September 6, 2016
Proceed with caution, we are now entering the Bridgerton world.
After a dismal month of disappointing new books and dark, angst-filled old books I decided
to turn my eyes in another direction. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. I remember this series fondly. I also remember that it was something that was not going to depress me with sociopath heroes - so I began.
The Duke and I. Once upon a time in Romanceland, Julia Quinn created the Bridgerton family and I'm assuming made some big bucks in doing so. I think in this case she deserves every bit of money she receives, because this is a very charming series. For those of you who have never read any of the books from this series, the Bridgerton family consists of Violet, the mother and her alphabetical children - Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth. The first book in the series, The Duke and I, jumps over the three eldest boys to Daphne.
Daphne. Even though the Bridgerton's look alike, each of siblings have distinct personalities. Daphne is the nice sister, the good friend, but she wants a loving husband and children. She's had numerous seasons in the marriage-mart, but she hasn't found anyone she's interested in. And, no one seems to be interested in her. She has been presented with an idea. What if it appears that she is being courting by a handsome, rakish kind of guy? Wouldn't all of the other men become interested in her then? Well of course they would. Who is the one who came up with this brilliant idea? To just pretend? Just a little pretense? That would be Simon, the Duke of Basset - her brother's best friend.
Simon. Of all of Ms. Quinn's characters Simon seems to be pretty angsty. But, remember there is a great sight of difference between a Ms. Quinn's hero with angst and a Ms. Stuart, or Ms. Balogh's angst-filled hero. Simon happened to be the long-awaited heir of a man to whom maintaining the family lineage was everything. Simon's mother died in the process of giving birth to him. On top of causing his mother's death, Simon didn't speak for years and when he finally did, he stuttered. His father's reaction to Simon's stuttering was beyond cruel. His father perceived Simon as an idiot, someone who should be locked away. Eventually Simon gave up trying to win his father's love and left, cutting off any contact with him. Simon never, ever forgave his father. Simon's issue: he wants the bloodline to end with him. This is Simon's revenge response to his father - even though his father has long since gone to the great beyond. This means that Simon is really not that interested in setting up a nursery. But the ladies of the ton just will not leave him alone, which is why he comes up with his brilliant idea. He thinks if women see that he is taken, they will leave him alone. At the end Daphne will find her man and Simon can have some peace.
Of course, this is Romanceland and we know that this plan is going to fail. Not only are they going to fall in love, but there are numerous wonderful secondary characters who are going to make sure this plan fails. Anthony, Daphne's brother, isn't all that keen on the plan either. You see Anthony and Simon are friends, they know each other, they've been drunk together, had women together - they are rakes together. All of a sudden Anthony is not so happy with his friend Simon.
I'm glad I decided to reread the Bridgerton series. This was a delicious book with wonderful characters - both the main and the secondary. I loved being in the Bridgerton household, listening to the bickering, bantering and sibling squabbles.
Daphne's handling of Simon's problem and a misunderstanding of how he said he couldn’t have children was wonderful. The misunderstanding didn't drag on forever; in fact the pacing in this story was superb.
Now that I have started this series I am a happy camper.
Time/Place: Regency England