After I mentioned that my library didn’t have this book, the lovely Malin sent it to me, along with books 2-4 in the series. I tried a little bit to resist reading this because I have so many other books I should be reading, but I made it barely to noon the next day before I caved.
Basically, this book was fun. Malin is the best.
The Duke and I is the first book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons series, which follows the immense Bridgerton clan, as they live and love (of course) in Regency England. It’s somewhat of a genre classic, and Julia Quinn is a very popular author in the genre, so I’ve been meaning to read her for quite a while, especially since I’m almost out of Courtney Milans and Tessa Dares. This was a fun book, but the writing was a little overly cheesy in points, and it definitely relies on genre cliches in a way that I’m not used to any more (spoiled by all the Milan and Dare, etc). But it was fun, minus the handling of one questionable scene.
This first book follows Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest Bridgerton daughter (she has three older brothers). Daphne has never had a suitor she would actually consider–she feels that all the young men of her set think of her as a friend rather than a potential wife. Enter Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. Simon has been out of the country for seven years, but now that his estranged father is dead, it’s time to return and take charge of his inheritance. Due to his own history, Simon plans never to marry, and certainly never to have children. Both of them are tired of the social whirl and being endlessly paraded before potential suitors. They cook up a plan to form a fake attachment so everyone will leave them alone, so of course, they fall in love. But you knew that.
I liked both Simon and Daphne (for the most part). I was immediately drawn to Simon as a character, as the book opens with a prologue detailing his early life, and just exactly why he had such a terrible relationship with his father. It’s necessary backstory if you’re to understand why he acts the way he does through the rest of the novel. Simon and Daphne are really good together. They shore up each other’s weaknesses.
The only part of the book I actively disliked featured some questionable consent issues between Daphne and Simon. Daphne does something totally reprehensible, which is fine if you want to go there, but I don’t think she or the book fully owns up to just how awful her actions were.
That lone problem aside, this was just a fun, fluffy, mindless way to spend a couple of hours, and I’m definitely going to continue the series, probably beyond the next three books that Malin sent me.