REVIEW: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Dear Ms. Quinn:
The 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+