Hyacinth Bridgerton is the youngest, and probably most outspoken and nosy of all the eight Bridgerton siblings. Her mother is starting to despair that she’ll ever find a husband, as even with a raised dowry, her refusal to suffer fools and her tendency to talk interested suitors’ ears off has tended to scare off most potential suitors. Hyacinth herself is quite happy to become a spinster, she certainly can’t abide the thought of a man who can’t match wits with her. If she is going to marry someone, she wants a marriage as loving as that of her parents’, which she has heard so much about throughout her life, even though her father died before she was born. She could quite happily see herself becoming as formidable a presence in society as her friend Lady Danbury, for whom she reads every Tuesday.
Lady Danbury, however, thinks her favourite grandson, the rakish Gareth St. Clair might just be the man to capture Hyacinth’s attention. She’s more or less raised him since he had a massive falling out with his father a decade earlier. With his older brother, one of the few people Gareth ever cared about dead, Gareth finds himself in the possession of his grandmother’s diary and his sister-in-law seems to think it’s important that he learn its content. Unfortunately, it’s in Italian and Gareth doesn’t know anyone who speaks the language. He visits his grandmother to see if she knows anyone, since she knows anyone who’s worth knowing, and discovers that her favourite young companion does indeed claim to know quite a bit of the language.
Hyacinth’s grasp of Italian might not be the best, but she knows enough to gradually decode the diary and she promises not to tell anyone else about what she discovers. Lady Danbury is delighted that the project will throw the young people closer together, never dreaming of what secrets Hyacinth will uncover. Gareth is in desperate need of money as his loathsome father seems to be determined to gamble away as much of the family fortunes as possible, only to make sure Gareth inherits nothing but debts. Hyacinth claims that his grandmother may have hidden a fortune in hidden jewels somewhere in his father’s house though, and if they could find them, Gareth’s future would be secure.
I always remembered Hyacinth and Gareth’s book as one of my favourites, and was happy to see that it still holds up remarkably well. The esteemed Mrs. Julien claims that there are only ever five plots in romance novels with minor variations, and this book features the trope of the rake and the wallflower.
You can find the rest of my review here.