Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)'s Reviews > His at Night

His at Night by Sherry Thomas
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His at Night was a very clever, multi-layered story. It is about two people who live their lives while playing out a role, 24 hours out of the day. Both Vere and Elissande have very good reasons for why they pretend to be someone that they are not. Vere does it to right wrongs, to exact vengeance when he could not save his mother so many years ago. Elissande does it for her survival.

I was quite impressed with how Ms. Thomas wrote this book that made me laugh myself giddy in some scenes, and feel a deep sense of sadness, frustration, and anger in other scenes. You see, Vere plays the fool, and he does it very well. He pretends to be what many called an idiot. I wonder how I would feel if I knew him. Probably, I would find myself loving him and wanting to protect him, since the world is cruel to people who are different and who don't live up to their standards. That's what his younger brother, Freddie did. Others simply treated him with contempt. I imagine that was really difficult for Vere. To be such an intelligent person, with so much to offer the world, and to be perceived by the world in such a negative light. Thus, he is a very lonely man. He has created a female companion, his perfect woman, who shares his life, and sees him as he truly is. That is his only solace, outside of his ability to see justice done, and taking care of his brother.

When Vere first sees Elissande, it's love at first sight, although he rejects this feeling. And when he sees that she is scheming to catch herself a husband, he becomes hardened against her. When she engineers being caught in a very compromising position with his brother, he arranges to be there instead, and his opinion plummets to an all time low--but he must marry her. Such begins their marriage.

Elissande turned out to be an equally complicated heroine. She's led a life of fear, living with her frail aunt and her cruel, wicked uncle by marriage. She learned to always smile and act as if everything is okay. Her sunny smile is a mask to hide her deepest fears and pain from the world. When she meets Vere and realizes that he's an idiot, smiling gets really hard. Physically, he's a dream come true. But, does she want to spend her life married to a fool, even if he represents freedom for her aunt and herself? Desperation leads to her trying to entrap Freddie, his younger brother, but she gets Vere in her clutches instead. She'll make do with him, make a marriage that helps her to gain her freedom.

Elissande doesn't expect to feel such passion with him, like she is coming home in his arms. He seems to be two different people: the idiot, and the demanding vital husband who will take all of her, or nothing. She comes to realize that being free from her uncle is not the only possibility from her marriage. Neither come to realize how much they will come to love each other. Watching their relationship unfold kept me riveted.

I must give Ms. Thomas my respect for capturing the late Victorian period so beautifully. Her prose is elegant and vivid. I felt like I was in the 19th century as I read this story. When I had to put the book down, it was with a sense of annoyance. I think this would make a wonderful movie.

The characters in this story are realistic, sometimes to a painful degree. The confrontational encounters between the characters made me wince, because it felt so real to me. I don't think Ms. Thomas is afraid of showing her characters at their ugliest, and I'm not sure that this would work well for every reader. At times, it was jarring to me, to see the cutting way Vere used words with Elissande, to push her away. How Elissande was not afraid to stab back with her own words. Conflict of this sort isn't comfortable for me. But, it felt authentic, which is something that I appreciate. I like a story that has elements of darkness, with characters that are flawed and struggling. His at Night does have this element in spades. But, it's also a fun, enjoyable book. I liked Vere's cleverness, his ability to stay in character and get the job done, even when it was so hard for him. I liked seeing his covert capers. He stands out as a crusading hero who fights the good fight, and that endeared him to me. He is a strong, vital man--my favorite kind of hero in that regard. His willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of others only made me love him more. If only he realized how well Elissande complemented him. She really wasn't so different. I wish he hadn't tried so hard to push Elissande away, afraid to let himself love her because it wasn't comfortable for him. I was glad that he came to his senses and realized that an honest relationship isn't always comfortable, that true love hurts. But some hurts heal us deep inside.

