It's In His Kiss Mass Market Paperback – Jun 2 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Trust Quinn to deliver the most entertaining romance so far this year—and to set a high bar that other authors will have a tough time hurdling. Madcap, touching, laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly satisfying on all emotional levels, her latest London-set historical focuses on Hyacinth, the eighth sibling in Quinn's bestselling Bridgerton family series (following When He Was Wicked). Too intelligent for her own good and best friends with Lady Danbury, one of society's most outspoken grande dames, Hyacinth is in her fourth season on London's Marriage Mart and again unimpressed by the male selection. Only Lady Danbury's handsome, pockets-to-let grandson Gareth St. Clair can hold his own in a conversation with her and sometimes even leaves her in a speechless, stomach-flipping state. When Hyacinth offers to translate the diary of Gareth's deceased Italian grandmother, the pair find themselves comparing notes, then exchanging kisses and finally burglarizing his estranged father's house at midnight. But the diary also holds secrets that could jeopardize their new love. Practically bouncing with humor, this book will keep readers happily on edge, waiting to see how the final unmarried Bridgerton will fare in Quinn's talented hands.
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An escapist romp with loveable characters and scenes of sexual awakening that will have you calling for the smelling salts. Nottingham Evening Post --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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There was limitless potential for this story: mystery, family legacy, two headstrong lead characters, a meddling grandmother, and a sneaky mother. Because Hyacinth is observed in exchanges with various supporting characters during the book, it seems there will be "more" to the story in the end--as if the interactions & characters will connect in the end (to the mystery and/or romance between Hyacinth and Gareth). However, none of them do. In retrospect you wonder what was the point in some of the interactions. While a few helped with character development, many of them did nothing to strengthen the plot.
Other problems inclue:
Although the first break-in to the St. Clair estate is amusing and mysterious, repeating this twice was tedious. The major conflict between Hyacinth and Gareth is too boring & predictable to create any suspense for the reader. The resolution regarding the mystery is EXTREMELY disappointing. It left me wondering why Ms. Quinn devoted 75% of Hyacinth's and Gareth's time to a particular undertaking to have it resolved in a way that left them ignorant as to the end of the mystery. I suppose one could see her resolution as allowing Hyacinth & Gregory to keep what brought them together: "the search" for the answer rather than "the solving" the puzzle, but it didn't seem to be written that way. She could have better accomplished this by ending the book on page 363 instead of 368.
The exchanges between Gareth and his father are so predictable and redundant, there is no need for five "run-ins" between them. Hyacinth is witty, intelligent, and assertive with just the right amount of peculiarity. She's has a small fear of intimacy. But this concept is not expounded upon outside of one conversation with her mother. Therefore, her character is likeable but less dynamic. Gareth's character has a little more depth. The first love scene is extremely awkward. Perhaps Ms. Quinn was shooting for realism here--which I can accept. However, her writing of the couple's "intimate" encounters seemed choppy and poorly timed. When Gareth & Hyacinth share say, "I love you," for the first time, the scene is initally touching. But, quickly becomes almost satirical after the couple proceeds to compete regarding who can say: "I Love You" the most times. I adore the "I Love You" scene in a romance novel. But this was almost a mockery.
Overall, this was a cute book if you're looking for an average romance novel to kill sometime. However, it didn't pack the punch that so many have. Most romance novels have a line or scene that really stand out in your head. The only ones I can recall of this novel are the ones with Hyacinth and Lady Danbury. In fact, all of the interactions between the heroine and the supporting characters were either humorous, emotionally stirring, or endearing. This was not so in the romance elements between Hyacinth & Gareth. I think therein lies the problem. It seems Ms. Quinn lost focus on Hyacinth & Gareth by concentrating so heavily on supporting characters and subplots that were never culminated. The product was a romance that seemed more like a brotherly love than a passionate love.
I strongly suggest reading the earlier novels: The Duke & I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, if you want to read the best Bridgerton books. In the meantime, I look forward to Gregory's story. I belive there was a hint in this book as to who his love interest will be. I also hope to see more Bridgerton's in the conclusion of the series.
