I have been meaning to read Julia Quinn for awhile, and I mean a very long time. Every time I go to the book store I stare at the Julia Quinn section and wonder which one I'm supposed to read first. And then I picked up this one, which turns out to be the first in the Bridgerton series.
Daphney Bridgerton has been on the marriage market for longer than she'd like, and her well meaning mother is starting to get anxious and pushy. Meanwhile, Simon, newly arrived in London after a long absence, has sworn to never get married, and wants to avoid the ambitious mamas and their daughters at all costs. The two end up meeting by chance, and strike a bargain to pretend to be besotted with one another, Daphney so that she'll appear more desirable, and Simon so that he'll be left alone. But how will they handle in when the feelings start to become real?
Turns out, I love the way Julia Quinn writes. She's clever, light, and smooth--an excellent story teller. Her characters are fun, interesting, a distinct from one another, despite the fact that they are many. She managed to make me connect with the characters, particularly Simon, in a very short amount of time.
Simon's main hang up is that he stuttered when he was young, stuttered a lot. His father, something of an asshat, declared him an idiot because of it. He's never managed to get past that, and that's why he doesn't want to get married and start a family. It's a really good conflict, yes? Watching him fall in love with Daphne despite himself is highly rewarding. I also appreciated the fact that Daphney is no shrinking violet when it comes to going after what she wants. They make a charming pair, which of course is the formula for a good romance.
I struggled to rate this book because I enjoyed it so very, very much. Except for one thing. And I sort of thought I could ignore it, but it's a big thing. So I can't. I won't would rather not spoil it either, so let me just say this: Daphney does something to take advantage of a situation with Simon that was very, very unfair way. If you read it, you'll know it when you see it. And, you know, people make mistakes and bad choices, so I was willing to forgive it. But I felt that she should owe him a serious, serious apology. Well, that never really happens. The focus is on all what he did wrong and how he's going to change. I was forced, for this reason, to knock a full star off what could very well have been a five star book.
Don't let that one negative thing stop you, though. This is a very good historical romance, the perfect start to a series, and well worth your time. 4 stars.