Title: The Duke & I
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bridgertons #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 17th – 18th December 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Of course,’ Lady Bridgerton said politely.
‘Men are sheep. Where one goes, the rest soon follow…’ Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, 30 April 1813
After enduring two seasons in London, Daphne Bridgerton is no longer naïve enough to believe she will be able to marry for love. But is it really too much to hope for a husband for whom she at least has some affection?
Her brother’s old school friend Simon Basset – the new Duke of Hastings – has no intention of ever marrying. However, newly returned to England, he finds himself the target of the many marriage-minded society mothers who remain convinced that reformed rakes make the best husbands.
To deflect their attention, the handsome hell-raiser proposes to Daphne that they pretend an attachment. In return, his interest in Daphne will ensure she becomes the belle of London society with suitors beating a path to her door. There’s just one problem, Daphne is in very real danger of falling for a man who has no intention of making their charade a reality…
This novel is beautiful, sweet and romantic. It’s kind of like a Jane Austen novel with far more humour, and a more approachable, modern language. Quite possibly my favourite read of the year to be fair. There is just something about it which is kind of brilliant, and a lot of fun. There is also a sense of naivety to the storyline which really isn’t present in a lot of the romances that I read.
Although this is a romance, I was fully expecting the marriage to occur at the end point of the story. After all, that’s normally the “happily ever after” moment for most of these stories. But, instead it actually takes place just after the halfway mark. Actually, the couples biggest challenge is their own personal issues and the moments they have to face up to throughout the marriage, rather than actually getting to the altar. I completely loved this because it highlighted the fact that there is a story after marriage. That you have to continue working on the relationship, even after you have made that commitment. Something that I think sometimes needs to be highlighted a little more.
I couldn’t put this book down. It did take me two days, because I started it late at night and figured that I needed to actually sleep… but the next day, I decided to shun all people and only pursue the barest of responsibilities… I really, really had to see what happened. It’s been a little while since I was this happily engrossed in a story and I was just so damn grateful. My biggest frustration is the fact that I blew my budget over Christmas, so now have to save up before I’m able to buy more books in this series. But they’re at the top of the list!
As to the characters… Simon is incredibly stupid and angry at moments. But we still love him. There is a number of great redeeming characteristics about him, so it’s possible to forgive his stupid moments. Daphne is frustratingly naïve in many moments. But I think that it’s very true to the time, or our ideas of the time. I also love that although she’s a regency-era woman, she also has a modern rebellious streak… there’s a number of moments throughout where she actually punches the moronic men in her life. And haven’t we all felt the same desire at some point?