Bridgerton #1: The Duke & I by Julia Quinn
Have you watched Bridgerton on Netflix? Yes, the one with the dreamy Duke of Hastings? That’s the one!
I finally got the chance to read the book. Well, spoilers, it is a bit different from the movie.
While the adaptation did the book some justice, I still prefer the book version.
I recently did a marathon of the first 4 books in the series and well….
The Duke and I is the first book in the Bridgerton Series. It is the love story between Daphne Bridgerton and The Duke of Hastings. The book is nothing but witty, entertaining, and absolute fun.
Actually, all 4 books are just that. There’s a Bridgerton wit that just leaves you grinning.
Back to book 1; it is even better with the cast of the series and their fancy costumes in mind.
That’s not to say it did not leave me with some concerns.
Unlike the movie where Simon and Daphne orchestrate the ruse, Antony was in on it too in the book version. After nearly two seasons in society, Daphne is yet to get a suitor. Her overprotective brothers are not doing her any good. Neither is her reputation, where most men think of her as a friend and not a suitor.
But what started as a ruse ended up with a love story. Despite their better judgments, both Daphne and Simon developed feelings. Anthony catches them making out and despite Simon insisting he can’t marry Daphne, she tries to save him from the Duel by proposing marriage. They get married, have the usual marital problems (I am trying not to spoil the book or the movie, and I think I will anyway), but finally manage to work it out.
And it is a happy ending! I presume, for Daphne and Simon. Not so much for you if you are hoping to discover the true identity of Lady Whistledown.
What do I think? I really enjoyed the book, up until a certain point. Daphne’s and Simon’s chemistry is really up there. But Daphne becomes controlling and manipulative, especially after the marriage. For instance, she went into the marriage knowing Simon couldn’t have children (couldn’t have or didn’t want). But when she learns he could sire but really didn’t want kids, she manipulated him (in what reads like a rape scene, really).
I was angry Simon did not explain his decision not to have children and neither did he offer a proper apology for ‘conveniently’ not offering an explanation. But Daphne’s manipulation into trying to get pregnant was really pathetic. It even gets worse when they are not on speaking terms and Daphne lets her family think that Simon was all in the wrong.
I keep trying to think what the writer had in mind when writing these scenes. Well, some of the misogyny and classism depicted in the book is era-appropriate but there are scenes that could have gone a different way.
That said, if you are looking for a fast-paced romance book set in the Regency era, maybe give The Duke & I a chance.
The manipulative chapters might leave a tacky feeling though!
My ★ Rating 3
Goodreads ★ Rating 3.86 (as of July 2021)