This is a series I read some years ago while being in a phase I like to call the romantic side of me. I was looking for some romance with a historical touch and found this at a German publisher´s website. The cover of the German edition caught my eye and I went for it. Turned out to be the start of a wonderful series filled with humor, charming figures, and hilarious scenes and dialogues. If you are not familiar with the author, this novel is a great way to change that.  

The Duke And I
by Julia Quinn
Bridgerton Series #1
Publisher Avon Books on December 30, 2019
Genre Historical Romance
Pages 448
Format Paperback

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound them. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince – while other dictates of the tone are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable … but not too amiable. Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendship with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwillingly to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen. Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society – just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend´s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar. The plan works like a charm – at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London´s elite, there is only one certainty: Love ignores every rule …
Young Daphne Bridgerton is nearing the end of her second season and there is still no suitable husband insight. And yet she longs for a husband and children. But then she meets Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, at a ball, and in despair, she accepts his suggestion. He pretends to be interested in her to keep all the mothers of unmarried daughters at bay and thereby draw the other men´s attention to Daphne. The plan seems to work, but Daphne is unhappy because she has long fallen in love with the Duke. She does everything to convince Simon that there is no one else for her, but Simon keeps a bad secret and stubbornly refuses to take a step towards Daphne. Can she still convince him and reveal the secret that tortures Simon?

With wonderful descriptions, Julia Quinn has given her characters one beautiful setting after the other. You can really see the brightly lit ballrooms, the sparkling chandeliers, and the glittering pieces of jewelry that the ladies of society wear. An absolute delight for the imagination and the inner eye. The book begins with a prologue that briefly shows the history of the Duke and then moves on to the time of Daphne´s second season. From the fourth chapter onwards, the actual plot is preceded by a short article from a society magazine, the author of which puzzles the whole of London society, since nobody knows who it is. The story ends with an epilogue, which gives the reader a brief but very nice insight into life after the plot in 1813.

The figure of Daphne is incredibly profound and complex. Not only does she have a good grip on her older brothers, but she also has an incredible feeling for the needs and worries of her fellow human beings and has mastered the art of helping with the right sentence or the right gesture. She not only sees the outside of people she also looks below the surface. Nevertheless, she is not infallible and has her weaknesses. In society, she speaks the language that is expected of a young woman of her class, but she can do it quite differently, which turns out to be very refreshing when reading. 

At first glance, the character of Simon Basset is that of an arrogant, cold person who only speaks to his peers and only a few, which reinforces the first impression. But the author Julia Quinn has given him a weakness that makes him incredibly personable that you almost forget when reading that he is a duke and only sees him as a person who suffers from a great agony. Julia Quinn changed this character sensitively and skillfully during the plot and it was a pleasure to follow this change. 

An absolutely fantastic love story. Fascinating and captivating from the first to the last line. This novel guarantees wonderful reading pleasure. A book that, once started, is not so quickly put down again. 

Happy reading

Julia Quinn
Julia Quinn ©Roberto File

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.



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