September 14, 2016
Will the real Mrs. Whistledown please stand up.
Yes, in the fourth Bridgerton book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, the mysterious gossip
columnist Mrs. Whistledown is revealed. Spoilers ahead for those of you who have never read the series. In my humble opinion this is the best book in the series. A lot of this has to do with the humor, but the characters in this story are superb.
Colin. Colin is one sexy, charming Bridgerton. Although he is truly charming, he also uses that charm as a facade. He doesn’t know who he is as a person. All of his brothers have something which makes them unique, but he's just charming. So, even though he loves his family deeply, he is a tad bit resentful and has spent most of his adult life traveling through the world. But he didn't spend so much time away from England that a young girl couldn't fall in love with him.
Penelope. Penelope Featherington is the daughter of an extremely overbearing mother with no sense of style. Penelope has grown up with the Bridgerton brood; in fact, her best friend is Eloise Bridgerton. Eloise and Penelope have plans to be spinsters together. When Penelope was sixteen, she fell in love with Colin. She's terribly shy, overweight, badly dressed - but she is going to luv him forever. Of course, Colin views Penelope as a dumpling of a girl who seems to be at their house allll the time. Now he's back in town and he starts to talk to Penelope. He begins to see her as something more than a shy wallflower. He starts to enjoy being with her - little does he know that she is Mrs. Whistledown.
I like the portrayal of Penelope in this book. She's shy, she's uncomfortable in social situations. But like most shy people, she's highly observant. On top of that she's also quite sarcastic and acerbic in private. Penelope has managed to bring her witty observations to life in her gossip columns. In those written words, she is no longer the woman who sits with the chaperones along the wall, but a sparkling personality. Then the infamous Lady Danbury challenges the ton to a wager - a search for the identity of Mrs. Whistledown. This changes everything for Penelope - at first she's afraid she will be found out. But then when another woman announces that she is in fact Mrs. Whistledown, Penelope is torn between wanting the world to know the real identity of Mrs. Whistledown and hiding.
I loved the flow of Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Colin is not a typical hero; he's so dissatisfied with his life - he is desperate to be more than just a chestnut-haired Bridgerton. He starts to fall in love with Penelope because she makes him aware of his strong points. He comes alive when Penelope is around. Colin and Penelope make a great couple; they bring out the best in each other.
Overall, this was a fun book with another delightful couple. Did it have anachronisms all over the place? Yes. Did I care? No. In this book, Ms. Quinn developed a couple who I cared about and who I liked. And, when that happens in a book, historical accuracy takes a back seat.
Time/Place: 1820s England