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A Hero for Hyacinth

JULIA QUINN'S YOUNGEST BRIDGERTON
FINALLY LEARNS THAT
IT'S IN HIS KISS

She's one of the biggest names in romance, a Harvard grad and an almost doctor whose last three novels all hit the New York Times bestseller list. And she's created one of the most popular series in the historical romance genre.

But the penultimate Bridgerton book, It's in His Kiss, is poised to become Julia Quinn's biggest success yet.

Hyacinth Bridgerton, a child in Quinn's first Bridgerton novel, The Duke and I, has grown up right before readers' eyes. Bratty, nosy and incredibly sweet, she's been a fan favorite for years. Now she's met her match in troubled playboy Gareth St. Clair. When Gareth enlists Hyacinth's help in translating his Italian grandmother's diary, they set off on a treasure hunt for hidden jewels and stolen kisses, hounded along the way by the lovable and irascible Lady Danbury.

It's in His Kiss has the delightful hijinks, quippy dialogue and lighthearted tone that are the hallmarks of Quinn's style. But the book—and the anticipation surrounding it—caused Quinn more than a few writing pains. "I wrote about 60 pages
of another book before dumping it," she reveals. "Gareth was going to be a privateer. Hyacinth was going to be kidnapped and taken on his boat and was going to have this huge romantic adventure. But I couldn't figure out how to do this without her coming across as stupid. She was changing into this hair-tossing character." For Quinn, it was crucial to stay true to the Hyacinth that had developed over the course of the series. "I can't change her character. She's just this incredibly mouthy and sometimes annoying person!"

Quinn's currently hammering out the final Bridgerton novel, Gregory's story. She's tight-lipped about the plot—"It can change so much. At this point last year, Hyacinth would have been on a boat!"—but will state that fans hoping for a big wave goodbye to the Bridgertons need to look elsewhere. "You shouldn't have scenes that don't support the story at hand. You can't be just trotting out your old characters for the sake of old characters. The most important thing is that each book stand on its own." Once the series is finished, she'll be leaving the Bridgertons for a two-book Regency series, though she doesn't rule out writing about one of her well-known characters' children in the future.

It's a long and unexpected journey from romance-loving Harvard co-ed to queen
of the Regency romp. But what do the people she left behind think of her career?

"The people who have gone to the schools you would think would be the snobbiest are the most excited," says Quinn. "It's so far removed from their experience, it's interesting. I was featured in the Harvard [alumni] magazine and it was a lovely article.
I went to a well-known boarding school and they order my books for the library. My friends think it's cool."

Judging by her book sales, a lot of other people do too. —Colleen Cusick


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