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Simon Basset, the irresistible Duke of Hastings, has hatched a plan to keep himself free from the town′s marriage-minded society mothers. He pretends to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. After all, it isn′t as if the brooding rogue has any real plans to marry - though there is something about the alluring Miss Bridgerton that sets Simon′s heart beating a bit faster. And as for Daphne, surely the clever debutante will attract some very worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, she soon forgets that their courtship is a complete sham. And now she has to do the impossible and keep herself from losing her heart and soul completely to the handsome hell-raiser who has sworn off marriage forever!

Topics: Regency Era, England, Witty, Marriage, Family, and Nobility

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061741388
List price: $6.99
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this is the first book that have read from this author but will look forward to reading all of her booksmore
After having problems with the previous book I wanted something light, funny and refreshing to relax myself. And this book delivered all that.

I loved Bridgertons and their sense of humor. I was missing craziness and chaos of big family since I finished The Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas and this turned out to be nice replacement for them.
I can't wait to read the next book in the series. :)more
The Duke and I
4.5 Stars

Synopsis:
To protect himself from ambitious mothers, Simon Basset Duke of Hastings, makes a deal with his best friend’s sister – they will pretend to be engaged. For Daphne Bridgerton, the pretend betrothal turns out to be quite lucrative as she becomes the belle of the ball. The only problem is that Daphne begins falling for the devastating Duke who has made it clear that he has no intention of ever marrying.

Review:
After hearing such marvelous things about this book and the series as a whole, I just had to see for myself and was not at all disappointed. The Duke and I is a wonderfully sweet and charming story with engaging characters and some of the funniest dialogue.

Julia Quinn’s writing style makes it impossible not to feel for her characters. Simon is a heart-wrenchingly tortured hero but unlike the physical torment that many characters of this type endure, Simon’s suffering is all emotional and as such even more compelling. It is amazing that he is still capable of love after the rejection that he bore as a child.

Daphne is a spunky heroine and the way in which she handles both Simon and her brothers is inspiring. She and Simon have great chemistry and their banter is excellent. Their relationship develops in a predictable way. However, there is one questionable scene that some readers may find offensive. I don’t want to give too much away but suffice it to say that Daphne can be seen as taking advantage of Simon. I won’t say that the scene didn’t bother me because it places Daphne in a rather negative light but taken within the context of the story it is understandable if not quite acceptable.

