Historical Romance Thursday #3

review

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The Duke and I

The Bridgertons # 1

Julia Quinn

3stars (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.

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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.

Historical Romance Thursday #2

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Romancing the Duke

Castles Ever After #1

Tessa Dare

4.5stars


 

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

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I really need to start rating based on genre because within the HR genre (yeah I’ve only read like 3, but still) this definitely should have 5 stars.  Maybe I’ll figure out  away to do that someday.

But I loved this book.  While I really enjoyed both Izzy and Ransom as individuals, it was their relationship which made this book.  The banter was awesome and I love a good “hate to love” trope.  While I’m usually not a fan of the tortured hero, Ransom was just the right amount of cocky to make up for it.  Plus he did tend to veer away from self pity for the most part.

The Goodnight Tales (was that what they were called? Curse my memory) and the whole Moranglian subplot was one I actually enjoyed as well.  I didn’t think I would but I really, really did.  It was a bit over the top but whatever.  It definitely added to the charm of this novel

I’d heard that Tessa Dare wrote funny books, and I was really happy that I agree! I actually laughed quite a few times.  Real laughs too, not just a little chuckle which is what usually happens.

This is a really shitty review and I feel like I nothing I say can even show how much I loved this book.  If you haven’t read it and you are into historical romances definitely pick it up.  It is so much fun. I definitely plan to continue this series and I’m really looking forward to reading more of Tessa Dare’s novels.

Historical Romance Thursday #1

I’ve been thinking of adding more monthly features for awhile now.  So I’ve decided to mix my newfound interest in expanding the genres I read and monthly features.  From now on, on the 2nd Thursday of every month, I will highlight a Historical Romance novel that I have read recently.  This is a genre that I have been wanting to explore for some time, and I’m happy to say that my first few reads have been great experiences!

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minetillmidnight

Mine Till Midnight

The Hathaways #1

Lisa Kleypas

4stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter…

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I really, really enjoyed this.  I actually liked it more than the first HR I read, The Rogue Not Taken.

Amelia Hathaway was a great character to start this series off with.  As the oldest female, at 26 (I think) she is resigned to life as a spinster.  In fact, she doesn’t have any desire to get married because she doesn’t want to give up her control of her own life.  She doesn’t want to have to obey a man.  All she wants to do is take care of her 3 younger sisters and her older brother.   All of the characters are great and I loved the family relationships.  In fact, I can’t wait to get to Poppy and Beatrix’s stories because they seemed like more interesting characters.

Cam Rohan was a very interesting love interest.  I don’t think I’ve read any books about a Romani  character.  I don’t really know much about them, so I can’t really tell if it was a stereotypical portrayal, but it didn’t seem bad. I liked how the book brought up the stereotypes that most people believed about the Romani, and explored them within the two characters of Cam and Merripen. What I liked most about him was that he wasn’t a brooding male! I am so sick of the woe is me love interest.  He was confident and sexy and seemed more than willing to let Amelia live her own life, while also taking care of her at the same time.

The only real issues I had with this was the random POV shifts to Merripen and Winnifred.  It’s actually a major pet peeve when new POVs are introduced towards the end of novels.  It wasn’t a deal breaker for me here because I felt like it was just setting up for the second book of the series which will focus on these two characters.  I will definitely be reading the rest of this series as soon as I can get my hands on them!