Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3
Published: October 29, 2013 (Avon)
Rating: Stay Up 'til 2 AM
Format: Digital ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.One interesting fact: After reading the previous book in this series, A Night Like This, I mentioned in my notes the fact that I really wanted Hugh and Sarah to have a book together! But upon re-reading these notes a year later, I had no recollection of why I had wanted this, because I did not remember any interaction between the two of them. So I re-read the book. And I was right. Hugh and Sarah had virtually no interaction together at all. They were barely in a scene together. I guess I just thought the idea of their two vastly different personalities coming together was too good to resist.
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 ...
I was, in fact, correct! Hugh and Sarah's book might just be my favorite of the Smythe-Smith books so far. I started it first thing in the morning and did not eat lunch or even speak a simple greeting to my roommate until I was done.
Hugh and Sarah's story was completely captivating. Hugh was a logical fellow who could do stunning amounts of math in his head. Sarah was a dramatic girl who set Hugh's teeth on edge, and he had the same effect on her. Oh, and there was also the fact that Sarah's cousin had shot Hugh in a duel (long story), leaving him with a permanent and painful limp. But over time, as they were forced together by circumstances, they began to see each other in a different light. Both still had qualities that made them less than perfect, but they acknowledged those flaws in each other and fell in love anyway.
While I do enjoy hate-to-love stories, unfortunately, many of them tend to rely on great sex for being the Magical Key to Falling in Love. And often, I just don't buy it. The Sum of All Kisses was more of a hate-to-friends-to-love story, and I found the development absolutely perfect and believable for Hugh and Sarah.
As another fun point, fans of Eloisa James would be pleasantly surprised to find a couple of her characters making guest appearances. They fit right in with all the wonderful characters from previous Smythe-Smith and Bridgerton books, who all together created an atmosphere that was impossible not to enjoy. Also, points to Julia Quinn for actually writing a romance epilogue I liked! It doesn't happen often.
I fell in love with Julia Quinn a long time ago, and she continues to deliver. Her books might not be full of stunning prose, grand adventures, or massive plot twists, but I don't always need those. When I pick up a Julia Quinn book, I know I am going to get entertainment, interesting characters, and a magnificent love story. The Sum of All Kisses delivered on all these fronts, and I cannot wait for the next installment of the Smythe-Smiths! I'm crossing my fingers for a book about Iris. Guess I'll have to wait and see!