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Books Read in 2014: IT’S IN HIS KISS by Julia Quinn

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It’s in His Kiss (Bridgertons #7) by Julia Quinn

It's In His KissBook Blurb:

Gareth St. Clair is in a bind. His father, who detests him, is determined to beggar the St. Clair estates and ruin his inheritance. Gareth’s sole bequest is an old family diary, which may or may not contain the secrets of his past… and the key to his future. The problem is—it’s written in Italian, of which Gareth speaks not a word.


All the ton agreed: there was no one quite like Hyacinth Bridgerton. She’s fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, probably best in small doses. But there’s something about her—something charming and vexing—that grabs him and won’t quite let go…


Or don’t. But rest assured, he’s spinning in his grave when Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual—and annually discordant—Smythe-Smith musicale. To Hyacinth, Gareth’s every word seems a dare, and she offers to translate his diary, even though her Italian is slightly less than perfect. But as they delve into the mysterious text, they discover that the answers they seek lie not in the diary, but in each other … and that there is nothing as simple—or as complicated—as a single, perfect kiss.

My Review:

Story: 4.25 stars

      Goodreads bookshelves: books-read-in-2014, historical-romance, hist-19th-c-romantic-victorian
      Read from February 21 to March 01, 2014

After several meh reads so far this year, it was nice to settle down with a book that sucked me in and gave me an experience I haven’t had with a book in a while: an almost-all-night marathon reading session.

After a gripping prologue, the book starts out with our heroine, Hyacinth (the youngest Bridgerton sibling), and the hero, Gareth St. Clair, with an already established relationship. Well, acquaintanceship. Hyacinth is friends with Gareth’s grandmother, Lady Danbury, so apparently Hyacinth and Gareth have met through her a couple of times.

Gareth supposedly has a reputation as a rake in London society, though we never actually see that side of him in the book. Only once does he even think about the woman who is supposedly (notoriously) his mistress, and that’s after he’s already realized he’s falling for Hyacinth—which made it feel very odd and out of place for his character at that point. Gareth is also famous in London society for the rift between him and his father, the baron, even though now, after the death of Gareth’s older brother, Gareth is the only heir. The rift came about because Gareth’s mother cuckolded the baron and Gareth is illegitimate. The baron has always held this over Gareth’s head, and, though they’d never had a strong relationship before (due to the Baron always possessing this knowledge, but not revealing it to Gareth until he was in his teens), the revelation and animosity created the complete severing of their ties. Until Gareth becomes the heir (since his father claimed him on his birth, he’s considered legally legitimate, thus eligible to inherit the title), which brings them back into contact with each other occasionally, much to Gareth’s emotional detriment.

Gareth’s sister-in-law brings him a diary written by the baron’s mother stating that Gareth’s brother had it and wanted Gareth to have it upon his death. Gareth, not knowing who his real father is, can’t claim to be related to Isabella St. Clair, but he decides to have the diary, written in her native tongue of Italian, translated. Oh, and guess what . . . Hyacinth knows (some) Italian. So she volunteers to translate the diary for him.

When Hyacinth comes to a point in the diary at which there’s a major revelation that she can’t wait to tell Gareth, I assumed it was going to be some kind of confession that the baron was also illegitimate. I was so certain of this, I even said it aloud. But I was wrong. It’s actually a revelation of something that would be helpful for Gareth to have to offset the debt that the baron intends to leave to Gareth upon his death. Which naturally requires several late night jaunts to sneak into the St. Clair manor to find this hidden treasure.

I typically adore the friends-to-lovers trope in romance, but the beginning of this one felt a bit off to me. They know each other . . . but not really. But well enough to tease each other . . . but not really. But then they’re sitting/dancing together almost exclusively at every event they attend for the couple of weeks that the book covers in the opening chapters. Once they got past this awkward stage and into a true relationship, Quinn’s talent for writing witty banter and developing an intellectual and emotional bond between her characters took over and drew me into their relationship.

Hyacinth was never one of my favorites of the Bridgerton siblings, being not just intelligent but headstrong and, at times, thoughtless of others. And while Hyacinth has these tendencies in her own book, Quinn did a great job of developing a love interest for her who is her match in just about every way. So while Hyacinth did grow on me, mostly it was because of being able to view her through Gareth’s viewpoint and to see her as he did—flawed but unique and interesting in a time when most women did their best to fit in to a strictly mandated norm.

And I love how Quinn worked the title of the book into the story.

Unlike previous books, the conflicts toward the end of this one didn’t resonate with me or seem believable or well handled (by the characters or the author). Several conflicts were somewhat swept under the rug or glossed over. Others were blown out of proportion. And with one of the big ones, I really felt like Hyacinth when she said, basically, that’s it? that’s all? all that wind up and no big scene?

Like all of the other books in this series, with the exception of The Duke and I, I’d have been just as happy without reading the epilogue. While this one doesn’t just focus on the “they lived happily ever after by producing several cute, fat babies” type of ending, it also raised more questions than it answered: the primary one being that if they were depending on the treasure mentioned in the diary to offset the debt the baron was intent on leaving the estate in when he died, how did they get ten or twelve years down the road without it? It’s hard to explain why I felt so dissatisfied with it without giving away massive spoilers.

All in all, while this turned out to be a fun read, it won’t replace Romancing Mr. Bridgerton as my favorite (so far) in the series. And I did enjoy it more than To Sir Phillip, with Love—and much more than When He Was Wicked, which I tried to read twice and decided to skip altogether when I just couldn’t get into it.



My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay/not a favorite
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR/DNF = I hated it and/or Did Not Finish it

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