Series: Bridgertons #1
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance
Published by Avon on January 5, 2000
Reading Challenges: 2016 TBR Challenge
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Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813
By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy sutiors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.
But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love…
I’ve been seeing this series thrown around as one of the best Regency Romance series out there. After reading The Duke and I, I might have to agree.
The Duke and I follows the romance of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset and their clever ruse of pretending to be attached to one another to avoid being harassed by eligible bachelors and young ladies looking for a husband. As one might expect, pretense gives way to truth, as Daphne and Simon fall in love. But there’s an interesting layer to their relationship, which has to deal with Simon having a bit of trauma in his past that he has to work through before he can truly commit to Daphne.
Julia Quinn is a master at writing witty, likable characters. Daphne is a strong female character from the Regency era, and by strong, I mean she can verbally spar with anyone else she comes across, and she even throws a few punches (literally). I loved her. She was still feminine and wanted a marriage and children and home of her own, but she stood up for herself and was clever and interesting. Simon has an interesting base issue of stuttering, which he’s for the most part grown out of, but he still stammers when he gets seriously emotional. This was a completely different addition to this type of rakish hero that I loved, since it gave him a distinct weakness. He is quite the tortured hero, and Daphne is the perfect wife to help him through it.
I loved Daphne’s family as well, and I’m glad the rest of the series focuses on each of them individually. They were all so different and interesting, and it really made me want to get to know them better!
All in all, I’m so glad I finally picked up The Duke and I. I cannot wait to continue this series, as I’ve heard only spectacular things about it!
The Duke and I is filling the category Award Nominee or Winner for my TBR Challenge. It was a finalist for the 2001 RITA Awards in the Short Historical Category.
Content: Some language, graphic sex, verbal abuse. Recommended for 18+.