The introduction to the other Bridgerton siblings is mainly focused on Anthony and Colin. While both brothers are sympathetic and engaging, Anthony’s overprotectiveness and belligerence is often grating and excessive. Nevertheless, the Bridgerton family dynamic is one of the highlights of the story and I look forward to reading the rest of the series soon.more
Fantastic book. Charming story and endearing characters. Will have to read the rest of the series.
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I haven't read any of the books published be Ms Quinn in quite a few years. A mistake I need to remedy. I had forgotten what a quick wit she has. I love all the grumbling that the characters do. All the sibling sniping that goes on in the Bridgerton books. I have already laugh several times and I have barely gotten past the third chapter. I don't remember reading this story and it is shame I missed it. Next to Anthony I think Simon is going to be one of my favorite alphas from this series. I also am enjoying Daphne. Ms. Quinn does a wonderful job of making her very believable. I have a brother and I know how they can be. So having four brothers had to be quite the experience. Especially when three of them are older.I love a book that has me laughing and occasionally crying. Julia Quinn has a wonderful ability to write sharp, smart characters that can be sarcastic but not necessarily mean. There have been times that I would like to smack Simon upside the head and then shake him until he realizes how destructive he is being. Some of the scenes when he talks or thinks about his father are just heartbreaking. There are however other times that he so very witty and funny and loving. It is hard to decide if he would be better off with Dahpne or not. The scene were Violet, Lady Brdgerton, is trying to talk to Daphne about her wedding night is very, very funny. I have to wonder how Violet is going to get through three more of these talks. I also loved the scene in the inn after the wedding. I kinds of felt sorry for both Daphne and Simon. I mean that could have gotten ugly if Simon hadn't been so patient and willing to teach Daphne the error of her misconceptions. There is one more really sad scene and that is when Simon thinks that Daphne has betrayed him. However Ms. Quinn doesn't keep the reader in that very sad place. The scene where Daphne's three older brothers confront Simon and her in their home is very funny.I am glad that I as re-reading and in some case reading for the first time this series. I have always enjoyed Ms. Quinn's stories and now I remember why. Her characters are witty and so very real. Her voice is fresh and enchanting. I can't recommend this series enough.more
A fast, undemanding and, at moments, hilarious read. Daphne is a great heroine, but its her family - especially her three menancing older brothers and her mother - that steal the book.more
I absolutely LOVE anything by Julia Quinn and this book is no exception. She is an amazing author with an incredible talent for telling a story. I love family dynamics of her novels. Now about this book: The characters were incredible. Daphne and Simon were perfect for each other. I couldn't put this book down. Read it in a day. I then went to Amazon and purchased all of the Bridgerton books. My favorite brother is Colin. Love his sense of humor. I also can't stop laughing at Lady Whistledown. What a hoot!!! Keep 'em coming Julia!!!more
Aww, this was such a cute book. I read it in one day - couldn’t put it down because I was having SO MUCH FUN with the Bridgertons (I don’t think I even ate properly during those 24 hours xD). Albeit the last part made me roll my eyes a couple of times, but pregnancy and baby drama usually makes that part of my anatomy behave in such manner - and there’s nothing I can do about it.This was my first Julia Quinn novel and I was very impressed by her writing. I can’t explain exactly why, but I found her style a bit different from every other historical romance I've read until date - which was a good thing.I loved the heroine Daphne, her vividness, her innocence, her caring manner, her teasing, and the way she snaps at her brothers when she has to. But seriously, I had a blast with every character, no exception, for they are all hilarious. The Bridgerton family is portrayed in such a funny, lovely way, that I often wished I was some distant cousin and could jump in there, so I could have fun with them. I can’t even decide if I was sorry for Daphne or not with the whole business of her brothers being jealous of her suitors (the main reason why the girl is still a spinster), because that situation makes way to so many great scenes, and of course, kept her free for Simon.So far, Anthony is my favorite brother, just because he would always make me laugh my head off with his “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!” moments. The poor guy…backstabbed by his best friend who dared to break the Thou Shalt Not Lust After Thy Friend's Sister golden rule! *eheh* (Get a grip, Anthony.)As I’m sure I’ve made it clear, there’s more to this story than just the romance, since I barely mentioned it, but of course this book is first and foremost about Simon and Daphne, about how they'll get together despite his daddy issues, and her jealous brothers. And it was sooo nice to watch them interact. I couldn't get enough of it, especially when he's "fake"-courting her. So cute! I will admit the last part was a bit corny though. (Too many I love you-I love you too scenes! But hey.)No doubt I’ll be reading the next one in the series as soon as I can get my hands on it. Can’t wait to see how this complete nonsense of falling in love, getting married, having to deal with jealous (and dangerous - murderous really) family members, is going to find Anthony and bite him in his perfectly shaped arse.(I forgot to mention the scene when Daphne's mother explains her what happens on the wedding night. My God...I had to put the book down for a couple of minutes, and find a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter running down my face. Great comedy moment!)more
All Daphne Bridgerton wants is the dukes attention, little does she know that is all he can think of! If you have ever loved a man that doesn't believe in the word this book is for you! The kind of book that makes your heart race, tears swim in your eyes and has you laughing out loud in the same evening. When you read as much as I do, often times it is hard to remember all the books you have read. I sometimes find myself buying/borrowing a book from a friend and only to later realize the books is oddly familiar and that I have read it before.... I read this book years ago (most likely one of the very first historical romances I ever read) and I still remember the details of this amazing book! It truly deserves to be in hardback.more
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.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! Stay tuned for more of this series!more
Did you ever want to date your brother's best friend? Did he make you shiver with a look across the room.... or make you gasp for breath as he whispered a secret in your ear... or make you tingle all over as his fingers accidentally brushed your skin? If he is as hot and roguish as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, you definitely would want to make him yours!Simon is a tortured hero, a man who overcame a great obstacle at a very early age. But not without its costs. Although he lives a carefree life as a Duke, his life is really just an empty shell filled with hate. Simon doesn't even realize how much the hatred inside of him is eating away at his soul, his future, his happiness. That is, until he meets Daphne Bridgerton, his best friend's sister.Daphne is a member of the Bridgertons, a boisterous, funny, drama-filled family full of love for each other. Simon and Daphne devise a plan. They PRETEND to be courting. This will keep all of the ton's conniving mothers away from Simon and it will give Daphne many suitors just clamouring for the girl that the Duke supposedly wants to make his own. But in true romantic style, this friendship becomes more, for Daphne becomes the one woman who can save Simon from his bitter, angry existence and give him a life filled with laughter, family and love, three things he didn't feel he even wanted or deserved.I truly enjoyed this book. The Bridgerton family is one you cannot help but enjoy, from Anthony, the over-protective older brother, to Colin, the fun-spirited, young rogue, to Violet, the matriarch of the family. There is great use of dialogue with descriptions of family interactions that were very amusing. The author has managed to reveal that true love can break down barriers, even walls of hatred around one's heart. Daphne was a ray of hope shining into Simon's dark-filled soul, revealing the truth....for all Simon truly wanted was to be loved for who he was. Isn't this what we all want?more
