I’m not one for romance novels, but will enjoy reading one if the writing is superb. Like many during the pandemic, I binged Bridgerton on Netflix and was drawn in by the characters and the story. The costumes and, OMG, the hair. That is why I picked up a copy of The Duke and I. Obviously there is something to Ms. Julia Quinn for the show to be so good.
The Duke and I is the first of eight books. Each book tells the story of one Bridgerton sibling. This particular work, as the TV show would suggest, revolves around Daphne and Simon (The Duke in case you haven’t seen the show). Daphne is worried over finding a proper husband. Simon is worried about being chased by women and their mothers while they hunt for husbands. Simon and Daphne strike up an agreement to pretend to be betrothed to each other so that Daphne can lure in better suiters and Simon can avoid obsessive mothers. Of course, like any true romance novel, the two fall in love.
The hitch? Daphne wants a large family and Simon, thanks to a how horribly his father treated him throughout his childhood, does not want children. They marry anyway, and Daphne is heartbroken when she finds out that not wanting children is not the same thing as “can’t” have children.
Julia Quinn’s writing is upbeat and funny. She dives into the inner workings of her characters with ease. She brings humor and wit to a vibrant world. She reminds me of Elizabeth Hoyt, who is the only other romance novelist that I read regularly. Worth reading on a summer day at the beach or on a winter afternoon.
I’ll most likely read a few more of her books, but mostly because I really want to know why the show makes the Featheringtons main characters. In the book, they are mere mentions. A reason for jokes and nothing more. I’m not complaining, mind you. I like that the world in the show is chuck full of interesting characters. I’m a little surprised I didn’t stumble onto her Quinn’s earlier, but better late than never I suppose.