RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: His at Night by Sherry Thomas


Title: His at Night
Author: Sherry Thomas
Publication Info: Bantam 2010
ISBN: 978-0553592443
Genre: Historical: European

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.I have two RITA® Reader Challenge reviews for His at Night, one from Donna, and one from ReadinginAK. Donna gave this book an A, saying, “So far, I’ve found that everything that spills out of Sherry Thomas’ brain is an A read. I bet her even shopping list would be interesting.” Meanwhile ReadinginAK gave it a solid B, so I’ve averaged the two to B+.

Book CoverPlot Summary: 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 that they’re not the only one with a hidden agenda. With seduction their only weapon—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?

And here are Donna and ReadinginAK’s reviews:

First, Donna’s review:

It must be said up front that I fell in love with Percy Blakeney when I was 12. If your hero is hiding his superior intellect behind the face of a fool as he fights on the side of the angels, well, you’ve got me at “that demmed elusive Pimpernel”.

And if he’s got a brother named Freddy? Well, now it’s almost guarenteed to be a good time.

While you have the usual misunderstandings- pesky male concepts of honor, cutting words and drunken debauching- you also get this lovely story of two people whose real selves live solitary lives locked inside their own heads finding each other. Of course, she’s more realistic about the sustaining and transient nature of her dreams of Capri than he is about his fantasy of the ideal woman, but that’s a man for you. Does he get a clue when Ellisande replaces IW in his daydreams? No, he’s irritated and mystified.

They also behave like adults in the end, apologizing and giving forgiveness for transgressions made: her trapping him into marriage, his asinine behavior towards her. He also comes clean to dear Freddy and gets the punch he deserves along with understanding and forgiveness.

And his family calls him “Penny”. Wonderful.

And here is ReadinginAK’s review:

Occasionally you read a book, where you know the HEA is coming, but you aren’t sure how it’s going to get there. In the case of His at Night(Sherry Thomas), you know that Vere and Elissande (yes, that’s her name) are going to end up together, but how? The initial premise of the book seems a little strained, but in that “I guess this could happen” kind of way that doesn’t totally annoy, but doesn’t completely have you on the hook.

There’s a laudanum-addicted aunt who functions as a kind of plot moppet for the first half of the book and her over-bearing husband who has threatened and mentally abused our heroine, Elissande (yes, that’s her name). There are spies, an artistic brother and rats.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that Vere, our hero, had a “fantasy woman”. Essentially, he had a LIST- that mental image of hisperfect women. She wasn’t totally detailed, but he had enough of an idea to know when he didn’t meet her. Of course, Elissande (yes, that’s her name) looks like his ideal, but then she doesn’t act like his ideal. The coming to grips with the difference between fantasy and reality is something that everyone who meets a potential partner has to do and that played out well in this book all the way to the HEA.

Part of this reader’s HEA was learning whence Elissande’s (yes, that’s her name) came.

This book is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook | WORD Brooklyn |

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    JBHunt says:

    I agree with Donna. Everything Sherry Thomas writes is perfection.

    I heard her on a panel at RWA two years ago, and she was hilarious. Brilliant and funny—a great combination.

  2. 2
    WBoling says:

    I tried to read this one after I got it from NetGalley, but I think, for me, it was a case of the sex coming too soon. I get really annoyed when there is supposed to be something important happening and the h/H can’t stop boning. (It happens in movies all the time, and I get angry, but in books I find it even worse. It makes me feel cheated.) I now feel like I should give it another chance, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get past that.

  3. 3
    Wendy says:

    I enjoyed this, but I kept wishing that Freddy’s story had been the main story, rather than a side note. I liked it more. There was just something about Elissande (YtHN) that drove me bats.
    However, I will be looking into more Sherry Thomas because the books was solidly written.  I agree with the B.

  4. 4
    Ilana says:

    This was one of my favourite books of the year.  I, too, adore stories about smart people pretending to be stupid.  The best part of this one was once YesThatsHerName twigged on, she tried to out-stupid Vere.

    In addition to the Scarlet Pimpernel, Patricia Briggs did it well with Dragon Bones/Blood.

  5. 5
    kkw says:

    I remember I enjoyed this book thoroughly, but although I knew I had read it, I couldn’t remember what happened or why I liked it so much even after reading the back cover blurb (the reviews brought it back). But for me, an A book means I think about the characters after the fact, so I guess I’ll have to agree with the B+ even though I have a sense I liked it more than that.

    The best part of this one was once YesThatsHerName twigged on, she tried to out-stupid Vere.

    I totally agree.  Loads of fun, the writing was much better than average, and the story well-paced (you really can’t have sex too soon so far as I’m concerned).
    I don’t get the big deal about the name, though.  Does it belong to some famous person I’ve never heard of, or is it that it’s not a name anyone has ever heard of?
    Also, as I just mentioned in the Willig review (that is now buried in the awesome onslaught of Rita reviews) project gutenberg has a bunch of Orczy for free download.
    This is how my nook paid for itself.

  6. 6
    ReadinginAK says:

    The big deal about the name for me was that I just had a little eyelid twitch every time I read it. It just didn’t sit well with me and I had a little eye roll every time I read it. If I had learned earlier about the source of the name, I think I would have been much happier. (And, of course, it’s all about me…) :)

  7. 7
    An says:

    I just discovered Sherry Thomas, and WOW! I am so impressed. I really liked this book, I thought there was an actual relationship brewing between Penny and Ellisande.

    I was filled with big sighs and now Thomas is one of my new favourite authors.

  8. 8
    sweetsiouxsie says:

    Everything that Sherry Thomas has written gets an A from me. I love her work!!!

  9. 9
    Pallavi says:

    Loved the “Elisande (yes, that’s her name)”. Made me laugh out loud – all 4 times… :-)

    And yes, I too find the hero-hiding-behind-a-buffoon’s-mask much more likeable that that scary badass version – its a difficult life when you know everyone’s laughing at you.

    I’ve read another book on similar lines, where the heroine is hired by the hero’s parents to turn him into someone more manly and less obsessed with clothes. Of course he was a secret agent too. And of course, she was the only one who saw through his buffoonery. Now, that was a smexy book… Wish I could remember the name of that book. Oh, wait – this is not the same book, is it??

  10. 10
    Nicole says:

    I love Sherry Thomas and Not Quite a Husband is one of my all time favorites.  I think b is about right for this book, though and not because of the heroine’s name.

    I think the issue with me for this book is that I didn’t really like the two main characters that much.  the hero didn’t appear to have much of a real personality. Its as if the masquerade robbed him of one.  The heroine was a little shrewish.  I’m also not a big fan of the abusive villain. 

    After NQAH, I was really looking forward to this book and was disappointed.  Having said that its still better than most of the romances i’ve read.

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