Tag: The Bridgerton Series

Review: The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

Posted March 27, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Rowena’s review of The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn.

Hero: All the Bridgerton men and the brothers in law.
Heroine: All the Bridgerton ladies and the sisters in law.

For the first time in print, New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn presents a collection of “second epilogues” to her Bridgerton series, previously published as e-originals, plus a new bonus Bridgerton novella: Violet in Bloom,” a short story in which we finally meet Edmund Bridgerton.

I’ve always wanted to read the second epilogues that Julia Quinn wrote for each of the Bridgerton books but I never got around to it.  So when Avon released them again in this book, I jumped at the chance to review it.  I’ve always been a huge fan of the Bridgertons and since it’s been quite a long time since I’ve read any of the books (apart from The Duke & I), opening this book was like reuniting with old friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

And I really enjoyed seeing what everyone was up to.  It was a treat to meet the new additions to the Bridgerton families and I like that Julia Quinn filled this book with all the charm that we’ve all come to love from the Bridgertons throughout the other books.  I think my favorite part of this book was Violet’s story.  It was so nice and a little heartbreaking to meet the man that Violet Bridgerton fell in love with.  It was good to see her in her prime and to get her story because it made me appreciate her all the more now that she’s older and so very much wiser.

It also made me happy that Julia Quinn ended the Bridgerton series the way that she did.  That she ended Violet’s story the way that she did.  I was glad to see that she felt fulfilled with her life, with her kids and the family she raised from the happiness she had with their father.  It was all happiness and sunshine and well, I ate all of it up.  I adored it.

Of all of the second epilogues, I think my favorite one was Hyacinth’s.  Meeting her daughter was great but seeing Hyacinth finally find those damn jewels had me cracking up. Ooh, another thing that I really liked was that Sophie’s step-sister (the good one) got a happy ending too.  I really liked that she was able to fall in love with someone who was equally in love with her after the kind of life that she lived in the shadow of the evil sister.

Overall, this was a fun collection of short stories that had me grinning all over the place.  It was nice to see everyone again and I’m glad that I read it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Book Club: The Duke’s Sperm #TDaI

Posted March 11, 2013 by Holly in Features | 11 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

One of the most prominent features in historical romance novels is the need for the titled to procreate. Duty dictates that they secure their line by having at least one son, though it’s preferable to have two (an heir and a spare).

In The Duke and I, the issue of procreation is even more prominent, though for a different reason. In this case, Simon, the duke, doesn’t wish to ever have children. Because of the coldness with which his father treated him, he sees this as the ultimate payback to his dead father. By ensuring the line dies with him, he feels he’ll be winning at last.

Daphne wants a husband and children more than anything. When they’re compromised, Simon chooses to engage in a duel with Daphne’s brother rather than marry her, because he knows she wants children and he refuses to sire them. Daphne agrees to marry him anyway, not realizing it isn’t that he’s not capable of having children, just that he’s choosing not to.

When she realizes he’s been spilling his seed outside her to ensure they have no children, she’s understandably upset. Because of her lack of knowledge about the marriage bed, she feels not only betrayed by him for his part in making her believe he was incapable of siring children, but she also feels ridiculously stupid.

“You lied to me.”
“I never—”
“You lied to me,” she screamed. “You lied to me, and I will never forgive you for that!”
“Daphne—”
“You took advantage of my stupidity.” She let out a disbelieving breath, the kind that came from the back of one’s throat, right before it closed up in shock. “You must have been so delighted when you realized how little I knew about marital relations.”
“It’s called making love, Daphne,” he said.
“Not between us, it’s not.”

[…]

“But don’t try to make this about me,” she continued hotly. “I’m not the one who lied. You said you can’t have children,
but the truth is you just won’t have them.”
He said nothing, but he knew the answer was in his eyes.

Until that moment, Daphne didn’t realize Simon’s resentment toward his father. Nor did she understand that depth of his anger – his hurt- because of the actions of a man who is long dead.

