BRIDGERTON – The Duke and I (Daphne’s Story) by Julia Quinn

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsy before a prince-while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable . . .but not too amiable. Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen. Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society – just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile will see her prospects and her reputation soar. The plan works like a charm-at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cutthroat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule. . .(This copy includes 2nd epilogue-Netflix Tie-In) (Published:2000/Pages:438/Historical Romance)

The early 1800s of London, home of one of the most pristine families in town, The Bridgertons, a family of eight children one including the lovely Daphne.  Daphne has come of age to finally find herself a husband and her mother Violet has made it her mission to help Daphne on her search.  When all hope seems to be lost and the pressure of Violet looms over every ballroom event, Daphne seems to be lost with whom to marry.  That is until Duke Simon returns to London, promising never to marry or bear children, well, that is until he meets the beautiful Daphne . . . Leading the two to conspire a plan to court with the hope to deter the women from Simon and giving Daphne more suitors.  The plan seems flawless, that is until love sweeps the two up in its tangles.  Leading both Daphne and Simon on a road of love and passion.

I love historical fiction, but I am not a fan of romance.  I also binged the whole Netflix adaption series which is what lead me to read this in the first place.  I must say, the two are nothing alike.  This centered completely around Simon and Daphne, giving great depth to their courting and relationship.  The Bridgerton family are very entertaining characters, their relationships with each other are fun, sarcastic, and playful.  A truly fun bunch to get to know.  This was an extremely well-written book; Quinn shows true talent. I enjoyed learning more about this era in time and what it must have been like finding love.

For as much as I loved the Bridgerton family and writing, I cannot say the same for the story of Simon and Daphne. I knew I did not like romance novels, and this just sealed the deal.  I found Simon and Daphne’s relationship rather cringy at times. I felt some parts were a bit repetitive, there was no real character growth, the story was flat, and I was just ready for the book to be over. Aside from a prolonged, in-depth view of Daphne and Simon, there was not anything else to this book.

I will most likely continue the series in the future, as each book focuses on a different member of the family.  The story of Daphne and Simon was just not for me, however. Although I did not love this book, I did find it to be a rather fun, easy, light book to break up some of the heavier books I usually read.  A fun escape into another era to lighten things up, that is what this book was. If you enjoy cheesy romance novels or are looking for a light, fluffy, easy read this may be a book that would interest you.  If you enjoyed the Netflix series and want to try the books, I feel they may be a hit or miss.  I love the series, eagerly awaiting Season Two, yet I felt the book fell flat in comparison to what the show had to offer. I would say it is worth a chance though.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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