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The Duke and I: Bridgerton: 1 Mass Market Paperback – 27 April 2015
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- Publisher : Avon US (27 April 2015)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062353594
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062353597
- Dimensions : 10.64 x 2.74 x 17.15 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 10,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"Julia Quinn is truly our contemporary Jane Austen."--Jill Barnett
"Quinn is . . . a romance master. [She] has created a family so likable and attractive, a community so vibrant and engaging, that we want to crawl into the pages and know them." --NPR Books
"Quinn is a consummate storyteller. Her prose is spry and assured, and she excels at creating indelible characters." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Simply delightful, filled with charm, humor, and wit." --Kirkus Reviews
From the Back Cover
Can there be any greater challenge to London's Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?--Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1813
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 ruse 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 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.
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I was super impressed with The Duke and I. I loved all of the characters and the storyline. So much better then the show (which was still good) but as my first foray into this author I was not disappointed and I’ve gone ahead and bought the whole Bridgertons Book Series.
I did like Simon and Daphne's story and I could feel the chemistry between the two from very early on. There is one scene - which is well written about in reviews and articles so I won't bother rehashing it here - that is very unpleasant to read in the books (and unfortunately is not rectified in the TV show either) but as I was prepared it existed I was able to reconcile my distaste for what occurred and move on (which I know isn't something everyone can do). This scene is really the reason it's 3.5 stars for me (otherwise it would've been a 4/4.5) but it is what it is.
I'd still recommend reading giving this book a go... especially as the later books look fantastic!!
I admit, it had a very promising start, but I eventually started thoroughly disliking it and waiting for it to end.
Others' opinions might vary. But I'm very certain of my one star review.
Enjoyed the unique plot.
Eldest Bridgerton daughter Daphne strikes a deal with adult Duke Simon to get matchmaking mothers off their backs. They will pretend to be besotted with each other. Romance readers will know exactly where this plot is headed. The central romance is a moving emotional voyage, and there are many funny moments thanks to the entertaining Bridgerton family.
It's a good book. I would give it 4.5 stars if I could as it didn't fully realise the potential of its enthralling beginning.
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I’ll get to reviewing the quality of the material after this big thing that completely destroys this book and entire series for me: the main character Daphne rapes Simon and no one cares and there’s no consequences. One review I read also gave a bad review because of this but I genuinely thought they were wrong because there’s no way this would happen in an internationally best selling book with 1000 good reviews, right??? Nope, apparently I discounted how poorly understood male rape is in our society esp with female perpetrators. Was it “violent” or was he “forced”? Not really. Did he “””enjoy it”””? Technically, yes. But he was absolutely wasted, had no idea what was going on (which, drunk sex, it happens and can be fine) and then she (trying not to spoil??) very specifically decides to take advantage of his drunken state and do something to him he has EXPLICITLY said no to, multiple times over several instances. Is his reasoning on why not to do the thing stupid? Yes. More on his ridiculous character later. But it doesn’t matter if his reasons are dumb. He has said no to this many times and she has to sort of hold him down to get him to do it??? It’s very icky and was hard to read. He then, unsurprisingly, freaks out and is very upset and sort of has a mental breakdown? But he’s over it in about one chapter, there are no real consequences whatsoever, and Daphne explicitly thinks to herself “she’s not ashamed of what she did” afterwards. WTF??? I am so surprised more people aren’t taking about this with the adaptation announcement and I really hope the series drastically changes this.
Separately from this, is the book good? No, not really. I mean it’s readable, and I was entertained at least in the beginning. The family dynamics are cute and some scenes are funny but I read this 3 days ago and can’t remember anything else good about it. I can barely even remember Daphne’s personality. The pacing of the plot is a bit awkward alongside the pacing of the romantic development. Some scenes just stretch on into awkwardness with cringey dialogue but not in a funny, tongue in cheek way. Simon’s character is ridiculous and melodramatic to the point of exhaustion and the book leans heavily on the whole “tragic backstory” cliche but it barely even makes sense when you find out all his “secrets”. I love cheesy romance cliches and ridiculous characters in regency novels when they’re done well, when the cliches are cheeky and self aware and the book isn’t taking itself too seriously. This book fails at that. And I have no issue when characters act like a-holes or irrationally because of terrible things in their life. They’re only human. But Simon’s whole schtick is just ridiculous and so dragged out it's almost painful. Romance novels often get a pass for having not great or even bad writing, but I’ve read some genuinely fantastic and well written regency romance novels that are just so much better than this.
Agree with the other reviews that the language and narrative were not right for the period the story is set in. It really felt like a supposedly historical version of ‘Gossip Girl.’ Nothing much happens in terms of plot, the events that do happen feel a bit contrived and there’s far too much sex described (one ‘scene’ or so is fine but it goes on and on) and agree that Daphne does indeed rape her husband (!) yet this is all poised as being perfectly acceptable behaviour because she’s apparently justified in her desire to have children at any cost.
Although I found myself able to read the book quite quickly, I don’t think I’ll be reading the others. I will give the Netflix series a try though!
So put those issues aside and proceed on the basis that arising out of a very unhappy childhood Simon Duke of Hastings resolved not to have children and then let's his hatred for his father govern his life. He gets caught in a compromising situation with Daphne Bridgerton then refused to marry her because of the child issue and is challenged by her brother.He apparently prefers to die in a duel rather than marry her, is how Daphne sees it. She intervenes in the duel and they end up married. Daphne soon comes to understand that he could potentially have a child and in a drunken encounter that he is an active participant in she ensures he ‘completes’ the act of intercourse inside her. I think on any rational analysis she does it with mixed motives - she wants a child and she loves Simon very much and wants him to be happy. Not surprisingly she doesn't want his father to rule his life from beyond the grave. How this is resolved I thought was very well written,there was lots of angst,but essentially I thought Daphne and Simon were great characters and ultimately she did him a huge service . Ignore the naysayers it's a wonderful story. I intend to read the rest in the series.