Title: The Duke and I
Author: Julia Quinn
May Contain Spoilers
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 it 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 love the Bridgerton series, but somehow I missed out on this volume, which introduces the family to readers. I have no idea how I missed this book, and I think I jumped onboard with The Viscount Who Loved Me, which is Anthony’s book. Since I don’t remember much about any of them, now is a wonderful time to reacquaint myself with the large family and their romantic adventures. I picked this up when it was on sale for the Kindle for $1.99, so if nothing else, the Kindle sales are helping me fill in my book collection.
The Duke and I is Daphne’s story. Having grown up in a boisterous household, it takes a lot to rattle Miss Bridgerton. Once look at the rakish Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, gives her equilibrium a shake, though. Handsome and possessing a vast fortune, he has no interest in marriage, so when Daphne voices similar sentiments, the two of them decide to pretend to be engaged to pacify Daphne’s mother and to keep the tittering debutantes at bay. Despite Simon’s warnings, Daphne finds herself quickly falling for her handsome co-conspirator. Simon will never fall in love and he will never marry, so she is headed down a one-way street to heartbreak.
Ah, I loved Simon. Here is a guy who was rejected by his father, thoroughly and humiliatingly, all because he stuttered. I hated his father. What a jerk! His only concern in life is passing on his dukedom to a worthy heir, and when poor Simon shows a reluctance to speak, and then, the horrors, stammers, the duke promptly labels him an idiot. This is a guy who couldn’t even be concerned when his wife died giving birth to his heir. Good god! I hated this guy and how much of a hold he had over Simon, even from the grave. Simon’s self-esteem took a drubbing every time he had to interact with his father, and the humiliation almost destroyed him and any chance he had to find happiness. It’s a good thing Daphne is just as stubborn and unyielding as Simon, because she wasn’t about to let him ruin their happily ever after.
While I liked Daphne quite a bit, and found her a worthy partner for Simon, I had a problem accepting her incredible naiveté. She had all of those older brothers, so surely she must have had some idea as to relations between men and women, and where babies came from. That one little plot point kept knocking me out of the story, and I am not sure why it bugged me so much, but it did. Maybe because I considered Daphne too intelligent and clever to be so in the dark about this?
While I wasn’t completely captivated by The Duke and I, I did enjoy my time spent with the Bridgertons. I am looking forward to getting to know the family better, and have to do an inventory to see which books in the series I missed out on. I am sure there are quite a few!
Review copy purchased from Amazon