Title: The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1)
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Romane, Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 28, 2015 (originally published January 5 2000)
From New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn comes the first novel in the beloved Regency-set world of her charming, powerful Bridgerton family, now a series created by Shonda Rhimes for Netflix.
In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable…but not too amiable.
Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.
Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.
The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…
Daphne is one of the eight Bridgerton siblings. She’s well liked in the “ton” but she has three older brothers who intimidate any worthy suitors for her. One day, she meets Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, who saves her from one of her most persistent suitors. Simon has always been certain that he never wants to get married, but mothers are always bringing their eligible daughters to meet him at parties. Daphne and Simon decide to solve both of their problems by starting a fake courtship: the mothers will think he’s taken and will stop parading their daughters around him, and other men will suddenly see Daphne as desirable. This fake courtship works, until the gossip writer Lady Whistledown questions their relationship and forces them to acknowledge their feelings.
When I heard this series described as Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen, I knew I had to read it. It has a regency setting, which reminded me of Jane Austen romances. It also had the juicy gossip of Gossip Girl. There were some funny moments, such as the names of the Bridgerton siblings. All eight of them have names that start with the first eight letters of the alphabet in order of their birth: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. These were kind of cheesy but it made it much easier to keep track of the siblings and their ages.
There were some possibly triggering scenes in this story. At the beginning, one woman died in childbirth after losing many babies before. There was also a scene of non-consensual sex. It was a woman who took advantage of a man, which isn’t often portrayed in novels. The characters immediately acknowledged how inappropriate this was after it happened. However, I appreciated how this showed that sexual abuse can and has been done by men and women in any time period.
I really enjoyed this story! I can’t wait to continue the series!
What to read next:
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters
Other books in the series:
- The Viscount Who Loved Me
- An Offer From a Gentleman
- Romancing Mister Bridgerton
- To Sir Phillip, With Love
- When He Was Wicked
- It’s In His Kiss
- On the Way to the Wedding
Have you read The Duke and I? What did you think of it?