Anthony Bridgerton is the eldest of eight siblings, the youngest of whom never even got to meet their father. Anthony idolised his father, Edmund, who he thought was everything a man could ever aspire to become, as a nobleman, husband or father. When Edmund Bridgerton died suddenly from a bee sting when Anthony was 18, he became convinced that like his father, he would die at the same age (38). Having spent most of his twenties taking care of the family’s finances and trying to support his mother and be a good role model for his brood of younger siblings, Anthony has nonetheless developed quite the reputation as a rake. Now nearing his thirties, he’s very aware of his responsibilities as a viscount and wants to get married and father heirs to continue the title. However, having seen the great love his parents shared, and how his father’s death almost crushed his mother with grief, Anthony doesn’t want to marry a woman whom he will love passionately, as then dying at a relatively young age will hurt her too much.
Having made the decision to marry, he asks his brothers who the most promising young debutante on the marriage mart is, and makes up his mind that she’ll probably do as well as any other. There’s only one obstacle. The lovely Miss Edwina Sheffield has declared that she’ll not marry anyone who doesn’t have the approval of her older half-sister Kate, and Miss Katharine Sheffield doesn’t like feel that the rakish Viscount will be a suitable match for her sister at all. Taller, plainer and four years older than her sister, Kate is used to being compared unfavourably with her sister and knows gentlemen only dance with her and talk to her to get closer to Edwina. She and Anthony absolutely infuriate each other, although the viscount only becomes more determined to win Edwina’s hand when her meddlesome sister is so against the match. He thrives on a challenge, after all. Now if he could only stop picturing Kate every time he closes his eyes, wooing her sister would be a lot easier.
Unlike The Duke and I, which I never re-read until this year, I’ve read The Viscount Who Loved Me several times, because I love Anthony and Kate’s story. I like the way they absolutely can’t stand each other to begin with, and with every encounter grow more and more attracted to each other, while constantly saying the wrong thing and infuriating each other. The “I hate you, I hate you, I can’t stop thinking about your hair” trope can be incredibly frustrating if done badly, but it can also be a delight, and Julia Quinn manages it marvellously in this book.
Full review on my blog.