All his life, Simon Basset has struggled to be everything his cold-hearted father was not. But now, as the next duke, he finds that harder than ever, especially when the ton obviously expects him to join the marriageable crowd. So he concocts the perfect plan with Daphne Bridgerton, a friend’s sister: they will pretend to be romantically attached, which will keep the conniving mothers away from him and up her romantic appeal to potential suitors.But as Simon and Daphne get more comfortable around each other, Simon realizes she is smarter than any other woman he has met, and Daphne sees the vulnerabilities behind his façade. But they’re just pretending to be attached to one another…right?What happens when plans go wrong? It could be the worst—or best—thing to happen to them.While not as steamy as I tend to prefer my historical romances, THE DUKE AND I stands out from the crowd with its enviably witty dialogue and memorable characters. The banter between Mrs. Bridgerton and the Bridgerton siblings nearly had me bursting out in laughter at inopportune moments. Consequently, I enjoyed Simon and Daphne as a couple, and thought that their relationship was well-played. I did want more heat though! (Perhaps I am more dirty-minded than the norm…)That said, I look forward to reading more from Julia Quinn. She has a way of creating crush-worthy characters that color up an otherwise ordinary historical romance world.more
I am flabbergasted that so many people enjoy a book where the heroine RAPES the hero. To do something so sneaky, underhanded, and horrifying made me despise Daphne. I can't help but believe that if Simon was the one who'd wanted a child while Daphne didn't, and then hforced himself upon her while she was drunk in order to get that child, the response to this book would be a lot less positive. The rest of the Bridgerton books are (I think) just fine, but this one made me angry and sick to my stomach.more
I don't remember enough from one romance to another to keep track of which characters I liked/disliked from which book. That might change with this one. This is certainly my favorite of hers. It's certainly my favorite romance from this year but it's different enough from J. Crusie that I can't say that it's my favorite overall. Certainly a good read for romance readers. I recommend it.more
Whether you're a die hard Regency Romance fan or looking to get introduced to the genre, this first book of the Bridgerton series is a perfect fit. Witty and wry, full of love and angst, and a marvelous "Happy Ever After," you'll be sure to fall in love with Daphne and Simon and the entire Bridgerton clan.more
If you don't fall instantly in love with this duke who doesn't know his own heart, I don't know why. Simon is a hurting soul, and the heroine knows exactly how to heal him.more
I never thought that I could have a whole book spoiled for me by one action, but this book proved that I could. What's so irritating about this is that I was enjoying the book. I liked the character's amusing dialogue and the friendship the developed.Things did start to go a bit downhill for me when Daphne chases Simon down at the duel. I don't get the most optimistic feeling when I see someone willing to die rather than marry. I know it wasn't Daphne in particular, but when the hero has so much baggage that death is preferable to his other options I know the road ahead is not going to be smooth. I started to get nervous about how something with that weight would be handled by the author. She has skill but in all the books I've read by her they all seemed very light and not really serious at all. I was willing to go along for the ride though.In some ways I wish I had stopped reading half way through and never got such a bad taste in my mouth. I know that Simon lied by omission in letting Daphne assume he wouldn't have kids because he couldn't have them. But who can really blame him? He was ashamed of how he was when he was a kid. If he would have said he just plain wouldn't have kids she would have demanded to know why and he would have had to explain all his humiliation. Who would willingly do that? She had to maneuver him into marrying her in the first place. He would have rather died in the duel than marry her and be put in that situation! She was even the one that initiated the situation that led to them having to marry! She seems to forget it was all her idea toward the end.I just can't help but think that the whole conflict in this book was manufactured by Daphne. The way the book was written seems to make Simon seem like the bad guy when what she did to him was unforgivable. I was ready for Simon to find someone new after that. I can't believe he came back and actually apologized to her. She tried to take a baby from him by force! I'm sorry I know he was into it, but he was drunk and didn't realized she wouldn't let him pull away at the end. When he realized he started struggling. That right there is force. If a man had done that to a girl there would have been a lot more people upset by it.I know that Daphne made a token statement about being okay with him not wanting kids if it was for the right reason, but I doubt that. She was consumed by the thought of children like she wouldn't have been complete without them. Besides, she may not have agreed with his reasons, but who is she to try and say he doesn't have a right to feel that way?I don't know if I'll read anymore of her. I've read her other Bridgerton books (and decided to finally read the 1st one) and I thought most of them were ok, but this one really disturbed me. I don't know if I want to risk feeling like that again. I read to watch two people fall in love, not to watch someone try to force her husband to impregnate her.more
Up until I was about 150 pages into The Duke and I, I was beginning to think I had started my second much-lauded romance series in a row, only to be sorely disappointed with it, but somehow Julia Quinn managed to pull out all the stops during the second half of the book and make me forget most of my frustrations from the first half. The two halves almost seemed like they were written in completely different styles. The beginning of the book wasn't bad, but it did dip down into the just OK range for me a few times. This part is extremely dialog heavy, and while there is some clever and witty repartee, the conversations can also drag on a bit too long. Most of the early chapters are virtual wall-to-wall dialog (great for dialog junkies, but utterly exhausting for an introvert like myself to read) punctuated with occasional passages of prose that more closely resembled narration than character introspection. This made it very difficult for me to get to know or develop a connection to the characters. Considering that most of what occurred during the first half were family interactions, I realized much later that Ms. Quinn was likely using this part of the book to set the stage for the Bridgerton series by giving readers insights into the family dynamics of the Bridgerton clan. There is very little relationship building between Simon and Daphne except for Simon attending a few Bridgerton family functions, and the couple having an attraction for one another that makes them wish that their pretend courtship was actually real. The sexual tension is very minimal, with the hero and heroine not kissing, nor barely even touching, until that halfway point. I did enjoy getting to know the Bridgertons and adored the loving, close-knit feel of their family (one I wouldn't mind calling my own), but I couldn't help but tire of the excessive amount of light, social chitchat, and found myself wishing for some deeper and more meaningful interactions. Well, I got my wish approximately halfway in, when the dialog began to take a more serious turn, the prose became more introspective, and both became much more balanced. The tension between Simon and Daphne ratcheted up almost instantaneously as they share a passionate encounter that leads to all sorts of angst and difficulties to overcome, which was what I had been so desperately longing for. From this point on, the story was top-notch and almost sheer perfection for me.After reading the heartbreaking prologue about Simon's childhood, I was fully expecting him to be a thoroughly tortured hero. Because of the weaknesses in the first half of the book, I did begin to question my assessment, but I shouldn't have worried. Simon's mother died in childbirth and his father was a cold man who never showed him an ounce of love, and in fact, reviled him for having a stutter. In spite of, or perhaps because of, his father's rejection, Simon stubbornly set out to be the very best he could be. He was incredibly intelligent, and with the help of his gentle, caring nurse, he learned to control his speech, and was able to enjoy a prosperous education even though his father tried to deny him that as well. Simon grew into a good and kind man, but he was also deeply embittered and resentful toward his father after years of constant emotional abuse and had vowed never to marry or have children of his own because of it. Simon truly didn't realize just how much the anger was eating him up inside or how desperately he needed to love and be loved in return until Daphne came into his life, shining a ray of hope into his darkness.In sharp contrast to Simon's upbringing, Daphne's had been brimming full of love, laughter and unbreakable family bonds. She is sweet and kind to everyone, including one annoyingly needy and pathetic suitor. Coming from a large family, she wants nothing more than to marry and have children, but unfortunately, she has become the girl that every guy wants to be friends with, but no one wants to marry. Then she chances to meet Simon, one of her brother, Anthony's best friends from school, and they strike up an alliance to pretend that they are courting, so that he can avoid being the object of every unmarried girl's attention and she can attract more attention from