“He said he couldn’t even b-bear to look at me. He’d spent years praying for an heir. Not a son,” he said, his voice rising dangerously, “an heir. And f-for what? Hastings would go to a half-wit. His precious dukedom would b-be ruled by an idiot!”
“But he was wrong,” Daphne whispered.
“I don’t care if he was wrong!” Simon roared. “All he cared about was the title. He never gave a single thought to me, about how I must feel, trapped with a m-mouth that didn’t w-work!”
Daphne stumbled back a step, unsteady in the presence of such anger. This was the fury of decades-old resentment.
Simon very suddenly stepped forward and pressed his face very close to hers. “But do you know what?” he asked in an awful voice. “I shall have the last laugh. He thought that there could be nothing worse than Hastings going to a half-wit—”
“Simon, you’re not—”
“Are you even listening to me?” he thundered.
Daphne, frightened now, scurried back, her hand reaching for the doorknob in case she needed to escape.
“Of course I know I’m not an idiot,” he spat out, “and in the end, I think h-he knew it, too. And I’m sure that brought him g-great comfort. Hastings was safe. N-never mind that I was not suffering as I once had. Hastings— that’s what mattered.”
Daphne felt sick. She knew what was coming next.
Simon suddenly smiled. It was a cruel, hard expression, one she’d never seen on his face before. “But Hastings dies with me,” he said. “All those cousins he was so worried about inheriting …” He shrugged and let out a brittle laugh. “They all had girls. Isn’t that something?”
Simon shrugged. “Maybe that was why my f-father suddenly decided I wasn’t such an idiot. He knew I was his only hope.”

The next day, Daphne tries to reason with Simon again.

“You told me you couldn’t have children,” she interrupted, her eyes flashing with anger. “There’s a very big difference.”
“Not,” Simon said coldly, “to me. I can’t have children. My soul won’t allow it.”
“I see.” Something shriveled inside Daphne at that moment, and she was very much afraid it was her heart. She didn’t know how she was meant to argue with such a statement. Simon’s hatred of his father was clearly far stronger than any love he might learn to feel for her.
“Very well,” she said in a clipped voice. “This is obviously not a subject upon which you are open to discussion.”
He gave her one curt nod.
She gave him one in return. “Good day, then.”
And she left.

Simon spends the day alternately feeling guilty for hurting Daphne and resentful of her for making him feel something he never wanted to feel. Until he finally decides he has nothing to feel guilty for. He didn’t truly deceive her; he told her he couldn’t have children before they wed. He gave her the option of finding someone else, and she chose him. Feeling much  better, he seeks her out. Only he doesn’t find her in their bedroom. He finds her ensconced in a room down the hall.

Her eyes narrowed to slits. “You have chosen to withhold something from me. Well, I have chosen to withhold something from you. Me.”
He was speechless. Utterly speechless.
She, however, was not. She marched to the door and motioned rather rudely for him to go through it.
“Get out of my room.”

Simon goes out and gets drunk. While in his cups, he decides he wants Daphne back and charges back home to her. He stumbles into her room and they have a discussion – of sorts – where Daphne realizes her husband is far more damaged by his father than she’d ever thought. She tries to explain that he has won, just by growing into the man he is, but he’s beyond reason.

Daphne swallowed a heavy sob of frustration. She didn’t see how he could possibly lead a happy life if all of his choices were based on thwarting the wishes of a dead man.
But she didn’t want to get into all of that just then. She was tired and he was drunk and this just wasn’t the right time.
“Let’s get you to bed,” she finally said.
He stared at her for a long moment, his eyes filling with an ages-old need for comfort. “Don’t leave me,”
he whispered.
“Simon,” she choked out.
“Please don’t. He left. Everyone left. Then I left.” He squeezed her hand. “You stay.”
She nodded shakily and rose to her feet. “You can sleep it off in my bed,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll feel better in the morning.”
“But you’ll stay with me?”
It was a mistake. She knew it was a mistake, but still she said, “I’ll stay with you.”
“Good.” He wobbled himself upright. “Because I couldn’t—I really—” He sighed and turned anguished eyes to her.
“I need you.”