It was hard to say what I thought of this book, but to put it simply, I valued my reading experience with His at Night. This was my first book by Ms. Thomas, and I look forward to reading more books by this talented author.
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Reading Progress

October 20, 2009 – Shelved
May 28, 2010 – Shelved as: all-things-summer-challenge
May 28, 2010 – Shelved as: victorian
May 28, 2010 – Shelved as: historical-romance
May 28, 2010 – Shelved as: owned-copy
July 22, 2010 – Started Reading
July 23, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 25, 2010 – Shelved as: laughed-myself-silly-while-reading
July 25, 2010 – Shelved as: angsty-read
July 25, 2010 – Shelved as: shotgun-marriage
July 25, 2010 – Shelved as: hero-i-loved
July 25, 2010 – Shelved as: heroine-i-liked
July 26, 2010 – Shelved as: covert-agency
July 26, 2010 – Shelved as: in-disguise
July 26, 2010 – Shelved as: favorites
July 26, 2010 – Shelved as: love-at-first-sight
July 26, 2010 – Shelved as: tortured-hero
July 26, 2010 – Shelved as: tormented-heroine

Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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message 1: by Desperado (new)

Desperado Oooh. The infamous book that started the battle of "crap vs fantawesomeness" between NU & Shannon. Good luck!

message 2: by Birdy (new) - added it

Birdy Oh great, I got this one months ago but due to some bad reviews on GR, I'm not too thrill to read it yet. Can't wait to see what you think, I trust your review :)

message 3: by Adrienne (last edited Jul 26, 2010 06:45AM) (new)

Adrienne Fantastic review LD, it's great to see another positive review about this book :) although I've not read it myself I've been following the reviews with great interest. Yen read it, those folks who gave it a bad review where not on the same wavelenth as the author but NU and LD and others are, never let bad reviews put you off when it's a mixed set of reviews.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Adrienne. I haven't read her first three books. To be honest, I'm not going to read Private Arrangements and Delicious. The subject matter doesn't work for me. But, I'd love to read Not Quite a Husband and any other books she has that doesn't have the same setup as her first two books.

message 5: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne No, I can understand where you're coming from LD. I'll maybe read this one first if I see a copy, I quite like the 'Scarlet Pimpernel' type hero.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Me too. I think you'll like this one, Adrienne.

Rane Wonderful Review Danielle! ST became a auto-buy author for me, and I really enjoyed the hero and his Scarlet Pimpernel style, he could be very hard and cold at times but he had some great LOL moments

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Rane. I agree with you about Vere.

message 9: by southpaw285 (last edited Jul 26, 2010 08:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

southpaw285 Great review, Lady D. I'm really glad to see your 5 star rating. I have this book on deck to start sometime this week.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Southpaw. I hope you like it.

Alycia Great review Danielle! I have this one to read, but haven't started because of the varying reviews.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Alycia. If you don't mind the plot, I don't see why you wouldn't enjoy it.

Alycia I hope to start it soon, I think you are right. I can already sympathize with the hero having to play the idiot. I also do love flawed characters.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) You should be good then. :) I can't wait to see what you think.

Alycia Thanks! :)

message 16: by Birdy (last edited Jul 26, 2010 08:48PM) (new) - added it

Birdy Nice review Lady Danielle. I'll definitely get to it soon. I got this book because of the pretty cover, I did not expect it to be funny, that's awesome.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Yen. It's hilariously funny in some parts. But it's also pretty serious in others. I hope you like it. I love the cover, too.

message 18: by Fani *loves angst* (last edited Jul 27, 2010 07:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani *loves angst* Great review Danielle! I loved that one too, but then I've loved any Sherry Thomas book I've read:)

I also feel I have to warn you that the characters in Not Quite a Husband are more flawed than in this one.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Fani. I do appreciate the warning. I feeled out one of our fellow GRs friends, so I think I'll be okay with NQAH.

Fani *loves angst* You're welcome Danielle. I hope you like NQaH as much as I did:)

message 22: by Brylit (new)

Brylit Hi Lady D! Can't wait to read this one.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I think you'd like it, Brylit!

MashJ Your description of the storyline sounds a bit like the Scarlet Pimpernel- the part about wearing a mask to be perceived as the silliest man in England so that he could carry out his secret work. The wife sounds a little similar too. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I haven't read The Scarlet Pimpernel yet, but I intend to. Some of my friends definitely make the comparison. I think you'd probably like this book, Mshj.

message 26: by MashJ (last edited Aug 02, 2010 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

MashJ Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I haven't read The Scarlet Pimpernel yet, but I intend to. Some of my friends definitely make the comparison. I think you'd probably like this book, Mshj."

I had a major teenage crush on Anthony Andrews as "The Scarlet Pimpernel".

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I haven't seen the movie yet. One of my friends on here is crazy about it.

message 28: by Kas (new)

Kas Wow great review! I'll be picking this up for sure.

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