The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Hugh Prentice got drunk and challenged his friend Daniel to a duel over a card game, the repercussions rocketed through not only his life but the lives of their family and friends. Hugh, for example, although recovered from the initial wound and near-death experience, now walks with a permanent limp and is in constant pain. Daniel had to flee the country for three years until Hugh managed to force his father to stop trying to kill Daniel in retribution for Daniel accidentally shooting Hugh in the leg. (To be fair, Hugh had accidentally shot Daniel first.) And Lady Sarah Pleinsworth, cousin of Daniel Smythe-Smith, was forced to delay her come-out and therefore missed her chance at a Season when not one, not two, but FOURTEEN eligible men proposed (and were presumably married) to eligible young ladies. Lady Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for either injury.
Fate, however, has a perverse sense of humor, as an extended house party encompassing two large weddings forces Hugh and Sarah into close proximity where they learn that first (and second and third) impressions can be misleading.
As always, Quinn's books make me laugh out loud. In this case, the dialogue between Sarah's sisters provides most of the humorous moments. I hope we get to see more of Harriet, Elizabeth, and Frances in later novels.
I appreciated that the characters were flawed and had a chance to grow and change over the course of the book. My one quibble with the story is that Sarah's horror at learning Hugh's method of subduing his father seems too extreme. I didn't think it was as big of a deal as she makes it out to be, and I felt at times like I must have missed something. The solution she comes up with works, but the whole end felt a little melodramatic. Still, it was a fun read.
For readers' advisors: character and setting doorways are primary, story secondary. Some sexual content and mild historical swearing.
View all my reviews