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April 27, 2010

Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

2010 Finishes: Books

I'm horribly behind on book reviews, but I'm just going to jump in, and maybe go back later and catch up. Or maybe not.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 371
Rating: 8.5

Okay, here's the thing. I have a good friend who reads a lot of Regency romances, and who has very high standards, so when something she reads actually meets her standards, it's generally a good idea to pay attention. And Julia Quinn is her favorite, and she's been telling me to read her for years. And I just . . . didn't, for no particular reason.* Until this week. And now - oh my goodness, I cannot figure out why I waited so long, but I am so excited that I have so much of her backlist to catch up on.

The Duke and I is the first in her eight-volume series about the Bridgerton siblings. Daphne Bridgerton's mother is very determined to see her married, and Daphne is just as determined to fend off suitors she doesn't like. The men she does like don't notice her. Simon, her brother Anthony's best friend and the new Duke of Hastings, has just returned to England and is having every unmarried girl in London thrown at him. They meet at a party and decide to give them both some breathing one, and increase Daphne's popularity, by pretending to be interested in each other for a while. As you might guess, they actually fall for each other. Of course, the Duke has a Deep Dark Secret and has Vowed Never to Marry or Father Children. But then they're caught in a compromising position . . .

Quinn does an impressive job of sticking within the conventions of the genre while playing with them at the same time, and this book was a delight from beginning to end. Quinn's writing is witty and grammatically correct. Simon and Daphne were sympathetic main characters without being too perfect; their flaws, for the most part, made them more real, although I thought Simon's Deep Dark Secret wasn't necessarily quite as dark as he thought it was. Daphne is a strong heroine who thinks for herself but avoids the anachronistic qualities of many "strong" heroines in historical novels. They both actually act like adults most of the time, which is nice to see, and while I certainly didn't agree with some of their actions and decisions, they stayed in character. This was refreshing, as there's little worse in romance novels than stupid made-up conflicts thrown in just to generate tension.

Perhaps the best part of the book was the interaction between Daphne and Simon and Daphne's extensive family, especially Daphne's three older brothers. So I can hardly be blamed if, immediately upon finishing this book, I ordered the next three in the series starring those brothers. Right?

* Actually, part of the reason is probably that when I'm in a romance mood, I tend to read whatever this friend has passed along to me. And she doesn't give me the Julia Quinns because she likes them so much that she keeps them to reread.

Posted by Kat at April 27, 2010 02:00 PM
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