Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Book Description:
Simon Basset, the irresistible Duke of Hastings, has hatched a plan to keep himself free from the town's marriage-minded society mothers. He pretends to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. After all, it isn't as if the brooding rogue has any real plans to marry -- though there is something about the alluring Miss Bridgerton that sets Simon's heart beating a bit faster. And as for Daphne, surely the clever debutante will attract some very worthy suitors now that is seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, she soon forgets that their courtship is a complete sham. And now she has to do the impossible and keep herself from losing her heart and soul completely to the handsome hell-raiser who has sworn off marriage forever!

I really liked this book, which is the first of the Bridgerton series. Fun and frothy, I laughed aloud and really enjoyed myself reading it. The repartee betweed Daphne and Simon is refreshing and the characters are endearing, well described and fleshed out - lots of emotion going on in this story.

On the surface, this is a frothy regency romance with some sex thrown in as well. But underneath there's more to it. This is Simon's story. Born to inherit the dukedom and losing his mother at the same time, he does not talk until he's 4 years old, and at that time he has a stammer. His father is disgusted by him, convinced he is stupid and an imbecile, he cruelly has nothing to do with him until Simon is a grown man, and by that point Simon will have nothing to do with his father, whom he loathes. But the damage is already done and Simon has lasting psychological scars from the way he was treated.

Simon overcomes his stammer and to get back at his father, develops a reputation in town as a rake. Time passes and eventually the old duke dies and Simon becomes the new duke and returns to London from his travels around the world. This is when he meets Daphne. From the get go they hit if off and it's fun to follow their "non" courtship. Simon is close friends with Daphne's brother Anthony, and it's very funny how they all interact together. Daphne has three older brothers, the one I loved best was Colin, and I can't wait to see if there is a book written about him. There must be. He's the wannabe rake of the Bridgerton's and is very amusing. I also liked their mother, Violet. She has 8 children, a widow, but still young - 40-ish and attractive - I wonder if there's a story or remarriage for her in store?

Back to Simon and Daphne... due to an inevitable turn of events spurred on by Daphne's budding love for Simon, they are forced to marry, even though Simon has constantly been telling her he will never marry - nor have children. Daphne discovers once they are married that he didn't quite tell her the real reason why and they have a falling out. This is where the story turns angsty. Plus, I couldn't help being a little "grossed out" by the constant analysis of why and how and when Simon would "pull out" just before orgasm - TMI! But, aside from all that, I really liked their characters. Daphne is no clinging vine. She has a mind of her own and is strong and not afraid to stand up for herself and kick Simon out of her bedroom if need be, and give him a piece of her mind. She's good for him! Despite Simon's tall and dashing good looks and ice blue eyes and aristrocatic demeanor, I felt sorry for him and the demons he's been carrying around, though I do think he was selfish and misguided in refusing to have children, but agreed with him that Daphne had tricked him when he was drunk so she could try and get pregnant - lots of drama during that part. But, as in all romances, all was resolved at the end and our besotted couple found their way back into each others arms again.

All in all, it was a good read (I read it in one day) and they all live happily ever after! I highly recommend this romance - lots of fun!


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