The Duke and I
The Bridgertons # 1
(I’m feeling generous)
Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813
By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.
But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love.
There will probably be spoilers.
The Duke and I started off great. I loved Daphne and Simon and I immediately fell in love with the Bridgerton family. Anthony, Benedict and Colin are exactly the type of older brothers I always wanted but never had (thanks for nothing, parents). Loving, overprotective and sometimes very much needing to be put in their place. And for the most part Daphne is able to handle herself among them. I loved her mother (Violet? I forget already), and I loved what we saw of the younger children. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of the society papers and I’m very interested in finding out who Lady Whistledown is.
So I was all set for novel filled with wonderful characters and a trope that I enjoy. Fake relationships are always an excellent means for falling in love so I was very interested in watching them go about their plan and slowly fall in love. Wouldn’t that have been an amazing book?
But somewhere along in the book (possibly the 50% mark, I don’t quite remember) they are caught in a compromising situation by her brother Anthony and he demands they get married. Simon refuses, there is a scheduled duel, and Daphne steps in at the last minute and Simon gives in.
And then they are married and (I think) they profess their love for one another and that was simply not how I wanted the book to go. It might be strange, but I don’t actually care what happens to the couple after they wind up happily ever after. I like the journey, but once they say I do, I’m done. I don’t want to read about their married (or dating) life. So for a large portion of this book to take place AFTER they are married was annoying enough, but then the drama wasn’t over yet. And that should have been good, but it was domestic drama and I’m not here for that.
(It doesn’t help that Daphne, who the entire first half of the novel claimed to know all sorts of things thanks to having three older brothers turns out to be incredibly naive when it comes to “the marital act”. I like my HR heroines to be historically inaccurate when it comes to their knowledge of sex, thank you.)
Daphne wants a baby, and while Simon told her he couldn’t have kids, she soon realizes that he just doesn’t want them. But, she is determined to have one anyway. I’m not going to comment on what happens, but I just wish that this book had gone the way I expected it to. Ending with a nice marriage and Simon deciding to have children without Daphne forcing the decision on him.
I will say that even though I don’t like reading about married life, I did actually enjoy the 2nd epilogue that was included in my kindle version and showed their lives 20 or so years in the future. A little glimpse isn’t bad; I just don’t want it to take place within the actual confines of the novel.
Although this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I will eventually continue with the series. I am trying to read a variety of historical romance authors first to get a feel of the type of story and writing I enjoy.