Monday, November 18, 2013

REVIEW: "The Sum of All Kisses" by Julia Quinn

The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)
The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn
For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Avon -- October 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 373 pages
Purchased from Amazon

Romantic Comedies, Hate-to-Love, Unconventional Hero, Family Issues

He thinks she's an annoying know-it-all...
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.

She thinks he's just plain mad...
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 ...

"Piquet favors those with a vivid memory"  the Earl of Chatteris said, to no one in particular.


Time for another visit with the hilarious Smythe-Smiths in all their tone deaf glory!  Julia Quinn has been an auto-buy author for me since I first started reading historical romances and I always rely on her for an engrossing romance full of well-developed characters and plenty of humor.  Readers have already met Lady Sarah and Lord Hugh in earlier books of this series so it was interesting to see these two opposites find love with each other.

What I Liked
  • Lord Hugh Prentice is the type of romance hero that always draws me in.  He is a math genius who sees everything as numbers/patterns and is less than comfortable in social situations.  His life takes a drastic turn when he gets in a drunken argument with a friend (Daniel Smythe-Smith from A Night Like This) that results in a significant leg injury.  I am always intrigued when an author forces a character to rethink their entire existence after an injury or illness and I thought JQ did a fabulous job here.  Hugh is a complicated hero who is struggling with the fact that he believes he is less of a man because of his weak leg yet still wants to find happiness in some way.
  • I will admit that Lady Sarah Pleinsworth did not endear herself to me early on this book.  I found her a bit too melodramatic and loud for my personal taste.  Plus it didn't help that she was so horrible to Hugh whom I had already fallen for.  But, as always, Julia Quinn showed the development of Sarah's character in such a way that I warmed up to her and was rooting for her to find her HEA.
  • Because of the past, Hugh and Sarah's relationship starts off pretty rocky and could be defined as an example of the hate-to-love theme.  And I find this type of story so entertaining!  I love it when characters are thrown into awkward situations that force them to see things from another side and discover that maybe their arch nemesis isn't so bad after all.  Plus it is always fun to read the snarky comments and banter between such characters and Hugh and Sarah didn't disappoint me.
  • Family is a big part of this series due to the fact that it centers around this large band of untalented musicians.  In The Sum of All Kisses, readers get to see two different types of family with Sarah's warm (and often embarrassing) crew and Hugh's demented father.  I personally loved every scene that involved Sarah's little sisters especially Frances and her unicorn obsession.  And this book continues to showcase the close bond between the Smythe-Smith cousins (Honoria, Sarah, and Iris). 
What I Didn't Like
  • I thought the "villain" of The Sum of All Kisses was too over-the-top for this type of story.  I understand the need for external drama to keep the interest going, but the danger section felt abrupt and out of place.  Despite my misgivings, I do have to admit that I liked the fact that the heroine got to save the hero.  It was a nice change of pace in this genre that is full of damsels in distress.
My Conclusion
While this book will not be remembered as one of the best Julia Quinn books I've read, I found it to be enjoyable and worth my time.  The Smythe-Smiths are just so much fun to read about and the characterization is spot-on.  I can't wait to see who gets their story next though I'm hoping for stoic Iris or vibrant Daisy.


She was in love.  Lady Sarah Pleinsworth was in love.  And it was grand.

1. Just Like Heaven
2. A Night Like This
3. The Sum of All Kisses

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jennifer, I feel the same way about this book. I would still buy anything Julia Quinn writes but I'm longing for that Bridgerton-like magic to find its way back to her stories. And I think this book in the series is the one closest to that so far.

    If you're interested, here's my review of The Sum of All Kisses


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