Publisher: Avon Books
I am a fan, not only of series of books, but also of Regency Romances. There is something beautiful about a romance written amongst the sparkle and glitter of balls, dashing gentlemen in formal dress and beautiful women in stunning gowns. Add to that, the pleasure of following a group of characters through a number of books and my day is complete!
The Duke and I is our introduction the the Bridgerton family – a family of 8 children all named in alphabetical order from oldest to youngest. The matriarch of the family is a widow who lost her husband relatively early to a bee sting – a subject the plays a role in many of the books. Instead of starting this series with the eldest of the family (Anthony), Julia Quinn has started the series with Daphne who is the fourth born, but the eldest daughter of the family. One common theme to this series of books is that Lady Bridgerton (the mother) seems to live to marry off her brood of children and deals with crisis after crisis with humor and good sense. The other common theme to all these books are periodic excerpts from “Lady Whistledown’s Society Pages”. As we find out in this book, Lady Whistledown publishes a news sheet that many members of the ton read regularly and it frequently features the activities of the Bridgertons. At this point we don’t know who Lady Whistledown is, but much time is spent speculating who she is and commenting on the contents of her new sheet.
Our story begins with Daphne and Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, forming an attachment – a tendre as it were – to protect Simon from all the match-making mothers and to make Daphne appear more attractive to to potential suitors. The thought is that Daphne will appear more attractive to other men if she the consort of a Duke. Soon their pretend tendre becomes all too real with both of them forming feelings for one another. Simon has a history with his father and is determined not to marry and have his family line die with him. Simon soon finds his heart warming up and finds himself jealous of the men surrounding Daphne. Daphne discovers herself spending more and more time with Simon regardless of the flocks of other men around her. While all of this is happening we are continually entertained with the shenanigans of Daphne’s siblings and mother as well as commentary by Lady Whistledown. In true Regency romance fashion our story has a happy ending with a few tears shed along the way.
Julia Quinn is described as “A Consummate Storyteller” by Publishers Weekly. Author Lisa Kleypas describes The Duke and I as “The most refreshing and radiant love story you’ll read this year.” The Romance Reader says: “The Duke and I is a refreshingly witty tale with a hero and heroine whose emotions are fueled by intelligence rather than by ungovernable body parts, although there’s plenty of that, too. Add in an interesting array of meddlesome family members and The Duke and I definitely ranks as a keeper.”
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Duke and I. Although it is an older book, it provides a strong start to a series that I love! The Bridgerton series had me enjoying my reading time; frequently losing track of time and reading far into the night. Although I come from a larger family, I don’t think that my siblings and I interact in quite so humorous and demonstrative a fashion. I look forward to reading the next installment and seeing if I can guess who Lady Whistledown is!