Of the early Bridgerton books I loved books three and four, really liked the first, and thought the second was okay on my first read through. The good news headline of this reread review is that I liked this book more the second time through than I did the first. The plot of the book is a bit thinner than its predecessor, but that isn’t a bad thing. In The Viscount Who Loved Me we follow Anthony and Kate as they maneuver through the 1814 season, Anthony having decided that this year he will marry and since he has decided to not pursue a love match he plans to set his cap for the incomparable of the year. Kate’s sister Edwina happens to be that girl and his haphazard pursuit of Edwina leads Anthony to spending more and more time with Kate, until they find themselves caught in a position where they will be forced to marry. The underlying themes Quinn is working with are fear and memory, both Kate and Anthony have an irrational fear, and it is linked to a memory – Anthony can remember his, but Kate cannot remember hers. They unpack those fears, and build a solid relationship, and get their happily ever after in just under 300 pages.
But this is still a three-star book for me and I think a big part of that is that I just don’t think that Anthony Bridgerton is the hero for me. Part of the problem is that Anthony is no Simon and Simon is definitely my type of hero. Anthony spends most of the first book, and a decent amount of the early pages of the second, being a complete ass, and not in the loveable way. He’s also short of being an Alphahole – another area that works for me. Anthony is simultaneously too much and not enough, and I still don’t know how to reconcile myself to that. I also still dislike that Quinn chose to write two back to back “married because they have to” stories to open her series, but it bothered me much less this time through.
I feel bad for how little I like Anthony, because I love Kate, and I really like Anthony with Kate. Kate Sheffield is a heroine of the wallflowers pantheon, overlooked by the tastemakers, playing second fiddle to her younger sister even though they are incredibly close. She’s bright, and witty, and just plain fun to be around as we the reader get let in on her nearly silent rejoinders. She also shakes loose something in Anthony, the fun, and perhaps my favorite scene in the entire book is the Pall Mall match when they are absolutely riling each other up for the fun of it (also, if you read this try to find a copy with the second epilogue included – it’s another Pall Mall match and almost as good as the first).
All that said, this was a perfectly lovely way to spend two evenings without power thanks to Tropical Storm Isaias, so I’m left more happy than not.
Bingo Square: Red