Friday, November 1, 2013

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)
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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.


Oh, Julia Quinn.  You have done it again.  I was a little scared.  I didn’t enjoy Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith #1) as much as I hoped.  I actually skipped A Night Like This (#2).  But now that I’ve read The Sum of All Kisses (#3), I will be going back for all the Smythe-Smith action I missed in the second installment.  

Lady Sarah cannot stand Lord Hugh Prentice.  He is the reason that her cousin Daniel was exiled for so long; the outcome of a scandal that negatively impacted their entire family.  But Daniel is back and he and his sister are having back to back weddings.  Weddings in which Lady Sarah is expected to stand in attendance.  Weddings in which Lord Hugh will be a guest.  Because of course he and Daniel have made amends and are again very close friends.  But never mind that.  Lady Sarah still does not like Lord Hugh and will do her best to pointedly ignore him.  That is until Lady Honoria (Daniel’s sister and Sarah’s cousin) kindly asks Sarah to babysit Lord Hugh and not only make him feel welcome but make sure all the other guests know that he is a welcome friend in their home.  Both Sarah and Hugh are un-amused by this request (because, of course, Hugh has his own reasons for disliking Sarah) but they make the best of it to make Honoria happy.  What ensues is probably some of Julia Quinn’s best dialogue.  Hilarious, witty and sometimes insulting conversations that left me laughing out loud.

As their prickly relationship develops, the story seamlessly transitions into one of the most romantic books of Quinn’s (without losing the hilarious word play).  That statement may seem a bit odd.  I mean, aren’t all romance novels romantic?   Well, yes, they are.  But sometimes you just come across a story that is so much MORE.  The kind of romance that makes us gasp, ahh and sigh.  The kind that reminds you of the importance of a breath on your skin, small kisses on the most innocent of body parts, and the elation a single sigh in your ear can produce.  The kind that makes you hear the music swell - just like in the movies.

Is there anything I didn’t like about this book?  Unfortunately, yes.   The conflict that arises towards the end of the book was a little too melodramatic and contrived for my liking.  But it does introduce one of the vilest villains I have ever encountered in a Quinn novel.  A villain so horrible that I could actually forgive the melodrama because it rather fit this hateful character.  

The good far outweighs the bad in this latest novel by Julia Quinn.  If you are a lover of romance, particularly historical romance, I HIGHLY recommend you pick this one up.


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