better quality suitors. Simon and Daphne become the best of friends, finding it very easy to talk to each other and thoroughly enjoying each others presence. Of course, they both end up wishing that their charade was real, and when that finally happens, it brings with it plenty of joy but also heartbreak. Daphne is a highly intuitive young woman who has a great grasp on male behavior and deftly handles the men in her life. She understands Simon far better than he understands himself, and seems to instinctively know what he needs. I loved her zest for life and her positive attitude. She was definitely a doer who wasn't afraid to get in the middle of things and stir them up, but she also had a knack for bringing clarity to some of the most difficult circumstances. Daphne was just an all-around, likable character, who I think was a perfect match for Simon.As one might expect with the heroine having a big family, there is a very large supporting cast. All of Daphne's siblings are introduced in this book, but her three older brothers, Anthony, Benedict and Colin play the biggest roles. This trio can be quite meddlesome and over-protective, but it all comes from a deep love for their sister, so I couldn't help but adore them for it. I think perhaps his support of Daphne and his devil-may-care attitude made Colin stand out to me just a bit more than the other two, but I look forward to seeing what stories Julia Quinn has in store for all of them. Violet is a wonderful mother to her brood of eight. I really admired the way that she could keep them all in line, including her grown sons. Violet is an intelligent woman who sees far more than her children think she does, and she is an extremely loving mother with whom they can discuss almost anything, except perhaps sex. I totally cracked up when Violet had “the talk” with Daphne on the night before her wedding, and the pursuant misunderstandings that occurred on Daphne's wedding night as a result of her mother's reticence were hilarious too. I discovered through Julia Quinn's website that a couple of characters from her previous books make cameos in The Duke and I, specifically Lady Danbury from How to Marry a Marquis. There is also a brief mention of Riverdale (James Sidwell), her nephew and the hero of that book. I have to say that I'm thoroughly intrigued by the fictitious gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown, and can't wait to find out who she is. I spent the better part of the book making speculations, but I'm not sure that any of my guesses are correct.The Duke and I is the first book in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. There are eight books in the series with each of the Bridgerton siblings getting their own book. Anthony is the hero of book #2, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and they continue from there in the order of the character's ages with the exception of the final two. There are also two anthologies featuring Lady Whistledown that are considered to be honorary Bridgerton books. Julia Quinn is working on 2nd epilogues for each of the books in the series. Six out of eight of the books have these 2nd epilogues available for purchase in e-book format through the author's website, but unfortunately, The Duke and I is not currently one of them. Ms. Quinn says that when she finishes the remaining two there are plans to publish all of them in a single paperback volume, and I look forward to seeing more of Simon and Daphne when their 2nd epilogue is written. The Duke and I may have gotten off to a rocky start for me, but it ended spectacularly, making it almost impossible for me not to give it keeper status. This was my first read by Julia Quinn, and I am now really looking forward to continuing the series and reading more from her. I just hope that from here on out her dialog and prose will equalize much earlier in the story.more
Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset, make a bargain to avoid matchmakers by pretending an attachment, which of course backfires when they fall in love. A bit too much melodrama, but I guess some drama is needed, lest their love develop too naturally. Sexy and romantic, I do love the bantering Bridgertons…more
This is the first JQ I ever read and I don't know if that factor has influenced my choice, but in my view this is the creme of her work. It's funny because I found some of her stuff truly brilliant and other books tawdry or only OK. But as many other JQ devotees, I adored her Bridgerton & Lady Whistledown series, and how much did I wish I was Daphne? I didn't think much of Anthony, who seemed like an arrogant tosser all the way through the series, but Simon on the other hand, oh Simon. . .more
A very average historical romance, I waited more after hearing so many praising comments about Julia Quinn. A stammering hero was plus, but otherwise the main couple was quite boring. I could think about reading also the other books in the series, but I wouldn't buy them.more
This was my first Julia Quinn book - and I will be hunting up all the others I can find! This book was charming, witty and tender, all at the same time. The relationship between Simon and Daphne was given proper time to build, and neither character was perfect - both displaying quite obvious faults - Simon for brooding and not allowing himself to forget the past, Daphne for fairly obvious selfishness in the scene were she takes advantage of Simon's drunkeness (although not of him, exactly). Another charming part of this book are the presence of Daphne's brothers and sisters - all seven of them - who all have their own books later, but are all developing individual characteristics already. I wish that she had given a little more time to Simon coming around at the end, but that's really the only problem I have with this book. Can't wait to read the rest!more
Relentlessly pursued by match-making mamas and their charges, Simon Bassett, the handsome Duke of Hastings, has grown tired of the societal chase. Tired too is the lovely Daphne Bridgerton, whose matrimonially minded mother is set on finding her daughter the perfect husband. Neither Simon nor Daphne is happy with this annoying state of affairs and both would give anything for a little peace and quiet. Their mutual wish for a respite from the ton's marriage mart leads to a pretend engagement--a scheme that is threatened with exposure by Daphne's suspicious older brother, who happens to know Simon's way with women very well. The two never anticipated that a mutual attraction would lead to the very thing they set out to avoid--a wedding. But Simon fears that his painful past may keep him from being able to truly love anyone. And though Daphne cares for him deeply, she won't settle for anything less than his heart.After enjoying Quinn's The Secret Diaries on Miss Miranda Cheever and finding myself (much as I hate to say it about Bujold) struggling with The Sharing Knife: Legacy, I decided to read another Julia Quinn novel for a break. I chose this one as it is the first in the author's eight-book Brigerton series and I am, unfortunately for my own peace of mind and bank balance, one of those anal people who has to read a series in order.Again, this was a fun read; not particularly challenging, but enjoyable, light and charming in tone and perfect for a break from more serious books.I found Daphne a nice blend - she wants a husband and she wants children; she embraces those goals of genteel society and desires them without being totally caught up in the social whirl without another thought in her head. Her bargain with Simon seems at least partially sensible - it certainly works in that she suddenly has plenty of suitors - but at the same time she's setting herself up for trouble getting close to Simon knowing how easily she could fall in love with this man who, scarred by his past, is determined not to marry.In my Julia Quinn reading, I've hit two out of two - in both cases the hero and heroine have been caught in a compromising situation and had to get married. I hope she uses other plot devices as well, but it has worked out well in both these cases.Love isn't Daphne and Simon's problem. They have that - whether Simon is ready to admit it or not. Their problems stem from Simon's issues about childhood and his dead father and he has to get over that before they can have a happy ending. I liked that.I did belive in their happy ending, although Simon's turnaround on their main issue was quite quick. I can look at it and justify it, but I just didn't automatically buy into it. All the same, that's a minor quibble.I found Violet's bumbling attempts (and eventual failure) to explain the "marital act" to Daphne to be very cute, and the scene it led to between Simon and Daphne on their wedding night was hysterical. It also made Daphne's enormous sense of betrayal a little later on to be perfectly believable and reasonable.While Quinn is true to her genre and this book is primarily about Daphne and Simon and their road to love, it also introduces the Brigerton family matriach, Violet, and her eight, alphabetically named children (which gives away the fact that while Daphne as the eldest daughter marries first, she is in fact the fourth child). I enjoyed meeting them all, especially overly-wise 10-year-old Hyacinth, and I am going to be reading all their books. I'll be saving up the Quinn books for whenever I need a "book break".more
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Reviews

