REVIEW: His at Night

Sherry Thomas
His at Night
Bantam
ISBN-10: 0553592440
ISBN-13: 978- 0553592443
Historical romance
May 25, 2010

Blurb via the author’s site:

Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man?

Lord Vere is used to baiting irresistible traps. As a secret agent for the government, he’s tracked down some of the most devious criminals in London, all the while maintaining his cover as one of Society’s most harmless—and idiotic—bachelors. But nothing can prepare him for the scandal of being ensnared by Elissande.

Forced into a marriage of convenience, Elissande and Vere are each about to discover they’re not the only one with a hidden agenda. With seduction their only weapon against each other—and a dark secret from the past endangering both their lives—can they learn to trust each other even as they surrender to a passion that won’t be denied?

Spoilers.

I quit this one in July of 2010. At the time I couldn’t get past what is, for me, a pet peeve when it comes to The Big Misunderstanding. I’d always hoped to come back to it, though, because Thomas is without a doubt one of the most unique historical romance voices today. Here recently I’ve been on  small historical romance kick, and while I still had a hangup with that pet peeve, it felt good to be back at it with this author’s work.

I’ve been struggling a little to figure out how to say what I want to say about how this book made me feel. You know – that review thing. Honestly, the post ahs been sitting in my blog drafts section for days and there’s really no other way to put it, I guess.

I didn’t love this book.

I liked it. Eventually. But I wasn’t blown away. And I think it’s my fault that I’ve come to expect to be blown away by this author. I know better. You just never know when a favorite author might not deliver 100% for you personally. Still, it saddens me to say – yep, it wasn’t a favorite.

Now, that admission aside, yes, the book did take a turn for the better for me eventually. My initial hangup with the book is that it makes use of one of my biggest pet peeves in historical romance – The Big Misunderstanding. In fact, when I knew I’d hit upon that moment the first time I tried to read this, I stalled majorly and it ended up being a DNF. The hero, Vere, well, he just immediately assumes things about the heroine and acts like such a dick-for-brains as a result. So often The Big Misunderstanding is annoying because if the two apparent adults involved would simply TALK TO ONE ANOTHER (have yet to run across this trope and not wonder the exact same thing), there’d be no need for dick-for-brains-edness. But I guess there’d be no story then? Eh.

So I gave this one another go and thought, surely this author is going to take this very annoying tactic and just turn it around. I got past my initial hurdle of Vere’s initial realization that Elissande just wants to marry someone. Anyone. He’s repulsed that anyone will do, even him, even though he finds her lovely and attractive at first. Does he bother to dig any deeper than his assumptions? No, not for almost the entire book. Oh Vere, I gnashes my toofs at you! C’mere, I’ve got a croquet mallet with a picture of your head on it, buddy. Vere acts the dolt and blunderhead as part of his undercover role, but sometimes I wondered if it hadn’t set in permanently.

I think it’s so much easier for me to sympathize with Elissande, though, just because she’s in a terrible, potentially frightening and dangerous situation. Her uncle is a control freak psycho type, and even though Elissande basically wanted to use Vere to get her and her aunt of that situation…I couldn’t find the same amount of fault with her as I did Vere’s treatment of her. And that’s because I, the reader, was privy to info about her that Vere couldn’t be bothered to open his mouth and ask some questions about. Even though he sees evidence of her uncle’s horrendous treatment of Elissande. While, yes, I can understand Vere wanting her to like him for him – he’s also refusing to let go of his completely fake identity as an idiot, so WHY does he continue to hold this grudge against her when he’s doing the very thing he can’t stand her for doing? Hello, honesty’s a two-way street. Even when she begins to see and question his behavior and tries to get to know him? She’s good enough to have the sexxor with, but the rest of her behavior, well, pffffft, no dice, Ellie, m’girl.

OK, so, I feel like I got a lot off my ever-so-burdened chest. Sorry, yeah, that was a bit of a rant. When I could get past my peevishness at The Big Misunderstanding, there are moments that are clearly of the Thomas caliber, those tender moments that I’ve come to recognize for how breathless they make me. How much they make me grab for the tissues. How much they… aw crap, I left my copy of the book at home! Many for feelings of book happiness and all the things that make that so, I swearz. Let’s just say I felt fully engaged at times because Thomas is a fantastic writer, and when we get past the things that made me toof gnash, there is plenty to like. And I may have had some wine to help me just get the heck over myself and try to enjoy the book a little more. Cuz I swear I did end up enjoying the book. Vere made up for his douche-canoe-ness eventually. I do wish some things hadn’t happened even towards the end…but they did. See next glass of wine. It’s all good eventually. Yeah. I may have said “eventually” a lot.

By the way, thank you, Thomas, for writing stand alone books. They, too, are made of win. Peace.

Rating: Three and a Half Scoops

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5 comments

  1. Much agreed. Vere can just be so double-standard sometimes and was, imo, much too cruel to Ellie. Granted, no one wants to be tricked, but even he noticed how she’s actually trying to be nice to him and take good care of him. Heck, like you said, he saw how dangerous her uncle was. And The Big Misunderstanding…it was annoying and I still felt Vere got off too easy.

    Then again, I somehow enjoyed the book too. hahaha. I’m so happy to know I’m not alone about this book.

    Thanks for a great review!

    • Alice – yay! We are not alone lol! Sometimes that’s the best feeling when it comes to reading and when everyone else seems to love a book. Thanks for letting me know you felt the same way!

  2. Great review, I am hoping to read the book someday. And yes, you sometimes just want to lock them in a room and yell: And now you two talk for half an hour (and no sex!)

  3. It’s great that you gave this book a second chance. Sometimes that’s all they need. :) And you read a romance! Yay! I’m glad you’re still enjoying Sherry Thomas’ writing style. :)

  4. I have a few of Sherry Thomas’ novels on my TBR. I sincerely need to read at least one soon! I think I’d really like her stories.

    I also have to agree with your fondness for an author writing stand alone novels. Trust me, I am a certified series lover. BUT every once in a while it’s nice to just pick up a book, read it and be done. :D

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