This is like a warm bath. Not too hot, not too cold, and entirely unchallenging. It is, what I think we usually look for when we go to movie theatres to watch a rom com, only to remember that a team of (male) writers usually can’t seem to consistently produce a love story like a single woman (with editors, god bless them) can.
Julia Quinn is something of a juggernaut in romance, and I’ll be honest, it took me a while to get the appeal. I’m a much bigger fan of the kind of historicals that Courtney Milan writes, that seek to write stories in realer, and as a result less pristine, versions of the past.
There is, however, another side to that conversion, which brings us to Because of Miss Brigerton. Miss Bridgerton, or Billie, is a genteel lady in name only. She is highborn enough that there’s no issue with her marrying a blueblood (the details are neither known nor particularly important). She grew up in rural Kent. She likes Kent. She does not feel stifled by it. She loves being outside and riding horses and running around with the neighbour’s boys and wearing britches. Her parents are entirely fine with this so long as she still dresses appropriately when the situation calls for it, which she is amenable to. The neighbours are likewise entirely fine with her conduct and everyone has just assumed she’d marry one of those boys, which, again, she is entirely fine with and eventually does. George isn’t her top choice, since he was too old to be part of their little gang, but she isn’t in love with any of the others either, and this is all sorted without a moment’s distress.
There are so many possible moments of friction. Each one of these things has been milked by other books as the central point of contention, but not here. Because of Miss Brigerton is trying to do something else here, which is to just tell the story of a bunch of generally pretty decent people, people who are accepting of one another exactly as they are in an era we really only look at as one of judgement and strict propriety. It is a story about a path being set out for you that is exactly what you want. There is no fight here because at no point do people disagree about what the future ought to look like. There is no big mystery. There is no dastardly villain. There is a house party, some pall mall, and some banter about mulch. The greatest drama on the page is the absence of one brother, which is of course resolved by the end without anyone really doing anything about it, as would happen in real life, because most people don’t become super spies because their brother went missing. They just mourn and move on.
Oh, and there’s a twisted ankle. This is literally the biggest point of friction in the book.
It took me a while to get into this, but there is something genuinely appealing about this sort of story. If you love romance and are finding yourself anxious about *gestures broadly at the world*, rural Kent, with the Bridgertons and Rokesbys is a pretty good place to rest for a little bit. And if you like it, there are several more in the series.