Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Book Review 2022 #4 - Julia Quinn's It's in His Kiss

It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn
Published by: Avon
Publication Date: June 28th, 2005
Format: Paperback, 399 Pages
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy

Gareth St. Clair has one person in all the world whom he loves, that is his maternal grandmother Lady Danbury. His father would publicly declare Gareth a bastard if it wouldn't make himself look like a cuckold. But now that Gareth's older brother has died and he is to inherit, one would think things might change. Well they do, but not because of his father, because of Hyacinth Bridgerton. Much like Gareth, Hyacinth is a darling of Lady Danbury's. In fact they really are the only two. Which is why they are sitting next to each other at the Smythe-Smith Musicale. An evening of "entertainment" that Lady Danbury insists they go to because someone needs to cheer those poor Smythe-Smiths on. And for the first time in memory Hyacinth didn't hate the evening. Could it be because of Gareth? She's being continually hounded to get married, and she's under no delusions that it's because her family wishes to be ride of her. She knows she can be a bit much, but no one has ever even come close to getting near her heart. But is that because, as her mother says, she won't let anyone in? Well, the last person she'd let in is Gareth St. Clair. He's a hardened rake. Hyacinth has heard ALL the stories from his grandmother. Yet there's something about him. Something that is different. The next day, a Tuesday, Hyacinth is reading Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron to Lady Danbury as she does every week when Gareth arrives and interrupts the two lamenting the heroine's fate. Gareth has just come into possession of his paternal grandmother's diary which his brother left him. He's dying to know what it says, perhaps she knew his real father! But the problem is the diary is in Italian. Hyacinth happens to mention she knows Italian, perhaps overstating her skills a little just to impress him. But she offers to have a go and is instantly obsessed with Isabella's life and a secret she held, a cache of diamonds she never told her husband about. Gareth and Hyacinth become frantic in their search for the jewels. Could there be a better revenge on his father than stealing the jewels out from under him? Perhaps marrying Hyacinth, the girl his father said would never accept him. Unless that is exactly what his father wants...

Hyacinth, as the youngest Bridgerton, hasn't played much of a role in the previous volumes due to her age. From Colin's book onward we've had hints that she's rather a handful with a love of gossip and an unguarded tongue she seems to share more DNA with Lady Danbury than she does with the Bridgertons. She's the sibling whom Anthony longs to have off his hands as, all things considered, while her family loves her, she's a bit of a nightmare. And this, right here, is why I so heartily love Hyacinth. Yes, she puts on a strong front and knows it's important, nay, imperative to always be yourself, but she knows that she can be "too much" for some people and I can so relate to this that it's painful. It took me a long time to find friends whom I could be myself around. Friends who didn't think I was too loud, or too enthusiastic, or just too much. It's painful when you know your faults are an intrinsic part of yourself. I have tried to be quiet, I've tried to tone myself down, but it's frustrating to the point of tears sometimes to feel that the world just doesn't get you. And when Hyacinth's mother had a rather frank conversation about her muchness that told the truth but blunted the sting with so much love and admiration for her daughter amongst the frustration I too cried. Why can't Violet be my mother? I've had the truth handed to me in harsh ways and to have someone love you enough to express the truth through love instead of through vindictiveness just makes me love this book all the more. And the fact that Hyacinth finds love with Gareth just makes me happy, because he loves her because she's different and outspoken and just Hyacinth. And as for Gareth, well, this might be the only Bridgerton novel where I connected with both halves of the couple completely. I totally related to his desolation that there was just one person in the world who loves him and whom he loves. That small unit can be scary. That one connection so fierce yet so fragile. Dammit, now I think I'm going to cry again. Thankfully whenever I feel maudlin I just have to remember how much Lady Danbury is in this volume. Dammit, she's just awesome. Her love of purple prose and romance underneath all that snark just adds another layer of perfection to someone I already thought damn perfect to start with.


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