This is one on my re-reads. Julia Quinn is one of my favourite authors and I enjoyed this book the second time round as much as I did when I first read it.
Warning this book has some mature content.
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 suitors 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…
Rating: 4 Stars
The synopsis of this book is pretty good but doesn’t explain the situation that leads to Daphne and Simon coming to an agreement. Simon Basset has just returned the England after travelling for 6 years as his father passed away and left the him with the title. Simon’s father was only interesting in having an ‘heir’ rather than a son, which lead to their estrangement. The Duke found Simon unworthy of the title and being his son as he stutter. He did not see how much effort and hard work Simon put in to overcome his stutter. No one save a couple of staff members who knew Simon when he was young know that he stutters as he’s managed to improve himself and developed a technique to hide it. Daphane Bridgerton is a nearly on the shelf, no one barring men her father’s age or older are interested in her. He only other suitor is Nigel who bless him is not the sharpest tool in the toolbox, with everyone else she is the girl who is ‘friend-zoned’. Simon and Daphne meet at a ball while Daphne is trying to avoid Nigel. They kind of become friends or at least develop some banter. Simon quickly learns that being a unmarried duke means society mama’s are going to push their daughters in his path no matter what. He comes up this idea of a shame engagement to Daphne as it will help her attract suitors because she will be ‘forbidden’ to others and keep the mama’s and daughter’s out of his way. I mean what could go wrong with this plan? As you can guess it does lead to a scandal, but you will have to read the book to find out what happens.
The relationship between these two was sweet as they were friends and then it started to lead to more. I loved the banter that these two had between them. I knocked the rating down a bit because I do not agree with that Daphne did near to the end, I think that communication is key and maybe discussing the issue more would have been so more appropriate rather than action, but I do see why she did what she did too. I felt so proud of Simon as a character, he really developed and pushed himself to over his stutter. I felt so bad when I read the scenes of Simon as a child. I wanted to give him a big hug. Daphne was a good character too but near the end I thought she did do something a bit childish.
I am really interested in reading about all of the other Bridgerton children. Their mother violet is a force to be reckoned with, she had me in stitches with laughter at points in this book.
“Anthony sneezed and pushed them aside. “Mother, I am trying to have a conversation with the duke.”
Violet looked at Simon. “Do you want to have this conversation with my son?”
“Fine, then. Anthony, be quiet.”
It really makes me chuckle that they are named in alphabetical order. I would also like to find out who this Lady Whistledown is who knows all the gossip and writes about it in the papers. Julia Quinn as writing a really good book, it is funny without try too hard, the dialogues are brilliant and it just is an enjoyable book. The story develops well and I do not feel the book dragged anywhere either.
“Where is he? Bridgerton!” he bellowed.
Three chestnut heads swiveled in his direction. Simon stomped across the grass, murder in his eyes.
“I meant the idiot Bridgerton.”
“That, I believe,” Anthony said mildly, tilting his chin toward Colin, “would refer to you.”