Saturday, July 18, 2009
Meet Our Hero ...
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.
Meet Our Heroine ...
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 ...
Meet Poor Mr. Mozart ...
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.
The seventh and second to last book of London society's Bridgerton family, which is a delightful, frothy, historical romance series by one of my favorite romance authors, Julia Quinn. This was, as usual, funny in parts, touching in parts, sexy in parts, but I can't say this was a favorite.
Hyacinth Bridgerton, the youngest of the eight siblings has a strong, sort of annoying personality. She is not someone that is easily crossed. On one hand, she can be sweet and caring, but she can also be bossy, stubborn and exasperating. Gareth St. Clair, our hero proves to be her match. Blonde, handsome with a reputation with the ladies, he kind of unexpectedly likes this side of Hyacinth. He has his own problems, namely that his father cannot stand him. Gareth has virtually no family, except his maternal grandmother, the feisty, cranky yet, oh so endearing - Lady Danbury. He envies Hyacinth her large family. The rest of the Bridgertons are delighted at the idea that some poor chap might actually marry their little sister, singular qualities and all - but all is not so simple in the early nineteenth century world of Julia Quinn.
Aside from the growing attraction between Gareth and Hyacinth is the little problem that Gareth knows he is not really his father's son - hence the estrangement and animosity between them. But who is his real father and what does a long lost diary of his paternal Italian grandmother have to do with it? Luckily, Hyacinth just so happens to know enough Italian to translate the diary, and so begins the mystery and treasure hunt in the book for some lost jewels. The plot is enjoyable with some laugh out loud moments, Hyacinth dressing up in britches to skulk around at night in search of the lost jewels and the usual banter amongst the Bridgerton siblings. But, for the most part there is not a lot of sexual tension between Hyacinth and Gareth, which I think is key in these kind of books. It's pretty much a given early on that the two are mad about each other - beginning with the kiss. (I must admit, it was a good kiss!)
Gareth's story is highlighted as one who has to come to terms with his lot in life. I felt for him, yet I wasn't crazy about him as a hero, especially his idea of having to make sure that once he is engaged to Hyacinth he has to compromise her to seal the bargain so she can't "cry off." WTF? I had trouble with this concept, but it didn't totally ruin him in my eyes and he does come to realize it probably wasn't his best idea afterwards, even though he does follow through with the plan. I found it a major flaw in his character, IMHO. Still, he's not a total scoundrel, but I missed that noble hero characteristic other Bridgerton heroes seem to have.
A good book, but not the best in the series. Overall, it was entertaining, but a weak link in the chain of Bridgertons. Still, a must read for anyone who enjoys lighthearted and amusing historicals with a touch of the absurd and a few moments of poignancy thrown in for good measure. Even if it was weak, it's still Julia Quinn, and you can't go wrong with anything by her - though the ending left me wondering - huh????