As a long time fan of Julia Quinn I'm honored to bring her here today with her latest release, The Sum of All Kisses, where love and hate walk a fine line. Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book and to read my impressions of it as well. To learn even more about this book visit the other blogs hosting this tour and make sure to fill out the form for your chance to win an earlier print book by Ms. Quinn!
Hugh Prentice has never liked Lady Sarah Pleinsworth, and his opinion is confirmed when he overhears her yammering on about how she must get married this season or she will simply die. He’s never had patience for dramatic females, and the words shy and retiring have never been in Sarah’s vocabulary. Besides, even if he did grow to enjoy her company, it wouldn’t matter. A reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now, unable to run, ride, or even waltz, he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.
Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought three years earlier, the one that forced her cousin into exile, nearly destroying 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 stand.
But when the pair is forced to spend a week in close company they discover that opinions--even those firmest held--can, in fact, be altered. And when a kiss leads to two, three and four the mathematician may lose count and the miss may, for the first time, find herself speechless.
Hugh Prentice was strong on the inside, where it truly counted. He’d have to be, to come back from such an injury.
She swallowed, her eyes finding focus somewhere across the room even as she continued in step next to him. She felt unsettled, as if the floor had suddenly dropped an inch to the right, or the air had gone thin. She had spent the last few years detesting this man, and while this anger had not consumed her, it had, in some small way, defined her.
Lord Hugh Prentice had been her excuse. He had been her constant. When the world tipped and changed around her, he had remained her steady object of disgust. He was cold, he was heartless, he was without conscience. He had ruined her cousin’s life and never apologized for it. He was horrible in a way that meant nothing else in life could ever be that bad.
And now she had found something within him to admire? That was unlike her. Honoria was the one who found the good in people; Sarah held the grudge.
And she did not change her mind.
Except, apparently, when she did.
“Will you dance to your heart’s content once I’ve left?” Lord Hugh suddenly asked.
Sarah started, so lost in the tumult of her thoughts that his voice hit too-loudly at her ears. “I hadn’t thought about it, honestly,” she said.
“You should,” he said quietly. “You’re a lovely dancer.”
Her lips parted in surprise.
“Yes, Lady Sarah,” he said, “that was a compliment.”
“I hardly know what to do with it.”
“I’d recommend accepting it gracefully.”
“And do you base this upon personal experience?”
“Certainly not. I almost never accept compliments with grace.”
She looked up at him, expecting to see a sly look, maybe even a mischievous one, but his face remained as impassive as ever. He wasn’t even looking at her.
“You’re a very odd man, Lord Hugh Prentice,” she said quietly.
“I know,” he said, and they steered around Sarah’s enormous great uncle (and his remarkably tall wife) to reach the ballroom door. Before they could make their escape, however, they were intercepted by Honoria, who was still radiating such happiness Sarah thought her cheeks must ache from smiling. Frances was standing at her side, holding her hand and basking in the bridal glow.
“You’re not leaving so soon!” Honoria exclaimed.
And then, just to prove that it was impossible to make an unnoticed exit in a room full of Smythe-Smiths, Iris suddenly materialized on Honoria’s other side, flushed and out of breath from the Scottish reel that had just ended.
“Sarah,” Iris said with a tipsy giggle. “And Lord Hugh. Together. Again.”
“Still,” Hugh corrected, much to Sarah’s mortification. He gave Iris a polite bow, then turned to Honoria and said, “It has been a delightful wedding, Lady Chatteris, but I must go to my room for a rest.”
“And I must accompany him,” Sarah announced.
Iris snorted a laugh.
“Not to his room,” she said quickly. Good Lord. “Just to the stairs. Or maybe—” Did he need help on the stairs? Was she supposed to offer it? “Er, up the stairs, if you—”
“As far as you wish to take me,” he said, his benevolent statement clearly meant to tease.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
As a long time fan of Julia Quinn I gobble up every book she puts out as her dialogue is rapid-fire and delightfully witty and is again apparent in this latest release where the line between love and hate is a fine one. The relationship between adversaries Sarah and Hugh is in fact based early on on their verbal criticisms couched in playfulness and evolves into a believable relationship as the story progresses. This banter kept me entertained throughout the story and provided moments of humor as well.
Sarah was a character that left me conflicted as through most of the story I didn't really care for her. She's loud, speaks her every thought, and tends to be over dramatic. She seems shocked when informed that she's selfish by a family member, but that's exactly how I saw her at times. She only saw the fallout from the duel as how it affected her and to a lesser extent her family. But her real reason for hating Hugh is for her own loss. She never took the time to see what he was going through. Even as he was charming and pleasant to her she still found fault. That's why it's so powerful when they fall for each other, and fall they do. Through this relationship she becomes a more likable person who ultimately proves her worth and feelings by standing up to Hugh's father on his behalf. I applaud Sarah's strength and loved watching her interact with her siblings, as it's realism brought a smile to my face, but she's not a favorite heroine of mine amongst all of Ms. Quinn's creations.
Hugh's father also lent a bit of awkwardness to the story through his intense anger and aloof ness. His actions were over the top at times which made for many frustrating moments. I was also disappointed that the author didn't deal outright with Hugh's older brother's homosexuality. It was discussed in general terms, when dealt with at all, and I expected more. On a whole this was a good read, mainly because of my love for Hugh, but it left me wanting more and I'm looking forward to what Ms. Quinn comes up with next.
My rating for this is a C+
*I received this book from Edelweiss for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
BUY LINKS: AMAZON | BN | BAM
#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don't read (or write) romance, and in 2001 she did so in grand fashion, appearing on the game show The Weakest Link and walking away with the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code. Ms. Quinn is one of only fifteen members of Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame, her books have been translated into 26 languages, and she currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.
AVON ROMANCE AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.avonromance.com/
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