Title: The Duke and I
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridgertons #1
Released: January 5, 2000
Dates Read: June 6-8, 2017
Synopsis: 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…
As this was a rather nice book, my rating for this book was going to be higher, but then Daphne had to go and do something unforgivable and never really apologize for it (unless I missed it–if I did, someone please tell me!). It just vexes me so much that the book left a bad taste in my mouth. I still love Julia Quinn–don’t get me wrong. But this book certainly isn’t her best. And that’s okay, really. Before reading this novel, I’d already read two others in this series (The Viscount Who Loved Me and When He Was Wicked), and I loved them.
I do appreciate that Quinn had Daphne realize that she couldn’t be a magical cure for Simon, that no one could. It’s an important lesson that we should all take to heart.
The writing in this book wasn’t as good as others I’ve read by Quinn, but to be honest, I expected that since it’s the first in the series. I’m know from reading TVWLM and WHWW that her writing improves throughout the series. I loved seeing Anthony again, and I’m looking forward to Benedict’s book, An Offer from a Gentleman.
The true star of this novel for me was Violet; she’s such a firecracker. And, oh, how I missed Lady Whistledown!
- Violet blinked rapidly, and Daphne noticed that there were actually tears in her mother’s eyes. No one ever gave her flowers, she realized. At least not since her father had died ten years earlier. Violet was such a mother—Daphne had forgotten that she was a woman as well (101).
- “To say that men can be bullheaded would be insulting to the bull.” – LADY WHISTLEDOWN’S SOCIETY PAPERS, 2 JUNE 1813
- Maybe she’d been too idealistic. She’d egotistically thought that she could heal him, make his heart whole. Now she realized that she’d imbued herself with far more power than she actually possessed. She’d thought her love was so good, so shining, so pure that Simon would immediately abandon the years of resentment and pain that had fueled his very existence. How self-important she’d been. How stupid she felt now (289).
- His mouth captured hers, trying to show her with his kiss what he was still learning to express in words. He loved her. He worshipped her. He’d walk across fire for her. He— —still had the audience of her three brothers. Slowly breaking the kiss, he turned his face to the side. Anthony, Benedict, and Colin were still standing in the foyer. Anthony was studying the ceiling, Benedict was pretending to inspect his fingernails, and Colin was staring quite shamelessly (321).