this is the first book that have read from this author but will look forward to reading all of her booksmore
After having problems with the previous book I wanted something light, funny and refreshing to relax myself. And this book delivered all that.

I loved Bridgertons and their sense of humor. I was missing craziness and chaos of big family since I finished The Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas and this turned out to be nice replacement for them.
I can't wait to read the next book in the series. :)more
The Duke and I
4.5 Stars

Synopsis:
To protect himself from ambitious mothers, Simon Basset Duke of Hastings, makes a deal with his best friend’s sister – they will pretend to be engaged. For Daphne Bridgerton, the pretend betrothal turns out to be quite lucrative as she becomes the belle of the ball. The only problem is that Daphne begins falling for the devastating Duke who has made it clear that he has no intention of ever marrying.

Review:
After hearing such marvelous things about this book and the series as a whole, I just had to see for myself and was not at all disappointed. The Duke and I is a wonderfully sweet and charming story with engaging characters and some of the funniest dialogue.

Julia Quinn’s writing style makes it impossible not to feel for her characters. Simon is a heart-wrenchingly tortured hero but unlike the physical torment that many characters of this type endure, Simon’s suffering is all emotional and as such even more compelling. It is amazing that he is still capable of love after the rejection that he bore as a child.

Daphne is a spunky heroine and the way in which she handles both Simon and her brothers is inspiring. She and Simon have great chemistry and their banter is excellent. Their relationship develops in a predictable way. However, there is one questionable scene that some readers may find offensive. I don’t want to give too much away but suffice it to say that Daphne can be seen as taking advantage of Simon. I won’t say that the scene didn’t bother me because it places Daphne in a rather negative light but taken within the context of the story it is understandable if not quite acceptable.

