Series: Bridgertons Series No: 3
CD/eAudio – unabridged audio (12.37 hours)
Released: Feb 15, 2017
ISBN: #9781501935534
Narrator/s: Rosalyn Landor
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc., Imprint: Romantic Sounds Audio
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?


My Take Oblong Shaped

Unique Point in this romance novel:  Benedict Bridgerton is just a Mister and not a lord.

Julia Quinn’s novels always offer high-quality, well-researched and written romance and plenty of pathos and ethos.
This story looks at the life of an illegitimate daughter, who while not the apple of her “natural” father’s eye is still raised in his home by his staff with occasional visits from him. Until, of course, he marries a widow. 

When he brings home a witch who would make most Cinderella-Variant-Stepmothers look like mother of the year, life changes for Sophie. And later when she becomes a virtual slave in her Stepmother’s house life becomes downright horrible.

Of course, the Bridgertons are that perfect family, with the widowed mother and the many, alphabetically-named children.  Julia’s way of writing about the loss of the dowager’s husband makes me a little misty with each new novel.  You can really feel how tragic the loss of this wonderful father affected the children. But, they don’t allow the loss to destroy their lives, and that is only due to the strong family bonds they all share.  Those family bonds survive a lot of things, but Benedict is the first of them to fall in love with someone who then disappears.

It is, of course, a retelling of CINDERELLA. So, where are the mice turning into horses and the pumpkins becoming carriages?  They are left by the wayside, which is good: a one-to-one match-up with fairy tales often leaves me bored. Perhaps the biggest contrivance in the story is Sophie’s attendance at the masquerade mentioned in the book description.   Because it is really quite unprecedented and I guess I didn’t give a lot of thought to how Benedict and Sophie would meet. 

But, there they were.  And, far from losing her slipper, it seems as if the ball causes her nothing but major trouble. 

There is one thing that made me really dislike Benedict for about a third of the book. That was weird; and not part of the usual M.O. for this author.  So, of course it is a life lesson and he sees the error of his ways.

The issue of illegitimacy is the main theme in this story. And it looks at the “bastard” as a prospect for marriage; this  is not how we usually look at illegitimacy in this genre. It points out the unfairness of the treatment of children born out of wedlock, and also the double standard for men and women at the time.  I can only recall one other book where the illegitimate heroine is considered at all for marriage.  And in that book she was taking the place of the other girl for whom she was a double. In this case it is hard to imagine how JQ will make it all come around.

But such is her skill with a tricky situation. She is able to give us the requisite HEA and manages to use the Cinderella archetype to draw a lovely tale that adds dimension to the Bridgertons.

Rosalind Landor does a great job with this one:  Good British accents and character representation.

All in all a great read/listen from an author who has rarely failed to provide me with many pleasurable hours in the pages of her books.

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