smythe-Smith Quartet
Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but works well as a standalone.
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Kidnapping
Favorite Tropes: Enemies To Lovers
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.
What Worked For Me:
- Gosh I feel as though I’ve waited forever for Hugh’s book, but it was well worth it. It was great to finally get Hugh’s side of the fateful events that led up to the disastrous duel between him and Daniel, and though I was familiar with the circumstances involved in the “agreement” Hugh had with his father, I loved getting Hugh’s perspective on it.
- Sarah. I didn’t really like Sarah at first, to be honest, but I warmed up to her as she grew as a character. In the beginning, she was really rather selfish, and though I could somewhat see her point, very unfair in blaming Hugh for her own impending spinsterhood.
- Back to that agreement Hugh had with his father — I loved the quandry that it presented when Hugh finally found a woman he could love. After all, he’d ruined Daniel’s life once, so how could he selfishly put him at risk again by pursuing his own happiness? This added a lovely amount of tension and drama to the story, without making it overly “heavy”.
- I loved how Ms. Quinn handled Hugh’s injury — not just the simple fact that he limped when he walked and that his wound often pained him, but the little things. Things like not being able to dance with a woman who loved to dance, or not being able to catch and steady someone who tripped. Things that romance authors often gloss over when their heroes have an old injury that they have to live with. It was little details like this that really made the relationship between Hugh and Sarah feel so organic — they had much more to work through than just their initial dislike of each other and the issues with Hugh’s father.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- The confrontation with the “villain” of the story was very overwrought and melodramatic, and didn’t really fit in with the rest of the story. It almost felt thrown in as a way to increase the “drama” of the story, but frankly, I thought the story had plenty of drama just being character driven between Sarah and Hugh. They both had enough of their own issues — her realizing that she’d been very bitchy and selfish for much of her life and trying very hard to work on those things, and him feeling like a “lesser man” due to the severe injury in his leg and shying away from romantic relationships for that very reason. Instead, we get
I’ve always been a fan of Julia Quinn. Her trademark humor, chemistry, and oddly matched lovers are what keep me coming back time after time to the families she has created.
This book was no exception. I loved Hugh. Not only was he struggling with the massive guilt of having ruined his best friend’s life (and having only recently been able to begin to make amends), but he’s also still struggling to come to grips with a major physical disability and an extremely dysfunctional relationship with his father.
Then there’s Sarah. Sarah is selfish and honestly pretty annoying at first, but what I loved about her was how much she grew over the course of the story. Her youthful pettiness gave way to a much more mature woman as she got to know Hugh and had a better understand of not only his previous actions, but of the man behind the limp, so to speak.
My only real misgiving with this story was the almost ridiculous confrontation about three quarters of the way in. While I admit it added drama to the story, I so wish that it had been avoided, and instead kept the focus on Hugh and Sarah. Instead I found myself rolling my eyes and making faces at my Kindle as I read, because it was almost cliche. Add to that my disappointment with the resolution of the conflict, and it did pull my rating down slightly.
Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Though I think that it would be beneficial for readers to already be familiar with the series, I think it did an admirable job of standing on its own without bogging the story down with recaps.
Recommended for fans of wounded heroes, smart-mouthed heroines, and a slow-building romance full of chemistry and lively banter.