The introduction to the other Bridgerton siblings is mainly focused on Anthony and Colin. While both brothers are sympathetic and engaging, Anthony’s overprotectiveness and belligerence is often grating and excessive. Nevertheless, the Bridgerton family dynamic is one of the highlights of the story and I look forward to reading the rest of the series soon.more
Fantastic book. Charming story and endearing characters. Will have to read the rest of the series.
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I haven't read any of the books published be Ms Quinn in quite a few years. A mistake I need to remedy. I had forgotten what a quick wit she has. I love all the grumbling that the characters do. All the sibling sniping that goes on in the Bridgerton books. I have already laugh several times and I have barely gotten past the third chapter. I don't remember reading this story and it is shame I missed it. Next to Anthony I think Simon is going to be one of my favorite alphas from this series. I also am enjoying Daphne. Ms. Quinn does a wonderful job of making her very believable. I have a brother and I know how they can be. So having four brothers had to be quite the experience. Especially when three of them are older.I love a book that has me laughing and occasionally crying. Julia Quinn has a wonderful ability to write sharp, smart characters that can be sarcastic but not necessarily mean. There have been times that I would like to smack Simon upside the head and then shake him until he realizes how destructive he is being. Some of the scenes when he talks or thinks about his father are just heartbreaking. There are however other times that he so very witty and funny and loving. It is hard to decide if he would be better off with Dahpne or not. The scene were Violet, Lady Brdgerton, is trying to talk to Daphne about her wedding night is very, very funny. I have to wonder how Violet is going to get through three more of these talks. I also loved the scene in the inn after the wedding. I kinds of felt sorry for both Daphne and Simon. I mean that could have gotten ugly if Simon hadn't been so patient and willing to teach Daphne the error of her misconceptions. There is one more really sad scene and that is when Simon thinks that Daphne has betrayed him. However Ms. Quinn doesn't keep the reader in that very sad place. The scene where Daphne's three older brothers confront Simon and her in their home is very funny.I am glad that I as re-reading and in some case reading for the first time this series. I have always enjoyed Ms. Quinn's stories and now I remember why. Her characters are witty and so very real. Her voice is fresh and enchanting. I can't recommend this series enough.more
A fast, undemanding and, at moments, hilarious read. Daphne is a great heroine, but its her family - especially her three menancing older brothers and her mother - that steal the book.more
I absolutely LOVE anything by Julia Quinn and this book is no exception. She is an amazing author with an incredible talent for telling a story. I love family dynamics of her novels. Now about this book: The characters were incredible. Daphne and Simon were perfect for each other. I couldn't put this book down. Read it in a day. I then went to Amazon and purchased all of the Bridgerton books. My favorite brother is Colin. Love his sense of humor. I also can't stop laughing at Lady Whistledown. What a hoot!!! Keep 'em coming Julia!!!more
Aww, this was such a cute book. I read it in one day - couldn’t put it down because I was having SO MUCH FUN with the Bridgertons (I don’t think I even ate properly during those 24 hours xD). Albeit the last part made me roll my eyes a couple of times, but pregnancy and baby drama usually makes that part of my anatomy behave in such manner - and there’s nothing I can do about it.This was my first Julia Quinn novel and I was very impressed by her writing. I can’t explain exactly why, but I found her style a bit different from every other historical romance I've read until date - which was a good thing.I loved the heroine Daphne, her vividness, her innocence, her caring manner, her teasing, and the way she snaps at her brothers when she has to. But seriously, I had a blast with every character, no exception, for they are all hilarious. The Bridgerton family is portrayed in such a funny, lovely way, that I often wished I was some distant cousin and could jump in there, so I could have fun with them. I can’t even decide if I was sorry for Daphne or not with the whole business of her brothers being jealous of her suitors (the main reason why the girl is still a spinster), because that situation makes way to so many great scenes, and of course, kept her free for Simon.So far, Anthony is my favorite brother, just because he would always make me laugh my head off with his “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!” moments. The poor guy…backstabbed by his best friend who dared to break the Thou Shalt Not Lust After Thy Friend's Sister golden rule! *eheh* (Get a grip, Anthony.)As I’m sure I’ve made it clear, there’s more to this story than just the romance, since I barely mentioned it, but of course this book is first and foremost about Simon and Daphne, about how they'll get together despite his daddy issues, and her jealous brothers. And it was sooo nice to watch them interact. I couldn't get enough of it, especially when he's "fake"-courting her. So cute! I will admit the last part was a bit corny though. (Too many I love you-I love you too scenes! But hey.)No doubt I’ll be reading the next one in the series as soon as I can get my hands on it. Can’t wait to see how this complete nonsense of falling in love, getting married, having to deal with jealous (and dangerous - murderous really) family members, is going to find Anthony and bite him in his perfectly shaped arse.(I forgot to mention the scene when Daphne's mother explains her what happens on the wedding night. My God...I had to put the book down for a couple of minutes, and find a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter running down my face. Great comedy moment!)more
All Daphne Bridgerton wants is the dukes attention, little does she know that is all he can think of! If you have ever loved a man that doesn't believe in the word this book is for you! The kind of book that makes your heart race, tears swim in your eyes and has you laughing out loud in the same evening. When you read as much as I do, often times it is hard to remember all the books you have read. I sometimes find myself buying/borrowing a book from a friend and only to later realize the books is oddly familiar and that I have read it before.... I read this book years ago (most likely one of the very first historical romances I ever read) and I still remember the details of this amazing book! It truly deserves to be in hardback.more
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.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! Stay tuned for more of this series!more
Did you ever want to date your brother's best friend? Did he make you shiver with a look across the room.... or make you gasp for breath as he whispered a secret in your ear... or make you tingle all over as his fingers accidentally brushed your skin? If he is as hot and roguish as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, you definitely would want to make him yours!Simon is a tortured hero, a man who overcame a great obstacle at a very early age. But not without its costs. Although he lives a carefree life as a Duke, his life is really just an empty shell filled with hate. Simon doesn't even realize how much the hatred inside of him is eating away at his soul, his future, his happiness. That is, until he meets Daphne Bridgerton, his best friend's sister.Daphne is a member of the Bridgertons, a boisterous, funny, drama-filled family full of love for each other. Simon and Daphne devise a plan. They PRETEND to be courting. This will keep all of the ton's conniving mothers away from Simon and it will give Daphne many suitors just clamouring for the girl that the Duke supposedly wants to make his own. But in true romantic style, this friendship becomes more, for Daphne becomes the one woman who can save Simon from his bitter, angry existence and give him a life filled with laughter, family and love, three things he didn't feel he even wanted or deserved.I truly enjoyed this book. The Bridgerton family is one you cannot help but enjoy, from Anthony, the over-protective older brother, to Colin, the fun-spirited, young rogue, to Violet, the matriarch of the family. There is great use of dialogue with descriptions of family interactions that were very amusing. The author has managed to reveal that true love can break down barriers, even walls of hatred around one's heart. Daphne was a ray of hope shining into Simon's dark-filled soul, revealing the truth....for all Simon truly wanted was to be loved for who he was. Isn't this what we all want?more
