MY REVIEW -
There is a very, very thin line between hatred and love – the dashing but scarred Hugh Prentice and the dramatic Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has proved it in The Sum of All Kisses.
Second to the Bridgertons (they will always, always be my favorite), the Smythe-Smith clan holds a dear place in my heart. It’s not just about the awful musical, that even I dreaded ever since I’ve been reading the Bridgertons Series – but it’s the combination of the different people in their family, the bond they shared and the loyalty they have to each other which makes this clan a little bit special. It’s not all about embarrassing themselves in front of other people, but it’s all about them – performing together, spending time on stage with each other which makes their performance somewhat heartwarming.
OKAY. Much said about their musicales – let me get back to these two amazing couple. Sarah had always hated Hugh after the duel that happened three years ago. It almost broke their family apart, and drove Daniel away from all of them. She had blamed him immensely, even though they both really don’t know anything about each other. It doesn’t matter if he had that bad limp going on, it wasn’t really the case. The point is that, she just couldn’t stand him.
Hugh on the other hand had always thought Sarah to be a little dramatic for her own good. He hated females who are fond of theatrics, and Sarah topped that list. It doesn’t matter that he grew to like her once she was forced to spend time with him during the wedding celebrations – because he had a ruined leg: he can’t carry her when she slipped, he could not ride a horse, he could not walk without limping and he could not even dance! Courting anyone, much more Sarah was near-impossible.
But when they are forced to spend together in each other’s company – things change, so are their opinions with each other. Indeed, there is a fine line between love and hatred, because as this two grew closer and closer to each other they discover that there is so much more to like than hate. Then there was this disturbing kiss that made the numbers in Hugh’s brain scrambled, and rendered Sarah speechless.
While the Smythe-Smith can be chaotic when their together – but the love, the tenderness, and fondness one member have for the other is visibly present. Unlike Hugh’s family – he may be the brightest, one of the most dashing bachelors (three years ago and probably still in the present), and perhaps the future heir (if his brother really decided not to get married), but besides his brother Freddie, he had no one. His father was just terrible, selfish and an a**, a sorry excuse for a father. He didn’t care about any of his sons – he just wanted to ensure that they will keep the title within the family. I hated is father, that’s why I’m so glad when Sarah put him in his place (this was one of my favorite scenes). Perhaps it was her love, or just an intense adrenaline rush that made her do it, nevertheless, it was needed to be done a long time ago! And Sarah did it – with flying colors.
I enjoyed reading it – I adore the banters within the family (it made me miss my siblings too), I love the characters (every one of them, except Hugh’s father!), the exchanges between Hugh and Sarah (talk about a subtle verbal foreplay), I adore the plot, the character development, the twists and most especially the romance. To sum it up – this is not just another love story. It’s a story about family, forgiveness, moving on and finally standing up not just for yourself, but for the people you love. No one does it like Julia Quinn.
★ARC Copy was given in exchange for an honest review.★
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.
AUTHOR BIO -
#1 New York Times bestselling author JuliaQuinn 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.
BUY LINKS -