The Smythe-Smith Quartet: A Night Like This


A Night Like This

A Night Like This

Anne Wynter may 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 it 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…

A Night Like This is the second book in Julia Quinn’s Smythe-Smith series, and it was just as sweet and funny as the first. The story overlaps with Just Like Heaven and follows the trials and tribulations of the nutty Pleinsworth family and their long suffering governess, Miss Anne Wynter.

We’d heard quite a bit about the exiled Earl of Winstead in Just Like Heaven, but we didn’t really get the full low down on what Daniel actually did to get himself exiled from London. That is exactly where the story begins. We see the usually sensible and amicable Daniel Smythe Smith drunk off his ass. He’s stupid drunk, and so are most of his companions. It was during an inebriated game of cards that Daniel was accused of cheating, and was subsequently called out. Of course, we know Daniel didn’t cheat. The man could barely walk in a straight line at that point; cheating would require far too much brain power. Unfortunately for Daniel and his accuser, things devolve to the point where they call each other out and, due to piss poor aim, Daniel almost shoots the guy’s leg off. The dude’s dad (sorry, can’t for the life of me remember his name) is furious and tells Daniel that he’s going to need to sleep woith one eye open from now on. Fearing for his life, Daniel flees London and travels the continent, hoping to avoid the crazy dad’s goons.

Three years later, Daniel’s back in London. He’s ready to put the whole sordid mess behind him and carry on with his life. And what better way to remind himself of home and all the things he’s missed than to attend one of his family’s horrendous musicales? It’s there that he spots someone who is most definitely not a member of his family playing the piano. The lady in question is Anne Wynter and she has a Past. Not that anyone else knows that. As far as everyone else is concerned, she is a proper and respectable governess who has been given the unenviable task of seeing to the Pleinsworth girls’ education. She needs her job and does not have the time or, in this case, the willpower to convince the extremely persistent Earl of Winstead that this thing between them just isn’t going to happen.

Before I actually talk about Anne and Daniel together, I have to give mention to the Pleinsworth sisters. These young ladies are Daniel’s cousins, and they are just as bonkers as the rest of the Smythe-Smith clan. I think I enjoyed reading about their antics more than I did reading about the romance between our leads. This isn’t to say that the chemistry between Anne and Daniel was lacking, it was just… those kids were so funny. But on to the actual romance. Anne and Daniel were really sweet together. Anne was just such a gem. She was so patient with those crazy kids, and her willingness to take Sarah’s place in the musical when she was “sick” totally endeared her to me. And Daniel? It was so refreshing to have a hero who didn’t hate himself. These gents are few and far between, and I treasure them every time I find one. Granted, Daniel has his moments of epic stupidity but that made him normal, not this perfect god-like figure who doesn’t make any mistakes. I like that about Ms Quinn’s books: her heroes are human and you can relate to them.

I really enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as I did Just Like Heaven. It was a little more serious than I was expecting. Also, there was not enough of the Smythe-Smith Quartet for me. I missed having them around to make a noise. Still definitely a worthwhile read.

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