When I was a kid I thought Spaghettios were the best tasting food ever created. I could devour an entire can on my own and would have them as an after school snack all the time. When I grew up, I went years without having any, until one day, when I was in my late 20s, my toddler niece was having Spaghettios and remembering how much I loved them, I had some too...and proceeded to spit them out of my mouth almost immediately as I discovered they are disgusting beyond words. I am starting to have a similar reaction to Quinn's books.
Even though I have not cared for the last several Quinn titles (pretty much everything after the Bridgerton series), I continue to read each new release in hopes of capturing the delight I experienced when I read her earlier works. I checked A Night Like This out from the library (at least I have learned to stop paying for the privilege of reading books I end up disliking) and hoped for the best.
No such luck. I was not especially drawn in by the prologue, but I soldiered on. I found Daniel Smythe-Smith to be somewhat bland and not the brightest tool in the shed to the point that he reminded me of Nigel Berbrooke from Quinn novels past (not exactly the image I would prefer for the hero of the book). Daniel was a little too emotional for my liking. By the middle of the book, I was skimming. There didn't seem to be much depth to the characters. This story just didn't captivate (for me) and felt rather colorless and bland as though we were all just going through the motions. There were too many coincidences for my liking ("You have a crazy person stalking you? Me too!"). Much of the language came across as though chosen from a Trite Phrase Dictionary, the villian may as well have been a cardboard cutout, and the heroine seemed to ricochet all over the place. And the worst of all...the Smythe-Smith musicales have been ruined for me. The musicales used to provide humorous moments in past books. Now they feel like a cheap tool being used to draw a Bridgerton ready-made audience to a lackluster book that I likely would never have picked up had it not had Julia Quinn's name on it and a reference to stories I used to enjoy. I guess it's time to let go of Quinn titles even as library check outs. Sorry Julia, I just don't like Spaghettios anymore.