They went to sleep. An hour later Daphne wakes up to find an aroused Simon beside her.

He shifted restlessly, and Daphne felt the strangest, most intoxicating surge of power. He was in her control, she realized. He was asleep, and probably still more than a little bit drunk, and she could do whatever she wanted with him.
She could have whatever she wanted.

[…]

And God help her, but she wanted him, too. She felt so powerful looming over him. She was in control, and that was the most stunning aphrodisiac she could imagine. She felt a fluttering in her stomach, then a strange sort of quickening, and she knew that she needed him.
She wanted him inside her, filling her, giving her everything a man was meant to give to a woman.

[…]

She was close, but not as close as he was.
“Oh, Christ!” he suddenly burst out, his voice harsh and primitive with need. “I’m going to—I can’t—”
His eyes pinned upon her with a strange, pleading sort of look, and he made a feeble attempt to pull away.
Daphne bore down on him with all her might.
He exploded within her, the force of his climax lifting his hips off the bed, pushing her up along with him.
She planted her hands underneath him, using all of her strength to hold him against her. She would not lose him this time. She would not lose this chance.
Simon’s eyes flew open as he came, as he realized too late what he had done. But his body was too far gone; there was no stopping the power of his climax. If he’d been on top, he might have found the strength to pull away, but lying there under
her, watching her tease her own body into a mass of desire, he was helpless against the raging force of his own need.
As his teeth clenched and his body bucked, he felt her small hands slip underneath him, pressing him more tightly against the cradle of her womb. He saw the expression of pure ecstasy on her face, and then he suddenly realized—she had done this on purpose. She had planned this.
Daphne had aroused him in his sleep, taken advantage of him while he was still slightly intoxicated, and held him to her while he poured his seed into her.

Later Daphne would tell herself she didn’t truly know what she was doing. Should could hardly be responsible for her actions in that moment, as she was just as aroused as he. Yet they both know the truth.

When Simon confronts her, he is reduced to the young, stuttering lad his father had shunned. He may have been able to forgive her for stealing his seed, but he can’t forgive her pushing him to lose control of his speech.

The debate, naturally, is whether Simon or Daphne were in the wrong. Was Daphne justified in stealing Simon’s sperm? He had, after all, deceived her prior to their marriage. Or, if not deceived certainly took advantage of her ignorance of the marriage bed. By nursing his anger and refusing to sire children, he was, in fact, letting his father win. As long as he refused to acknowledged that, he’d never be out from under his father’s thumb, not matter how long dead the older man was.

Yet Simon had been, if not quite honest, at least forthcoming with Daphne. He told her prior to his marriage that he couldn’t have children.Should it matter hat it wasn’t a physical disability but an emotional one? Was she right to seduce him while he was intoxicated, to take what she knew he didn’t want her to have? Wasn’t it a form of rape for her to steal something so intimate from him?

What do you think? Who bears the brunt of the blame? Simon for taking advantage of Daphne’s ignorance? Or Daphne for taking advantage of Simon while he was intoxicated? 

Holly: For my part, I fully blame Daphne. I don’t excuse Simon’s behavior. He definitely needed to let go of his anger and resentment. As Daphne said, he was letting his father control him from the grave.

But the way to get him to realize that was not by raping him and stealing his sperm. If she’d shown some remorse, perhaps I could have forgiven her. As it stands, I felt she was selfish and childish. She violated Simon in the most basic of ways, and never once felt remorse. She continues to hold onto her righteous indignation until he apologizes to her. And even then she isn’t sorry for what she did.

Not only that, but she later tries to tell herself she didn’t really mean to steal his sperm. Which we all know, because she wasn’t intoxicated, is not the case. She fully meant to get his seed when she started. I’ve never been able to forgive her for that.