Fans of Julia Quinn's earlier books may be a bit disappointed by this one. Like her past books, this one has her trademark wit and humor, and there are appearances from many past characters (Lady Danbury and Violet Bridgerton play a key role, Gregory Bridgerton is present as a vexing older brother, and Penelope, Anthony, and Francesca all show up briefly). Unfortunately, the romance between Hyacinth and Gareth does not have the tension and excitement that many of her other books do. In fact, the romance seems almost anti-climactic - it takes a back seat to the mystery of the diary, which is interesting but presents no real danger or intrigue to the plot. The main conflict in the story is Gareth's relationship with his father, or rather lack of a relationship. The two hate each other, and Gareth's father seems to motivate him in everything he does.
If you are a previous Bridgerton fan, then I would reccomend this book. It is worth it to see Hyacinth all grown up, and the characters are likeable. If you have not yet read one of the Bridgerton books, I would not start with this one. You might find yourself unable to understand what all of the fuss is about.
Although Hyacinth is the youngest, this is not the last Bridgerton book. Her older brother, Gregory, will get his own book in Summer 2006. The previous Bridgerton books, in order, are: "The Duke and I" (Daphne), "The Viscount Who Loved Me" (Anthony), "An Offer From A Gentleman" (Benedict), "Romancing Mr. Bridgerton" (Colin), "To Sir Philip, With Love" (Eloise), and "When He Was Wicked" (Francesca).
YES... I am afraid this is not her best work.
I will not recap the story--there is an excellent recap above, but I would like to comment as to why I--and two of my friends--found this book lacking. (AND btw I loved When He Was Wicked....so I do not see this as a trend...) Granted, this is better than most of the fare out there..but to me..that is not good enough. JQ has been nothing short of brilliant thusfar in her career....and we can all forgive bits and pieces..but not such huge gaps.
*****AND I should add--I do recall reading on her website that with this particular book she had started it..scrapped it after maybe 100 pages/several months (thus she had not read anything as she was busy catching up...) and ultimately she started over.
She had never done this before.
I am disappointed that her publisher and editor did not extend her deadline and allow her to create a complete full bodied book--with plausable motivations and memorable characters. We don't know if she asked for this extention..but ANY good editor or publisher whose job is to guide a shining star such as JQ... SHOULD have the wisdom to send their writer back to fix up a book that could have been fixable...because frankly this book could ruin the reputations of writer, editor AND pubisher...
So..in my opinion, this is more of an imperfect draft that I am sure...if Julia had been given an extention...she would have realized some of the grave flaws I captured below-and exchanged them with some of the full bodies characters and pomp and spark that we so love in JQ books!****
No more interuptions...here are my reasons:
1) No real chemistry. Sure, at the Smyth-Smith concert there are a few flickers..but no real sparks. And as the book progresses--NO flames.
I just didn't CARE if these two ever ever got together. Period.
(BTW I think Gregory should be paired up with a Smyth-Smith--it is about time! And the possibilities here are delightful!)
AND what is this?? After a frank discussion with Violet, Hy wonders about some of the guys she may have turned away? No way! The ONLY guy for her is the hero..yet we wonder if even SHE isn't sure about him--that she has to hold onto this guy as she has already let too many fish get away.
2) Hyacynth is not especially likable--and part of it is JQ TELLS us she is this or that but she does little to SHOW us Hy's attributes. We are constantly reminded that she is smarter than most men and that she is very clever. Yet, when it comes down to it... she seems to have no real personality of her own. Show us how she is clever and diabolical...please. Hy seems more like a character out of Mean Girls than a heroine that we could AND should relate to. IE at the Smythe-Smith concert..it is more of a joke..vs Penelope who had gone because she FELT for these poor talentless women. Hy seems almost smug in her knowledge that she is a Bridgerton and everyone will be beholden to her because of this..vs someone who is more of an individual....and people want to be with her because of HER. Thus, there is not a lot about her to like.
I have found that there was more character developement in JQ's short stories than what was displayed in this book. Readers need to FEEL something for the heroine and sadly, we felt zero.
3) I admire Julia Quinn for trying something new--and in this case, a mystery, but I never found myself waiting for the big reveal. No suspense. No surprise. Again, each character knows a secret that they are keeping from the other..but there is NO feeling! VERY unsatisfactory. In fact, had this been resolved in a satisfactory fashion, I may have a TOTALLY different rating. But the way this book ends really reveals how little the mystery really meant to the story. YET this WAS a romantic mystery...yet there was no romance nor any mystery. Bleh. I just hope this is Julia's last mystery. Or, she needs to read some Agatha Christie before she attempts another. And the last page of the book reveals how little this mystery really had to do with this story.
