In the continuing story of my bad travel experiences this past weekend (5 hours is a long delay, friends) I also started (and finished on the 8 am flight home) another book. When you need a warm blanket of a book, you go back to your comfort reads, which I am convinced are a different genre for everyone. For me, that meant it was time to pull up the next Bridgerton family book on my nook.
I love the Bridgertons. This book was starting on second base, if you’ll allow the sports metaphor. But, like some of the other later books in this series, which kick off with Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, I feel that Julia Quinn was relying on our affection for the characters. It’s in His Kiss is the seventh book, and chronicles the meet cute and engagement of youngest Bridgerton Hyacinth and Lady Danbury’s rakish grandson Gareth St. Clair.
Like the first book in the series, The Duke and I, it remained nice to read about characters that were meant for each other, and not in the star crossed lovers’ sort of way, but in the well matched people in intellect and interest who have the hots for each other way. I didn’t initially buy into Gareth and Hyacinth’s connection as much as much as Daphne and Simon. But, I’m on the record that I find Julia Quinn’s strengths to lie squarely with how well (and quickly) she is able to flesh out her characters. Hyacinth and Gareth are another in a long pair of fully realized characters who spend the time getting to know each other, and that’s where this work also shines. Quinn spends quite a bit of time in the Bridgerton books laying out the meaning of family – both having it and not. In Hyacinth and Gareth, we get both in each character. Hyacinth has a large and loving family, but was born after her father’s death and has had that hole in her life. Gareth had a small nuclear family, and a lot of fall out surrounding the identity of his father, and a terrible relationship with the man he grew up with, and his mother’s death. But he, like Hyacinth, does have a healthy relationship with a maternal figure. The characters are able to talk about these various relationships, and their ramifications, and grow together.
One of the weaknesses in Quinn’s writing, which showed up in When He Was Wicked, is that she will let a story stall out at an emotional point and spend more time there than strictly necessary. While this story is in danger of that on two different fronts (Gareth’s true parentage and why he proposed in the first place) Quinn manages to use the two to counterbalance each other and keep the story moving.
We are however missing the grand band of Bridgerton siblings in this outing. We see Gregory and Anthony, and get a name drop for everyone else. Hyacinth gives us a slightly more meaty mention of Benedict and Sophie’s marriage as a way for she and Gareth to overcome their own problems, which was nice. It was good to see the support between the characters, and the acceptance of struggles as surmountable.
This is a middle of the road Bridgerton book, but that is still a four-star book by my standards.