Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (re-read)

Book: The Duke and I
Author: Julia Quinn
Release date: Jan 1st, 2000 (a re-read for me)

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---Daphney 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..

My Review:
Wow. What a difference a few years can make when reading a book. The first time i read "The Duke and I" i was 16 years old. I was young, innocent, and naive. I couldn't get enough of romance books.And i just adored every single Julia Quinn book i could get my hands on. Eleven years later, a grown single woman, i find myself still loving the book. Loved the book so much in fact that except for the first 20 pages i read it all in one afternoon/evening sitting. I haven't done that in a very very long time. Even with the most recent books i've jadored it's taken me 2-3 days to finish a book. I definitely think there is something to be said about the romances that were coming out in the early 2000's.

In this book, Julia introduces us to the famous "Bridgerton" family. One of the families I automatically connect in my mind with romance. Daphne is the eldest daughter of the family and after two seasons without a decent proposal is starting to lose hope. That doesn't deter her mother, Violet, from trying though. And so she is introduced to bachelor after bachelor. Every ball and party. Daphne knows the truth of things though. She is the "girl next store". The girl every man likes to chat with, but doesn't see as marriageable match. The ones that do she's rather didn't. Then she meets her brother Anthony's old friend and all that changes....

Simon is your typical hero in many ways. He's a Duke. Rich. Tall, dark, and handsome. And he has some issues. Big daddy ones and a surprisely stammering/stuttering problem that he's dealt with all his life. His goal on returning to England was to avoid society as much as possible. After all. He had no plans to marry or have children so why should he become involved. Yet society doesn't feel the same way about him and of course he gets tangled into it. At an event hosted by Lady Dansbury, Simon finds himself in a position that was more than he bargained for. He was quite happy to help out his friend Anthony's sister; he was not happy about becoming the newest catch to hit the ton. So he makes a bargain with Daphne. They'll pretend to form a attachment so that she may attract more men and he attract less women. If only Simon didn't start wishing the attachment wasn't fake...

On the topic of the two main characters i loved Simon. I've had to deal with speech issues all my life and found myself commiserating with him a lot. It was nice to have a character voice the issues that those of use who have trouble with certain sounds and words go through. It was far easier for me to connect with him than Daphne. Daphne on the other hand had some moments where i found myself wanting to hit her. The most being when she had sex with him when he was drunk because she wanted his sperm. I did not mistype that. Now that really didn't bother me when i was younger, but looking at it now i does bother me some. It was cruel of her to do so and in a way a bit violating. Yet the issue was never discussed in great length. It was merely shoved under the rug later when Simon basically says, not in these words, he could have stopped her if he wanted to. Something i'm not entirely sure of. If the character was fine with it i'll let it be since it wasn't rape and he doesn't entirely doing "it" against his will.

Together, Daphne and Simon work out quite well. They bounced right off of each other and could roll with things. Mostly.

Before i end this i should probably mention this story was the first appearance of Lady Whistledown. A brilliant creation of Julia's especially when you look at the whole series at once.

Final rating. 4 1/2. I only had one issue with the book and it was what i discussed above.