4) The first sex scene is really..shall I use the word...unnecessary?? Ok the motivations of Gareth to 'bed' her is REALLY weak..and thus it just seems that JQ put that scene in there because 2/3rds of the book went by and there had not been any sort of sex scene. Gratitious. :(
5) The Bridgerton clan is more of a guest appearance...and tired at best. Gregory does not seem more than remotely interesting--and he is the last book. He just seems REALLY dull. :( And Anthony! UGH! Just ruined the Viscount that Loved Me for me...
What I really wonder is why Anthony is written the way he is..when he married a far more difficult woman than Hy..a woman who was not afraid to speak her mind when she had too many years on the shelf and was outspoken as all get out--without any sort of fortune or grand family name behind her. There is no way that after living with Kate all of these years that Anthony would have handled Hy the way he did....
6) Gareth's parentage. I think that having something similar (two brothers/like brothers) two books in a row was not the freshest idea...and this goes back to my rushed idea. I don't have the eww factor that others have..but more that this seems that the writer is out of any sort of fresh ideas.
7) While I am at it, I am pushing for JQ to do a book on Violet's story. Yea, we know it ends sadly, but like Star wars Episode three, we know the outcome, we just want to know how she go there!
IT'S IN HIS KISS, continues with the Bridgerton family saga. This time Ms. Quinn tackles Hyacinth's story. Hyacinth is the youngest of the Bridgerton clan, and like most 'youngest' in a family, she is a manipulator, who loves to get her own way -- and she usually does. She is spontaneous, devilishly outspoken, charming, and exasperating -- exasperating enough to provoke Gareth St. Clair.
Gareth St. Clair was his father's contempt. The man loathed him. Gareth was a by-blow, nothing more than a whelp his mother obtained from another man. Oh how, his 'legal' father delighted in that wounding confession. Yes, someday Gareth St. Clair would inherit his father's title and properties, but first the old man would beggar the St. Clair estates. Nevertheless, Gareth did have one endowment: his grandmother's diary - a diary written in Italian. Bewitchingly smart Hyacinth Bridgerton offers to translate for Gareth. Yet, as they attempt to solve the text, Gareth St. Clair soon discovers he wants Hyacinth Bridgerton! If for no other reason than to show his father he is good enough for a 'ton' girl.
After Quinn's victory with WHEN HE WAS WICKED, I looked to this entry with much anticipation, but I finished disappointed. IT'S IN HIS KISS is reminiscent of Quinn's BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN and DANCING AT MIDNIGHT. Lifeless dialogue plagues all three; all three are inglorious.
Reviewer for: RomanceDesigns.com
Now on to "It's In His Kiss":
It seems to me that with this novel JQ was trying to veer back towards a more standard romance novel format, since her last two novels were much more unusual... The only problem is, Hyacinth and Gareth aren't compelling enough to carry the story all the way to the end. Loyal JQ readers might have had our expectations set too high for Hyacinth...
Some of my problems with the novel:
1)Throughout the novel, JQ constantly tells the reader how clever and sneaky Hyacinth is, yet it never really shows in her actions. She also keeps informaing us that Gareth is a consummate rake, but the reader never sees it. I think she assumes her readers will be familiar enough with the Bridgerton clan to not need reminding why they are so endearing. Hyacinth just didn't seem to get the sparkle she had in previous novels.
2) The chemistry between the two characters fizzles halfway.. I actually began to fall asleep reading and I've never done that with a JQ novel before
3) The conversations between Lady Danbury and Hyacinth get a little annoying... I began to get the feeling they both thought they were more clever than they actually were
I know this all sounds incredibly harsh, and let me make one thing clear. "It's In His Kiss" is still twice as entertaining as many romance novels, because even JQ at her dullest is still pretty darn good. I don't consider this book to have been a waste of money, merely not quite the keeper like "The Duke and I" and "Romancing Mr. Bridgerton."
Also, I agree with another reader who said that they felt as though Gregory had been inserted purely as a prop for the next book. I'm hoping that JQ will allow some "time" to pass in her fictional world so Gregory will develop a more complex character...