It's In His Kiss, by Julia Quinn

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Julia Quinn's one of my few autobuy authors. I'm one of those who absolutely loved her turn into angstier writing, with her last two Bridgerton books, so I wanted to read book # 7, It's In His Kiss, as soon as possible.

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--an 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.
IIHK had none of the angst I was expecting. Which isn't a bad thing at all, really, since I do like Julia Quinn when she does "light and frothy". It's what so many new authors try for and fail at doing, because while JQ does light and frothy at style, she doesn't skimp on the substance. A B+.

This style I mention was truly delightful. The dialogue sparkles, and so does the narration. I was especially charmed by the little intros at the top of each chapter. They provided quite a few chuckles.

As for the romance, it was very nice. I was surprised at how much of a conventional path Gareth and Hyacinth's courtship followed. It's funny, because while what happened with them (they meet, get to know each other and, after no more than a couple of kisses, they decide they like each other enough to get married) must have been pretty frequent in non-dynastic matches, it so seldom happens in romance novels. There's always something like our protagonists pretending to be engaged, or deciding to be lovers and not wanting to marry until they have to, or the hero proposing to get revenge against someone, stuff like that. Not here. Other than some inappropriate visits from Hyancinth (more on that later), these two were surprisingly proper up until their engagement.

I especially liked the direction the story went in near the end, when a teeny bit of angst did enter it, as Hyacinth got suspicious about Gareth's motives for marrying her.

The weak point of the story was all the running around looking for the jewels, searching Gareth's father's house and all that. It wasn't offensive, but I just thought it was a bit pointless and boring. Other than that, a good, feel-good book. Oh, and I loved Lady Danbury!


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