Because starting with the eight book Bridgerton series is what I suggest, other than Courtney Milan, to anyone who wants to try out a historical romance, it seemed like a good idea to provide reviews of her best novels. Herewith are my go-to Julia Quinn review adjectives: light, deft, witty, clever, convivial, bright, romantic. I use them every time I discuss a Quinn book, and, as this review benefits from being of one of her less recent novels, I get to express all of my love and approbation without any of the pesky misgivings her later catalogue brings out.
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is a wonderful novel about a woman who finds herself with the man she has been in love with for many years. Penelope fell in love with Colin Bridgerton at first sight, Colin takes about a decade plus 200 pages longer, but ends up in the same place.
A protector trapped in a rake’s body, Colin happens to be the best-looking son in a family of handsome men, as well as being incredibly charming, laid-back, and, not to underestimate the power of this, nice. As his sister Eloise’s best friend, Penelope is a frequent visitor to their family home. Colin has been coming and going, traveling the world with the freedom that comes with wealth and a y-chromosome in Regency England. Penelope has been wending her way towards spinsterhood in London, and this time when he comes back something in their relationship shifts. She is a classic wallflower, overlooked and with a wearying family, but a marvelous woman for those paying attention, and mostly satisfied with her life. Her “mostly satisifed” is about to change and she will help Colin with his disgruntlements, too.
Each chapter opens with a gossip article from Bridgerton series fixture Lady Whistledown. Never seen, she has been commenting on London society for a decade. Acerbic, but fair, determining her true identity becomes the crux of the story and the agent of Penelope’s transformation to someone with confidence speaking her mind honestly and without fear. Helped along by series favourite, the redoubtable Lady Danbury, Penelope comes out of her shell and Colin quickly comes to appreciate her. As this is a Quinn novel, their courtship takes the form of simply delightful banter mixed in with growing flashes of attraction and sincere romance. It is such fun and extremely satisfying.
A summary of Julia Quinn’s catalogue, including a complete summary of the 8.5 Bridgerton novels, can be found here. Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.