In my new found quest to explore the world of Romance, I’ve decided to sample the works of other recommended authors. Having started at the peak with Courtney Milan might have a detrimental effect on my opinions, but I’m committed to trying. I think I have to try a bunch of different things to figure out what I like and don’t like.
This one seems to be an “innocent girl saves Rake with her magical love” story, which I now know is not a story I particularly enjoy. This is the first book in the Bridgerton Family Series, about 8 siblings, alphabetically named, who look for love in Regency England. Daphne is the eldest daughter, who has the misfortune to be more likable than romantically interesting to the men of her class and is therefor having trouble securing a husband. Her three belligerent older brothers are not helping either. Enter Simon, the titular Duke, her brother’s friend and a known Rake who dramatically refuses to ever marry. Daphne and Simon enter into a plot contrivance to fake an entanglement in order to shield Simon from the wandering bands of unmarried girls and their mothers and to increase Daphne’s attractiveness to other suitable men. Of course they are attracted and end up together, but Simon has a tragic secret that he broods about until Daphne heals him with her loving love. I am being a bit snide, I know, but after the depth and complexity of Milan’s character’s I have to say that my patience for Simon’s extreme Emo and Daphne’s purity of heart was not great.
What I liked: The historical setting; I liked the balls and the dances and pretty dresses of it all. I liked the chapter framing device of the gossip sheets. The characters were engaging. Even when I was aggravated by them I wanted to know more. The Bridgertons are fun and I think further development of that family could be interesting. The book is well written. The banter and dialogue were terrific. When Simon and Daphne are getting to know each other in a friendly way, the book is light and fun and romantic.
What I didn’t like: There is literally no plot. Like, nothing happens that is not directly related to the main Romance plot. Interesting peripheral characters are introduced but never developed. Daphne is kinda too innocent and too loving for me. She’s mostly boring in a self-satisfied way with only small bursts of moxie. Simon is needlessly secretive and so dramatically emo about everything. He also displays a lot of sexily-presented possessive grossness. Simon rages about his ownership of his wife Daphne waaaaay too much when she defies him. It squicked me out, honestly. Both Daphne and Simon behaved reprehensibly to each other at points, which surprised me. I think her innocence and his arrogance were historically accurate but not enjoyable for me personally.
But still, I liked them? Mostly. But I don’t think I’ll read the others in this series.
Onward and upward!