Saturday, December 27, 2008

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (beware of spoilers!)

Book Description:
Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for...well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret...and fears she doesn't know him at all.

Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip aboard he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same -- especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must she his biggest threat -- or his promise of a happy ending?

I loved this story!

I have been looking forward to reading this book, ever since I first started reading this Regency series about the Bridgerton's, and I knew this story about Colin would be great. It was funny, poignant, surprising and had a great ending! Julia Quinn has done it again! I guess I should stop being surprised, she gets me every time - and once again, I had one of those tears in my eyes moments at her wonderful ending. She is one of my favorite romance authors.

This is the story of Penelope Featherington, 28 year old spinster who has been in love with charming Colin Bridgerton since she was 16 years old (a memorable opening scene). Penelope is a close friend to the Bridgerton family, and has known Colin for years, but it's not until he returns from Cyprus (one of his many trips abroad) that the two of them become better friends, and before long, Colin begins to see Penelope in a different light. No longer the lonely wallflower he knew from years ago that he felt sorry for and asked to dance. She has blossomed into a clever and witty and pretty young woman - with a big secret.

I loved their courtship. Colin is charming! But, he has insecurities and anxieties just like anyone else. He wants some purpose in his life. He doesn't want to be known as "charming Colin Bridgerton." He wants to be able to do something well and receive the recognition for it from his peers. Penelope unexpectedly comes across one of his travel journals and reads a page from it. A great reader herself, she recognizes that he has a talent and flair for writing and tells him so. (I loved the excerpts from his journals too - very entertaining to read them!) After getting over his initial anger that she read his diary, he succumbs to her flattery over his writing (what author hasn't?) and becomes dumb with delight! Suddenly, he sees Penelope in a whole new way - it's amazing what a little flattery can do! Now, at first I was a little put off by this. I thought, he's not really falling for Penelope for herself, it's because she's complimented him on his travel journals and has told him he should get them published. That can turn anyone's head. But, over time, he does seem to realize he loves her, but it's slow coming and it takes him a while to work it out in his head. I like the idea he had to deliberate over this, and asked his sister Daphne for her opinion. He's unsure of himself and his feelings. He's vulnerable at first, but by the end he's clear about his feelings and wants the whole world to know how he feels about Penelope - a great moment in the book!

Penelope is slow and steady in her love for Colin. She's loved him forever and never wavered in her feelings for him. But, she is also her own woman and feels she must do what her concience tells her to do. I felt for her. Penelope has come a long way. I love to read this kind of story where a shy or unattractive young girl finally comes into her own and blossoms. I also enjoyed her relationship with Lady Danbury, a crotchety old dowager who decides to make Penelope one of her pet projects. It was moving and tugged at my heartstrings to read about Penelope's happy ending.

There is much more to this story than just one particular plotline though. One of the most enjoyable parts of this series is Lady Whistledown's column which is a gossip column about the ton. She is scathing, insulting and irreverent - but she is almost always right. Who is she? I had my suspicions in the previous books, but I was wrong. In this book we find out who it is, and it's a big surprise. I won't spoil it here, but I loved the way it was all masterfully brought about from beginning to end. It made this a very special book. I can't stress enough that this series should be read in order, otherwise you won't appreciate Lady Whistledown's column as much.

I won't go into much more detail here because it's too difficult without tons of spoilers, but I'll just say that this was my favorite book of the series so far. As usual, there is some psychological business and depth that has to be dealt with on the part of the hero, which is characteristic in this series. I think it puts it in a class above the usual romances out there. This book in particular was so well written and humorous. The love scenes are few and not over the top, but they are tender and sexy and Colin is oh so swoonworthy. A great read! Do yourself a favor and read this series, you won't be sorry!


Btw, this was the 100th book I read this year!

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