We’ll be discussing TDaI all month long. You’re welcome to join in the discussion at any time.

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Book Club: March Discussion- #TDaI – Daphne

Posted March 4, 2013 by Holly in Features | 6 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

The Duke and I is the start of the much beloved Bridgerton series.

Daphne Bridgerton has been out in society for two years. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had many offers of marriage. It seems the men of the ton look at her as a little sister or a girl-next-door type. The ones who did offer for her were not the type she’d ever want to marry. They were either too old or too dumb.

We often see this trope used in romance novels. The poor miss with a matchmaking mama who hasn’t had an acceptable offer of marriage. Though in this case the matchmaking mama in question has reason to worry – she has another girl getting ready to come out, and 7 siblings at home that need to be married off.

Though the theme can be tiresome, Quinn brings new life to it by bringing Simon and Daphne together in a scheme to put off the matchmaking mamas on both sides. Daphne wants a husband and children, but she doesn’t want to settle for just anyone. Getting the pressure off her by pretending to be courted by a Duke is just what she needs. Not only does it spark renewed interest in her as a catch, but it also buys her time to find a man she really wants.

How do you think Daphne differs from other young misses in regency romances? Did you like her? Do you think she grew over the course of the novel?

We’ll be discussing TDaI all month long. You’re welcome to join in the discussion at any time.

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

 


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Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.

Posted January 10, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins


Rowena’s review of The Viscount who Loved Me (Bridgerton’s Series, Book 2) by Julia Quinn.

Hero: Anthony Bridgerton
Heroine: Kate Sheffield

Wise, lovely, and kind, Kate Sheffield is determined that her beautiful half-sister, Edwina, marry a reputable man. Unfortunately for Kate, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton–London’s most eligible bachelor and a notorious rake to boot–sets his sights on Edwina, and what the viscount wants, the viscount gets.

Hardly a problem for the impossibly handsome viscount, that is until the determined Kate, whose deep, dark eyes and lush mouth send his senses racing, presents a challenge that Anthony cannot refuse. Worse yet, Kate’s response to his playful advances only confirms the ardent attraction that both seem desperate to deny. Anthony is faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, the perfectly amiable Edwina, while on the other, the most stubborn, single-minded–yet confoundedly desirable–female ever to grace a London ballroom. Anthony’s quandary comes to a fast and fateful conclusion when he and Kate are caught in an innocent but compromising position.

It’s no surprise that Julia Quinn’s setting, characterization, and plot are flawless. Add to this masterful mix deeper emotional issues offset by the trademark Quinn wit, and you truly do have romance at it’s best. Nobody does Regency quite like the mighty Quinn.

Anthony Bridgerton is the eldest boy in the Bridgerton clan and he’s the man of the house. He’s been the man of the house since his father died of a bee sting and he took their father’s death the hardest out of all of the kids because he was the closest to his father. Edmund Bridgerton, father to the Bridgerton tribe was fairly young when he died, just 39 years old and from a bee sting of all things. Anthony has this strange thought that he’s going to die young just like his father so he’s decided that he wants to get married before his untimely demise and of course, he doesn’t want to marry someone that he’ll love because it’d be unfair for his young wife to lose the man she loves when he dies.

Yeah, I know but as silly as the set up for this book is, I did enjoy it. It’s not one of my favorites of the Bridgerton series but it is still a good story and that has a big part to do with the way that Julia Quinn tells her stories. With lots of delightful dialogue and just a whole lot of funny scenes to make stories pop right off the pages.

My favorite part of these stories is seeing the family all together. For a bunch of historical characters, they sure are delightful and not in the least stuffy like I imagine lots of historical families to be.

The scenes with Anthony and Kate made for some good reading as well though there were plenty of times that I wanted to choke Kate the hell out. Yes, I got it, she wasn’t the beauty in the family and the more she harped on this, the more I wanted to scream at her but what made her human to me was her fear of thunderstorms. I thought the scene when Anthony finds her alone and frightened and then stays with her through the thunderstorms was one of my favorite scenes in the entire book.