All his life, Simon Basset has struggled to be everything his cold-hearted father was not. But now, as the next duke, he finds that harder than ever, especially when the ton obviously expects him to join the marriageable crowd. So he concocts the perfect plan with Daphne Bridgerton, a friend’s sister: they will pretend to be romantically attached, which will keep the conniving mothers away from him and up her romantic appeal to potential suitors.But as Simon and Daphne get more comfortable around each other, Simon realizes she is smarter than any other woman he has met, and Daphne sees the vulnerabilities behind his façade. But they’re just pretending to be attached to one another…right?What happens when plans go wrong? It could be the worst—or best—thing to happen to them.While not as steamy as I tend to prefer my historical romances, THE DUKE AND I stands out from the crowd with its enviably witty dialogue and memorable characters. The banter between Mrs. Bridgerton and the Bridgerton siblings nearly had me bursting out in laughter at inopportune moments. Consequently, I enjoyed Simon and Daphne as a couple, and thought that their relationship was well-played. I did want more heat though! (Perhaps I am more dirty-minded than the norm…)That said, I look forward to reading more from Julia Quinn. She has a way of creating crush-worthy characters that color up an otherwise ordinary historical romance world.more
I am flabbergasted that so many people enjoy a book where the heroine RAPES the hero. To do something so sneaky, underhanded, and horrifying made me despise Daphne. I can't help but believe that if Simon was the one who'd wanted a child while Daphne didn't, and then hforced himself upon her while she was drunk in order to get that child, the response to this book would be a lot less positive. The rest of the Bridgerton books are (I think) just fine, but this one made me angry and sick to my stomach.more
I don't remember enough from one romance to another to keep track of which characters I liked/disliked from which book. That might change with this one. This is certainly my favorite of hers. It's certainly my favorite romance from this year but it's different enough from J. Crusie that I can't say that it's my favorite overall. Certainly a good read for romance readers. I recommend it.more
Whether you're a die hard Regency Romance fan or looking to get introduced to the genre, this first book of the Bridgerton series is a perfect fit. Witty and wry, full of love and angst, and a marvelous "Happy Ever After," you'll be sure to fall in love with Daphne and Simon and the entire Bridgerton clan.more
If you don't fall instantly in love with this duke who doesn't know his own heart, I don't know why. Simon is a hurting soul, and the heroine knows exactly how to heal him.more
I never thought that I could have a whole book spoiled for me by one action, but this book proved that I could. What's so irritating about this is that I was enjoying the book. I liked the character's amusing dialogue and the friendship the developed.Things did start to go a bit downhill for me when Daphne chases Simon down at the duel. I don't get the most optimistic feeling when I see someone willing to die rather than marry. I know it wasn't Daphne in particular, but when the hero has so much baggage that death is preferable to his other options I know the road ahead is not going to be smooth. I started to get nervous about how something with that weight would be handled by the author. She has skill but in all the books I've read by her they all seemed very light and not really serious at all. I was willing to go along for the ride though.In some ways I wish I had stopped reading half way through and never got such a bad taste in my mouth. I know that Simon lied by omission in letting Daphne assume he wouldn't have kids because he couldn't have them. But who can really blame him? He was ashamed of how he was when he was a kid. If he would have said he just plain wouldn't have kids she would have demanded to know why and he would have had to explain all his humiliation. Who would willingly do that? She had to maneuver him into marrying her in the first place. He would have rather died in the duel than marry her and be put in that situation! She was even the one that initiated the situation that led to them having to marry! She seems to forget it was all her idea toward the end.I just can't help but think that the whole conflict in this book was manufactured by Daphne. The way the book was written seems to make Simon seem like the bad guy when what she did to him was unforgivable. I was ready for Simon to find someone new after that. I can't believe he came back and actually apologized to her. She tried to take a baby from him by force! I'm sorry I know he was into it, but he was drunk and didn't realized she wouldn't let him pull away at the end. When he realized he started struggling. That right there is force. If a man had done that to a girl there would have been a lot more people upset by it.I know that Daphne made a token statement about being okay with him not wanting kids if it was for the right reason, but I doubt that. She was consumed by the thought of children like she wouldn't have been complete without them. Besides, she may not have agreed with his reasons, but who is she to try and say he doesn't have a right to feel that way?I don't know if I'll read anymore of her. I've read her other Bridgerton books (and decided to finally read the 1st one) and I thought most of them were ok, but this one really disturbed me. I don't know if I want to risk feeling like that again. I read to watch two people fall in love, not to watch someone try to force her husband to impregnate her.more
Up until I was about 150 pages into The Duke and I, I was beginning to think I had started my second much-lauded romance series in a row, only to be sorely disappointed with it, but somehow Julia Quinn managed to pull out all the stops during the second half of the book and make me forget most of my frustrations from the first half. The two halves almost seemed like they were written in completely different styles. The beginning of the book wasn't bad, but it did dip down into the just OK range for me a few times. This part is extremely dialog heavy, and while there is some clever and witty repartee, the conversations can also drag on a bit too long. Most of the early chapters are virtual wall-to-wall dialog (great for dialog junkies, but utterly exhausting for an introvert like myself to read) punctuated with occasional passages of prose that more closely resembled narration than character introspection. This made it very difficult for me to get to know or develop a connection to the characters. Considering that most of what occurred during the first half were family interactions, I realized much later that Ms. Quinn was likely using this part of the book to set the stage for the Bridgerton series by giving readers insights into the family dynamics of the Bridgerton clan. There is very little relationship building between Simon and Daphne except for Simon attending a few Bridgerton family functions, and the couple having an attraction for one another that makes them wish that their pretend courtship was actually real. The sexual tension is very minimal, with the hero and heroine not kissing, nor barely even touching, until that halfway point. I did enjoy getting to know the Bridgertons and adored the loving, close-knit feel of their family (one I wouldn't mind calling my own), but I couldn't help but tire of the excessive amount of light, social chitchat, and found myself wishing for some deeper and more meaningful interactions. Well, I got my wish approximately halfway in, when the dialog began to take a more serious turn, the prose became more introspective, and both became much more balanced. The tension between Simon and Daphne ratcheted up almost instantaneously as they share a passionate encounter that leads to all sorts of angst and difficulties to overcome, which was what I had been so desperately longing for. From this point on, the story was top-notch and almost sheer perfection for me.After reading the heartbreaking prologue about Simon's childhood, I was fully expecting him to be a thoroughly tortured hero. Because of the weaknesses in the first half of the book, I did begin to question my assessment, but I shouldn't have worried. Simon's mother died in childbirth and his father was a cold man who never showed him an ounce of love, and in fact, reviled him for having a stutter. In spite of, or perhaps because of, his father's rejection, Simon stubbornly set out to be the very best he could be. He was incredibly intelligent, and with the help of his gentle, caring nurse, he learned to control his speech, and was able to enjoy a prosperous education even though his father tried to deny him that as well. Simon grew into a good and kind man, but he was also deeply embittered and resentful toward his father after years of constant emotional abuse and had vowed never to marry or have children of his own because of it. Simon truly didn't realize just how much the anger was eating him up inside or how desperately he needed to love and be loved in return until Daphne came into his life, shining a ray of hope into his darkness.In sharp contrast to Simon's upbringing, Daphne's had been brimming full of love, laughter and unbreakable family bonds. She is sweet and kind to everyone, including one annoyingly needy and pathetic suitor. Coming from a large family, she wants nothing more than to marry and have children, but unfortunately, she has become the girl that every guy wants to be friends with, but no one wants to marry. Then she chances to meet Simon, one of her brother, Anthony's best friends from school, and they strike up an alliance to pretend that they are courting, so that he can avoid being the object of every unmarried girl's attention and she can attract more attention