After gushing about how much I enjoyed reading Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, I mentioned that I would not likely be reading my way through the series anytime soon. I promised to elaborate a bit, but as usual, I was easily distracted by all things Outlander and my Bridgerton reviews fell by the wayside. Now that I’m firmly ensconced in Gabaldon’s latest, I thought I would take a moment to work out some Bridgerton-related feelings with y’all.
Although I have a long history of unapologetically starting romance series squarely in the middle, I decided to make amends for starting with Romancing by picking up book 1, The Duke and I.
The set up is all kinds of right:
- Simon: A Duke with Daddy Issues
Cast aside by his father thanks to a childhood stutter, Simon has vowed to punish his father by never to marrying and ending the Basset link. He agrees to a faux-courtship with Daphne Bridgerton to help fend off unwanted marriage-minded mamas from ensnaring him in matrimony, but of course, Daphne’s gorgeous, and he’s smitten.
- Daphne: Stuck in the Friend Zone
All the dudes love Daphne, but mostly because she’s just one of the guys (despite being beautiful, of course…this is a romance novel after all). Simon is her solution to getting her own marriage-minded mom off her case, but of course, he’s as handsome as we wish all Dukes to be, and love soon follows.
As expected, Quinn’s writing is witty and well-paced, intimate but just removed enough to lend humor and perspective to Daphne and Simon’s romance. In general I find Quinn to be an empathetic novelist; she seems so well-attuned to human emotion and her characters as people that reading her books feels like reading a story about old friends. This is perhaps why I was so surprised and really, really, disappointed by a major event and plot point in The Duke and I. After chapters of Simon explicitly stating that he does not want to have children and will not be a father, readers are thrown into a sexual encounter where a determined Daphne essentially forces Simon into not-pulling-out in hopes that it will result in the pregnancy he wants above all else to avoid.