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REVIEW: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Dear Ms. Quinn:

The Duke and I by Julia QuinnThe Duke And I (Bridgerton Series, Bk. 1), the first in the Bridgerton series, was a time that I reconnected with an old favorite author. While your trademark has always been frothy, light regencies, I’ve always held a place in my heart for the girl next door, Daphne Bridgerton, and her romantic but serious story.

Daphne Bridgerton is the oldest of the girl of eight children. Daphne is a normal girl. She likes dresses and parties and babies. Her true mission in life is as ordinary as they come: She wants to get married and have a family more than anything. Her problem is that all the eligible men view her as too normal.

Deuce take it, Daff, you’re just not like regular females. You’re positively normal.

She gets invited everywhere and never lacks for partners but the men she finds interesting are always off pursuing the originals, the out of the ordinary, which clearly she is not.

Simon, Duke of Hastings, was born with a stuttering problem. His father abandoned him in the country saying that Simon was no son of his. Simon was determined to gain his father’s approval but when provided the opportunity to do so, his tongue swelled up and his father turned away from him again. Over the years, Simon was determined to succeed in the face of his father’s abandonment. Because of Simon’s success, both academically and socially, his father wants to reclaim the connection. Simon refuses and decamps to the Continent. He returns upon his father’s death.

Simon is an old friend of Anthony, which is Daphne’s older brother. Simon and Daphne meet and devise a plan in which they will have a mock courtship because Daphne recognizes that other gentlemen begin to notice her as a woman when Simon is paying attention to her. For Simon’s part, Daphne’s presence keeps other women away from Simon as he has no intention of marrying. Daphne and Simon’s fake courtship places them in constant companionship and feelings start to grow until the two are caught in a compromising position and must marry.

What I liked best about this book was Daphne’s normalcy. In a romance world full of bluestockings and girls who want to be boys, I thought one who liked shopping, dresses, dances, and babies was fresh. Daphne does not think that marrying someone is the end of the world. Her desire to have a family is a driving force in this book and is the source of huge conflict in the story. Daphne’s desire for family drives her to a desperate and almost cruel act that both she and Simon must come to terms with if they are to achieve their happy every after.

Simon and Daphne are a perfect match. Their conversations are witty and, except for a few situations, they both act like adults. This is the story which introduce Lady Whistledown, the anonymous purveyor of ton gossip, and the entire Bridgerton clan. It seems like just yesterday that I met the Bridgertons. It’s nice that I can revisit my favorite Bridgerton couple now and again. B+

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Jennie
    May 10, 2007 @ 17:00:18

    I think this is the only Bridgerton book I haven’t read. I’m not sure how I missed it. And it sounds like a better plot than some of them. :)

  2. Nicole
    May 10, 2007 @ 17:03:31

    Julia Quinn was one of the authors who really got me into reading romance. I just love the Bridgertons and didn’t even mind the last few books. I can’t wait for her next book this summer.

  3. Danielle
    May 10, 2007 @ 17:19:32

    This was my favorite book in this series….oh how my heart went out to Simon.

  4. Elizabeth
    May 10, 2007 @ 20:35:42

    No disrespect, Jane, but I can’t believe you only gave this book a B+. I’d have given it at least an A-, maybe even an A. It’s on my keep shelf. Daphne and Simon really struck a chord for me–very memorable, very original. And I especially love all the sibling dynamics.

    And I say this even though Julia Quinn kinda harshed on my writing not-so-long-ago. (Not-long-enough-ago….)

  5. Shannon
    May 10, 2007 @ 23:50:12

    I loved this book, too. I think Anthony and Kate were my favorite Bridgerton couple, but I did like that Daphne was portrayed as basically a nice girl who wanted to start a family.

  6. Stacy S
    May 11, 2007 @ 04:45:39

    I loved this book also. Her books are all on my keeper shelf.

  7. Nicole
    May 11, 2007 @ 08:23:26

    I found JQ late enough that I read all of them together, only waiting for the very last one. And The Duke and I was definitely one of my favorites of the series.

  8. Janine
    May 11, 2007 @ 09:33:47

    No disrespect, Jane, but I can't believe you only gave this book a B+. I'd have given it at least an A-, maybe even an A. It's on my keep shelf.

    A review is but one person’s personal opinion. I didn’t care much for The Duke and I and if I were to review it, my grade for it would be lower than Jane’s. On the other hand I liked When He was Wicked very much.

  9. Jane
    May 11, 2007 @ 09:51:19

    No disrespect taken. I vacillated between B+ and A- but in the re-read, I just felt like it was a B+. I think because it is a quiet book.

  10. Chantal
    May 11, 2007 @ 10:04:14

    I love this series. It’s one that I read over and over again.

  11. Elizabeth
    May 11, 2007 @ 11:16:23

    I hadn’t heard the term “quiet book” before, but I can see exactly what you mean. I never thought about it that way.

    Learning something all the time.

  12. Jane
    May 11, 2007 @ 17:52:15

    Maybe it’s unfair to grade down for the “quietness” of the book, after all, that was the big appeal. But when I re-read, it didn’t quite have the wow factor of a few books I had recently. It may be because in the “re-read”, the sense of discovery was gone. It’s hard to say.

  13. Tasia
    Jul 30, 2007 @ 15:13:38

    I agree about “Daphne’s normalcy”. It really was quite refreshing to read about a heroine who was ordinary and normal, and liked to do things that a young lady generally did in regency England.

    Overall, I thought the book was great! Sure the fake-engagement-turns-real plot is really beaten down, but I think the characters and Ms. Quinn’s writing style just made it so different and fresh.

    The other Bridgerton book that I absolutely love is the Viscount that loved me. Beautiful story.

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