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The Duke and I: Bridgerton: 1 Paperback – 11 June 2019
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"Julia Quinn is truly our contemporary Jane Austen."--Jill Barnett
"Quinn is . . . a romance master. [She] has created a family so likable and attractive, a community so vibrant and engaging, that we want to crawl into the pages and know them." --NPR Books
"Quinn is a consummate storyteller. Her prose is spry and assured, and she excels at creating indelible characters." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Simply delightful, filled with charm, humor, and wit." --Kirkus Reviews
From the Back Cover
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn comes the first novel in her beloved Regency-set series featuring the charming, powerful Bridgerton family
In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince--while other dictates of the ton 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 friendships 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 unwilling 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...
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I’ll get to reviewing the quality of the material after this big thing that completely destroys this book and entire series for me: the main character Daphne rapes Simon and no one cares and there’s no consequences. One review I read also gave a bad review because of this but I genuinely thought they were wrong because there’s no way this would happen in an internationally best selling book with 1000 good reviews, right??? Nope, apparently I discounted how poorly understood male rape is in our society esp with female perpetrators. Was it “violent” or was he “forced”? Not really. Did he “””enjoy it”””? Technically, yes. But he was absolutely wasted, had no idea what was going on (which, drunk sex, it happens and can be fine) and then she (trying not to spoil??) very specifically decides to take advantage of his drunken state and do something to him he has EXPLICITLY said no to, multiple times over several instances. Is his reasoning on why not to do the thing stupid? Yes. More on his ridiculous character later. But it doesn’t matter if his reasons are dumb. He has said no to this many times and she has to sort of hold him down to get him to do it??? It’s very icky and was hard to read. He then, unsurprisingly, freaks out and is very upset and sort of has a mental breakdown? But he’s over it in about one chapter, there are no real consequences whatsoever, and Daphne explicitly thinks to herself “she’s not ashamed of what she did” afterwards. WTF??? I am so surprised more people aren’t taking about this with the adaptation announcement and I really hope the series drastically changes this.
Separately from this, is the book good? No, not really. I mean it’s readable, and I was entertained at least in the beginning. The family dynamics are cute and some scenes are funny but I read this 3 days ago and can’t remember anything else good about it. I can barely even remember Daphne’s personality. The pacing of the plot is a bit awkward alongside the pacing of the romantic development. Some scenes just stretch on into awkwardness with cringey dialogue but not in a funny, tongue in cheek way. Simon’s character is ridiculous and melodramatic to the point of exhaustion and the book leans heavily on the whole “tragic backstory” cliche but it barely even makes sense when you find out all his “secrets”. I love cheesy romance cliches and ridiculous characters in regency novels when they’re done well, when the cliches are cheeky and self aware and the book isn’t taking itself too seriously. This book fails at that. And I have no issue when characters act like a-holes or irrationally because of terrible things in their life. They’re only human. But Simon’s whole schtick is just ridiculous and so dragged out it's almost painful. Romance novels often get a pass for having not great or even bad writing, but I’ve read some genuinely fantastic and well written regency romance novels that are just so much better than this.
I don’t normally give bad reviews. If I don’t like a book I simply move on from it. But this one made me mad and has a lot of good reviews and a Netflix show about to release so here it goes.
I was uncomfortable when the hero threatened to rape the heroine. But, as that is unfortunately not uncommon of the historical romance genre, willing to move on. Until less than 30 pages later when the heroine rapes the hero. It made me ill to read. It’s made worse by the book later trying to convince the reader that it was not in fact a rape, when it clearly was. Just because it happened to a man doesn’t make it any less of a rape or any less awful.
If it weren’t for the book goal I’m trying to hit, I would not have finished it. The last hundred pages were a struggle.
Before that, the book was fine. Not fireworks, just fine. It starts to get corny and a little off track character-wise about 45% of the way through. I’ve heard that the other books are better but I’m not sure I will be able to read them after this one.
I still plan on watching the show. Hopefully Shonda Rhimes has sense enough to cut that part out.
I watched the Netflix series and loved it and wanted to read the book. I came thinking I would love it, as I am already a fan of these novels... boy was I mistaken. The producers did a MARVELOUS job at taking a horrible book and making a wonderful series. I advise you not to waste your time, and your money buying this book. Enjoy the series and avoid this book!!!
This book is so bad that I found myself rolling my eyes. It's just so horribly written. About 44% through I wanted to quit reading. I soldiered through but, finally gave up at 87%.. I somehow made it that far through... but I just had to stop. :-(
She sees he's incompacitated, determines he's helpless to stop her, and decides that is the only time she can get that she wants. Regardless of his consent. Which he explicitly denied on multiple occasions.
During and after the rape, she mitigates the violation with nauseatingly familiar justifications: she knows he wanted it, she couldn't help herself, it was his fault really for trying to deny her in the first place - he didn't have a right to say no, she was confused and couldn't remember exactly who had done what (lady, you sat beside him and methodically planned it out then raped him)!
Worst of all, she denies the rape until the bitter end and uses gas lighting techniques to convince them both it never happened.
It's sick. Daphne is the worst excuse for a heronine I've read in a long while.