It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn (audiobook) – Narrated by Simon Prebble

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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.

Rating: B+

Julia Quinn is one of my go-to authors when I want a fairly lighthearted, well–written story with a sexy hero, a lively heroine, and plenty of humor, and It’s in His Kiss, the seventh title in her Bridgerton series, certainly delivers on all counts. I also like the fact that this story contains some darker undertones when compared to Ms. Quinn’s other romances, in that Gareth is slightly more tortured and Hyacinth – contrary to appearances – is more insecure than some of her other protagonists. That’s not to say the novel is especially angsty (it isn’t) – just that there is a little grit underneath the fluff. 🙂

Simon Prebble is one of my favourite narrators, too, so I was fairly sure of an enjoyable listening experience, and he certainly did not disappoint. I find his husky tones work really well when revealing the vulnerabilities of the hero, as well as being both soothing and sexy to boot. And he has a very deft touch with the heroines he portrays, never making them sound screechy or ridiculously high-pitched.

Gareth St. Clair, is the son of Richard, Baron St.Clair who, at the beginning of the book, takes great pleasure in informing Gareth that he is, in fact NOT his son, but the result of an affair his mother had with another man whose identity is unknown. This explains a lot for Gareth, who has always been openly detested by the baron, but who is nonetheless legitimate as St. Clair and his mother were married at the time of his birth.

Fast forward several years, and Gareth is openly estranged from his father, living separately and somewhat impecuniously, even though he has been the heir to the barony since the recent death of his older brother. He is utterly gorgeous and has rather a scandalous reputation yet he is devoted to his grandmother, the slightly batty but irreproachable Lady Danbury, whose appearances are among the highlights of the story. Lady D was expertly brought to life by Mr. Prebble, who I know from some of his other work has a really nice line in “elderly dowagers.” He also injects a real warmth and affection into Gareth’s exchanges with her through a subtle lightening of tone so that you can almost hear the smile in Gareth’s voice when he speaks to her.

You can read the rest of this review over at AudioGals.

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