from better quality suitors. Simon and Daphne become the best of friends, finding it very easy to talk to each other and thoroughly enjoying each others presence. Of course, they both end up wishing that their charade was real, and when that finally happens, it brings with it plenty of joy but also heartbreak. Daphne is a highly intuitive young woman who has a great grasp on male behavior and deftly handles the men in her life. She understands Simon far better than he understands himself, and seems to instinctively know what he needs. I loved her zest for life and her positive attitude. She was definitely a doer who wasn't afraid to get in the middle of things and stir them up, but she also had a knack for bringing clarity to some of the most difficult circumstances. Daphne was just an all-around, likable character, who I think was a perfect match for Simon.As one might expect with the heroine having a big family, there is a very large supporting cast. All of Daphne's siblings are introduced in this book, but her three older brothers, Anthony, Benedict and Colin play the biggest roles. This trio can be quite meddlesome and over-protective, but it all comes from a deep love for their sister, so I couldn't help but adore them for it. I think perhaps his support of Daphne and his devil-may-care attitude made Colin stand out to me just a bit more than the other two, but I look forward to seeing what stories Julia Quinn has in store for all of them. Violet is a wonderful mother to her brood of eight. I really admired the way that she could keep them all in line, including her grown sons. Violet is an intelligent woman who sees far more than her children think she does, and she is an extremely loving mother with whom they can discuss almost anything, except perhaps sex. I totally cracked up when Violet had “the talk” with Daphne on the night before her wedding, and the pursuant misunderstandings that occurred on Daphne's wedding night as a result of her mother's reticence were hilarious too. I discovered through Julia Quinn's website that a couple of characters from her previous books make cameos in The Duke and I, specifically Lady Danbury from How to Marry a Marquis. There is also a brief mention of Riverdale (James Sidwell), her nephew and the hero of that book. I have to say that I'm thoroughly intrigued by the fictitious gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown, and can't wait to find out who she is. I spent the better part of the book making speculations, but I'm not sure that any of my guesses are correct.The Duke and I is the first book in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. There are eight books in the series with each of the Bridgerton siblings getting their own book. Anthony is the hero of book #2, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and they continue from there in the order of the character's ages with the exception of the final two. There are also two anthologies featuring Lady Whistledown that are considered to be honorary Bridgerton books. Julia Quinn is working on 2nd epilogues for each of the books in the series. Six out of eight of the books have these 2nd epilogues available for purchase in e-book format through the author's website, but unfortunately, The Duke and I is not currently one of them. Ms. Quinn says that when she finishes the remaining two there are plans to publish all of them in a single paperback volume, and I look forward to seeing more of Simon and Daphne when their 2nd epilogue is written. The Duke and I may have gotten off to a rocky start for me, but it ended spectacularly, making it almost impossible for me not to give it keeper status. This was my first read by Julia Quinn, and I am now really looking forward to continuing the series and reading more from her. I just hope that from here on out her dialog and prose will equalize much earlier in the story.more
Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset, make a bargain to avoid matchmakers by pretending an attachment, which of course backfires when they fall in love. A bit too much melodrama, but I guess some drama is needed, lest their love develop too naturally. Sexy and romantic, I do love the bantering Bridgertons…more
This is the first JQ I ever read and I don't know if that factor has influenced my choice, but in my view this is the creme of her work. It's funny because I found some of her stuff truly brilliant and other books tawdry or only OK. But as many other JQ devotees, I adored her Bridgerton & Lady Whistledown series, and how much did I wish I was Daphne? I didn't think much of Anthony, who seemed like an arrogant tosser all the way through the series, but Simon on the other hand, oh Simon. . .more
A very average historical romance, I waited more after hearing so many praising comments about Julia Quinn. A stammering hero was plus, but otherwise the main couple was quite boring. I could think about reading also the other books in the series, but I wouldn't buy them.more
This was my first Julia Quinn book - and I will be hunting up all the others I can find! This book was charming, witty and tender, all at the same time. The relationship between Simon and Daphne was given proper time to build, and neither character was perfect - both displaying quite obvious faults - Simon for brooding and not allowing himself to forget the past, Daphne for fairly obvious selfishness in the scene were she takes advantage of Simon's drunkeness (although not of him, exactly). Another charming part of this book are the presence of Daphne's brothers and sisters - all seven of them - who all have their own books later, but are all developing individual characteristics already. I wish that she had given a little more time to Simon coming around at the end, but that's really the only problem I have with this book. Can't wait to read the rest!more
Relentlessly pursued by match-making mamas and their charges, Simon Bassett, the handsome Duke of Hastings, has grown tired of the societal chase. Tired too is the lovely Daphne Bridgerton, whose matrimonially minded mother is set on finding her daughter the perfect husband. Neither Simon nor Daphne is happy with this annoying state of affairs and both would give anything for a little peace and quiet. Their mutual wish for a respite from the ton's marriage mart leads to a pretend engagement--a scheme that is threatened with exposure by Daphne's suspicious older brother, who happens to know Simon's way with women very well. The two never anticipated that a mutual attraction would lead to the very thing they set out to avoid--a wedding. But Simon fears that his painful past may keep him from being able to truly love anyone. And though Daphne cares for him deeply, she won't settle for anything less than his heart.After enjoying Quinn's The Secret Diaries on Miss Miranda Cheever and finding myself (much as I hate to say it about Bujold) struggling with The Sharing Knife: Legacy, I decided to read another Julia Quinn novel for a break. I chose this one as it is the first in the author's eight-book Brigerton series and I am, unfortunately for my own peace of mind and bank balance, one of those anal people who has to read a series in order.Again, this was a fun read; not particularly challenging, but enjoyable, light and charming in tone and perfect for a break from more serious books.I found Daphne a nice blend - she wants a husband and she wants children; she embraces those goals of genteel society and desires them without being totally caught up in the social whirl without another thought in her head. Her bargain with Simon seems at least partially sensible - it certainly works in that she suddenly has plenty of suitors - but at the same time she's setting herself up for trouble getting close to Simon knowing how easily she could fall in love with this man who, scarred by his past, is determined not to marry.In my Julia Quinn reading, I've hit two out of two - in both cases the hero and heroine have been caught in a compromising situation and had to get married. I hope she uses other plot devices as well, but it has worked out well in both these cases.Love isn't Daphne and Simon's problem. They have that - whether Simon is ready to admit it or not. Their problems stem from Simon's issues about childhood and his dead father and he has to get over that before they can have a happy ending. I liked that.I did belive in their happy ending, although Simon's turnaround on their main issue was quite quick. I can look at it and justify it, but I just didn't automatically buy into it. All the same, that's a minor quibble.I found Violet's bumbling attempts (and eventual failure) to explain the "marital act" to Daphne to be very cute, and the scene it led to between Simon and Daphne on their wedding night was hysterical. It also made Daphne's enormous sense of betrayal a little later on to be perfectly believable and reasonable.While Quinn is true to her genre and this book is primarily about Daphne and Simon and their road to love, it also introduces the Brigerton family matriach, Violet, and her eight, alphabetically named children (which gives away the fact that while Daphne as the eldest daughter marries first, she is in fact the fourth child). I enjoyed meeting them all, especially overly-wise 10-year-old Hyacinth, and I am going to be reading all their books. I'll be saving up the Quinn books for whenever I need a "book break".more
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