Overall, this book was a whole lot of fun. The characters are all three dimensional and I fell in love with each of them and it set up some great stuff for the future books in this series and I’m thinking that maybe I’ll have to write up some more reviews for this series because this series is one of those series that we don’t want to forget about with all of the new stuff coming out these days. The Bridgertons are a wonderful family and I fell in love with each of them in their books and Anthony was no different.

Anthony was a stand up hero, one that was easy to fall in love with and while I did love him, it’s his brothers that I absolutely adored. I love the relationship that they have with each other, it’s so much fun and so..real. If you haven’t read this series then you should seriously start because this series is the bomb!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Reading Order:

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn.

Posted June 23, 2009 by Rowena in Reviews | 14 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins


Rowena’s review of The Duke & I (Bridgerton series, Book 1) by Julia Quinn.

Hero: Simon Bassett
Heroine: Daphne Bridgerton
Grade: 5 out of 5

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 is 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!

From the moment I opened this book to the moment that I closed this book, I loved it. No matter how many times I open this book and read it, I love it. This is the kind of historical love story that never fails to get my heart strings engaged and keep me entertained. Julia Quinn did a magnificent job, in my opinion of telling Simon and Daphne’s story. The way that she handled telling Simon’s story with the events that led up to his hasty marriage to Daphne Bridgerton and then to see him battle his demons throughout the book always gets me.

Simon Bassett was some kind of hero, I tell ya. I mean, he was this proud, completely stubborn man who ruined his best friend’s sister and then fell in love with her and didn’t exactly know what to do about all of that considering he was adamant about not producing an heir for his dukedom and she so desperately wanted to have kids. I understood why Simon felt the way that he did and I even sympathized with him but because I’m a softy, I wanted to see him grow to want kids with Daphne. Simon was a troubled hero who captured my heart with the depth to his character and just the man that he grew up to be. I enjoyed watching him realize his worth and I was so happy that Daphne was able to show him that he was worth so much more than he thought.

Daphne Bridgerton was a great heroine. I loved the maternal way she had with her younger siblings, it had me laughing like a loon. When the entire family went out on the boat and Simon tagged along, the way that her hand snapped out and caught Gregory before he could do whatever devil thing he was wanting to do was too funny. I loved the way that she was the kind of girl that most every guy only wanted to be friends with and I loved how nobody paid her any attention and yet she was still so optimistic and happy. She was a genuinely happy person and her personality made me want her to be my best friend. I loved the way that she interacted with her family and I loved seeing her fight with her brothers. It was just too funny. The one thing that I did not like about Daphne is the way she handled Simon’s not wanting to have kids thing. That got on my nerves but I thought that JQ did a great job of making things right in the end.

What I liked most about Simon and Daphne was how different they were from each other and yet how perfect they were for each other. Simon was cold and aloof and Daphne was vibrant and witty and yet they meshed so well together. Simon grew up alone, Daphne grew up with a big brood of brothers and sisters that were always in your business and never quiet. Daphne was everything Simon didn’t want in a future and yet she was the future that he got and when he finally realized that his future was no future without her, I did my little happy dance because that is exactly why I love reading romance novels. The couple’s journey to true love is always ripe with conflict, drama and steamy romance and seriously, the sparks between Simon and Daphne in the garden was steamy, too cute and total page turners.

My favorite thing about this story outside of Simon and Daphne was the Bridgerton family. They were such a rambunctious bunch that you couldn’t help but love them. I come from a large family as well so I can totally relate to the kind of dinners this family had and reading about this family is so much fun. Each of them have their own personalities and this book got me totally revved up to read the other books in this series. It’s a great start off for a fantastic series and if you haven’t read the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn yet, you should definitely fix that because seriously, these books rock!

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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