Book Review: The Duke and I (Bridgerton 1) by Julia Quinn

 “I knew nothing but love and devotion when I was growing up. Trust me, it makes everything easier.”

― Julia Quinn, The Duke and I

Julia Quinn's historical romance The Duke and I was initially made available by Avon in 2000. Daphne, the fourth and oldest child of the family, is the main character in the first book in Quinn's series of Regency romances about the Bridgerton siblings. The Netflix original series Bridgerton, which debuted on December 25, 2020, was based on the novel. Daphne Bridgerton was represented by Phoebe Dynevor, Simon Bassett by Regé-Jean Page, and Anthony Bridgerton by Jonathan Bailey.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule.

My reaction to this novel...

I discovered this novel after seeing Bridgerton on Netflix. I decided to watch because I was truly curious to find out why this series become so successful. Because I was so engrossed in the plot, I did some research and discovered that Julia Quinn's novel was the basis. I read it as soon as I got the book.

The Netflix series' story significantly diverged from the book's. I found myself losing interest in the story because of the protracted, boring talks. Despite having a keen interest in what occurs following the first book, I also observed that, in contrast to the Netflix version, the prince and the queen were not present in the narrative of the book.

At first, I was drawn to the book and spent the most of my time reading it. Despite the engaging and humorous exchanges and situations, the plot's pacing appears glacial in comparison to the characters' emotional growth. The tension and brutality of several parts of the novel just linger. Once you learn all of Simon's secrets, you'll think his demeanor is so ludicrous and over the top theatrical that it becomes tedious. It hardly makes sense at all. I don't mind characters acting oddly as a consequence of tragic circumstances, but Simon's entire act is absurd and so overdone that it's nearly unpleasant. In my opinion, this falls well short of some of the very best and well-written romantic books.

After finishing the novel, I preferred the Netflix series since it had a number of scenes I really enjoyed watching. In contrast to the novel, the director eliminated some scenes and people that gave the story a twist and made it seem magical. I find a little bit of boredom in this book. I was almost ready to skip a few pages since I was so bored. Despite my disinterest, I intend to read the sequel in the hopes that it will be different and better than the first.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐(2/5)

“She hadn’t expected the world to be handed to her upon a golden platter, but she’d always assumed that if she worked hard enough for something, treated everyone the way she would like to be treated, then she would be rewarded.”

I really feel that the proverb "Do unto others as you would have done unto you" applies. As with this one, if you do good and work hard to attain your goals, it will be delivered to you one hundred times better one day. Furthermore, I consider it to be really fulfilling to succeed in anything after working hard.


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