Published by Avon Books on June 27, 2006
Genres: Historical, Romance
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The Duke and I is a romance set in the Regency era.
In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.
Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.
Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.
The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule...
With the release of the Bridgerton series on Netflix last month, I decided to embark on the journey of reading all eight of the Bridgerton books in February before I watched the show. I really love historical romance novels and even though I haven’t picked up any for the past few years (or any romance novels if I’m honest), I was really looking forward to being able to binge a long romance series that follows a large family. I still haven’t had time to watch the show yet but I have read all eight of the books now (plus the additional epilogue compilation) and here are my brief thoughts on each of the books.
The Duke and I (Daphne & Simon)
I enjoyed this first book but I have to say that I expected more considering all the hype that the Netflix series was getting. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting considering the characters were likeable and there are only so many romance tropes that can be used… so I guess my expectations were just too high. I did really enjoy the introduction to all of the Bridgertons and I liked Simon as the main love interest. I found the plot to be kind of slow throughout and there wasn’t much that happened at all.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony & Kate)
After calibrating my expectations a bit, I really enjoyed The Viscount Who Loved Me. I found that it was a much more enjoyable plot and I love the enemies to lovers trope so this was a winner for me. I liked that there wasn’t as much insta-love as there was in The Duke and I and I found Kate to be a fantastic heroine of the story.
Rating: 4 out of 5
An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict & Sophie)
This was probably my favourite book of the entire series. It’s a Cinderella story and I loved Sophie to bits. Even though this one was insta-lovey to the max, I found that it really worked and was super magical to read about. I also really loved Benedict and his temperament in this book, and the way that he never treated Sophie as someone beneath him.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Colin & Penelope)
When I first found out about this pairing while reading an earlier book, I was super excited to see how the romance between Colin and Penelope would play out. And I was seriously let down. Colin was just really snappy and bad-tempered throughout the whole book and he just randomly decided he wanted to marry Penelope. I didn’t really feel anything between them and I was very disappointed. I did really love Penelope though, so I was a bit sad that Colin wasn’t the character who I thought he would be, considering how much I loved him in the earlier books.
Rating: 3 out of 5
To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise & Phillip)
This was by far my least favourite book of the series. I absolutely hated Phillip – he was angry and blew up at every little thing. There was nothing that could redeem him for me. Plus I don’t think there was really any chemistry between Eloise and Phillip, so I was pretty disappointed by the whole thing.
Rating: 2 out of 5
When He Was Wicked (Francesca & Michael)
Francesca was a really interesting character for me, and I enjoyed that the book dealt with some slightly darker topics. Francesca is a widow in the book and it was interesting to read about her struggles with navigating that. I also really liked Michael, even though I didn’t really connect with him as much as the other male protagonists. He did have his moments but all in all, he wasn’t terrible like Sir Phillip.
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth & Gareth)
I really loved this one! It’s probably my second favourite of the series after An Offer From a Gentleman. Hyacinth has always been a fantastic character throughout the series, so it was great to read about her story. Not to mention, Gareth was probably my favourite of all of the blokes and the banter between him and Hyacinth was top-notch.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
On the Way to the Wedding (Gregory & Lucy)
I loved how desperately in love Gregory was throughout this whole book, even though he was desperately in love with more than one person. I enjoyed learning more about Gregory in this book because he didn’t really feature in any of the previous ones and I didn’t really know anything about him. I also loved Lucy and I loved Gregory with Lucy so I really enjoyed this last instalment in the series. I thought this one had a much more interesting and eventful plot than the others and I really loved the ride it took me on.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Across the board, I’d probably give the entire series 4 stars. It was enjoyable and, despite me not enjoying two of the books very much, I still thought it was great. All in all, it was fun to be able to binge the series and now I’m looking forward to bingeing the Netflix show!
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