THE DUKE AND I
Bridgertons Series No: 1
By Julia Quinn
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Published by: Recorded Books, Romantic Sounds Audio
Released: Oct 14, 2016
Narrator/s: Rosalyn Landor
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.
CD – unabridged
Audio (10 CDs)
I voluntarily reviewed a publisher-provided, review-copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
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!
Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813
By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy sutiors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.
But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love…
The first issue I had with this audio book was technical but not insurmountable: For this particular publisher, if you want to listen on a cd/dvd player or your computer the discs are a fine option. If you want to listen on an i-pod or other mp3 player the publisher tells me the download copy is a better choice. If you load the discs into i-tunes you will need to label the files yourself to know they are in order.
Otherwise, while the heat and chemistry is fantastic, and the climax is indeed unique, this book left me ambivalent.
This is a “I was rejected as a child, so I will get back at my parent(s) by never loving or marrying” themed book. Does it ever work? While indeed, Simon’s father was a nasty man. I just don’t buy that any kid who worked hard and maturely overcame his particular difficulties would decide to live a miserable, cold life to spite the dead.
I did like how Daphne is bright, and sassy, but utterly ignorant of the marriage bed. This was hard to believe; the Bridgerton children were eight in number, but it gives the author the chance to establish the character’s innocent nature despite her directness. It is hard to imagine – eight children but the girl doesn;t know about sex?
I did like Daphne but, Oh, why do heroines in romance novels believe they will change a man’s ways with their love? I did enjoy the innocence in her discovery of sex. While in novels it may, in real life it leads to heartbreak. Daphne is smart about feelings though and very compassionate.
Ultimately, Simon and Daphne’s relationship is placed in correct cultural context. Daphne is not likely to run off to start a career or not comply with the “obey” part of her vows.
There is one loose end I was waiting to see tied up and it did not happen. That was frustrating! But also, another part of the same plot point was not what I had hoped for.
But, but, but, the wounded child from a loveless family, a smart man, determining that being the bad son is the best revenge doesn’t suit the hard-working, intelligent, mathematician’s character. Sure, you remove the man from your life, but to live on after he is dead in such a way as to spite him is not in his character.
He had seen many other relationships, had friends with good fathers and mothers (Daphne’s for example) — why would he fail to see that living well would be better revenge than living to spite a dead man? And, what is he doing when his revenge is aimed at the dead?
Failing to believe the main premise left me cold. It made it hard to believe what followed.
But there are a lot of twists and surprises in store.
Rosalyn Landor does a lovely job with the recording. I have grown to enjoy her voice and cadence. She does a great job with male voices. One can almost hear the starch in the shirts and smell the leather of the Hessians.
My conclusion is that THE DUKE AND I is original and has some unique plot points and characters but in not believing the main premise I failed to really invest my belief in the rest of the story.