As his brutish father’s only hope for an heir, Hugh Prentice has not had an easy time of it, and when he got drunk and shot his best friend, his life got considerably worse. Now a cripple, he’s finally managed to get his father’s heavy hand away from Daniel Smythe-Smith, but has a lifetime left of loneliness to deal with.
Lady Sarah Pleinsworth’s first season was abruptly cancelled when her cousin Daniel was shot and exiled as her family went into mourning. She’s never quite forgiven Hugh for delaying her marriage prospects and making her cousins miserable; a series of disastrous encounters haven’t helped the situation, either. But when Sarah is forced into contact with Hugh at her cousin Honoria’s wedding, purely as a favor, she discovers that she actually likes him, and that his good looks don’t hurt, either.
Julia Quinn’s romances are always reliably sweet and, well, romantic. They rely much more on sparkling character interactions and adorable situations than any other author I’ve ever read; these are, for me at least, properly feel good books. And I approached this one in exactly the right frame of mind to need a pick-me-up with a romance I could get behind, without ridiculously high expectations. On this, the author delivered perfectly, and I read The Sum of All Kisses in one day, closing it with a smile.
One of the aspects I liked the most, as usual with Quinn’s romances, was in fact that interaction between the characters. Hugh and Sarah really don’t like each other at the beginning and had me wondering how they were going to believably end up together. But their dislike is based on fundamental misunderstanding and frustration due to the situation. As soon as they’re together for a longer period of time and have no choice but to talk to one another, the problems start to resolve and they realize that actually they do like one another. Those roadblocks they created were mental, and together they can overcome them quite easily.
It’s a classic situation where two people just don’t know each other enough, and make some misjudgements as a result, but then once they do know one another, things start to change. I loved the fact that they just enjoy one another’s company for a nice chunk of the book; they like each other and that’s one of the things I love about Julia Quinn’s romances. This is a perfect example of that.
The only part of the book I didn’t like were some aspects towards the end – I felt that a certain amount of drama was excessive and kind of unnecessary on the heroine’s behalf. All was quickly cleared up, though, and I did actually enjoy the ending.
Very highly recommended!
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