I don’t often re-read books. There are just so many books I want to read, and life is so short, that I don’t often want to spend the days with a book that it would take to read it more than once. I’ve tried to get over that feeling and learn to enjoy the re-read.
Some books are so rich that I even find that I enjoy them more if I read them more than once. Such is the case with Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. I first read this book 15 years ago, and I was in my mid-20s. Now, at the age of 42, I realize I can appreciate the protective bothers, the strong family relationships, and concerns of the protagonists so much better than I could at 25. It even feels like a different book from when it did the first time I read it.
So, this is the first of Julia Quinn’s famous Bridgerton series, a series most recently brought to prominence by the Netflix show based upon the book The Duke and I. The Bridgertons are a family with eight children, all named alphabetically from A to H. The Duke and I is the book where the fourth Bridgerton child, Daphne, meets and marries the Duke of Hastings.
It’s Daphne’s second season in London. She’s in the marriage market, but has failed to get any acceptable offers. She thinks that it’s because the men think she’s just one of the guys. However, it could also be because of her three strong and overprotective older brothers.
The Duke of Hastings is not in the marriage market. He’s been away from London for six seasons, and when he comes back, he’s the toast of the town. Upon meeting Daphne, he proposes a fake attachment between the two of them. It will keep marriage minded mamas away from him, and generate some interest for Daphne among the unmarried men of the ton.
This is all well and good until someone starts catching feelings . . .
I noticed . . .
I noticed that this book is one of my favorite romance tropes–fake dating to real dating! I even cut away from drafting this post to make a list of all the fake dating to real dating books I read in 2020 so that I can share them in another post soon.
I noticed the constant joking and back-and-forth between the siblings. I only had one sibling, but I had four children, and as they grow, I find that they have the most remarkable back-and-forth conversations. These conversations don’t usually include me, but I just enjoy in in their presence when they’re connecting with each other.
I wondered . . .
I wondered why I hadn’t re-read this book again before now. It was wonderful. I wondered if I could memorize some of the conversations that I read in the book so I could recall them and laugh.
I also wondered what would have happened if a major plot point (surrounding pregnancy) had gone a different way. It would have been interesting to see how it would have played out. I think Quinn took the better path, but still, seeing the other path would have been interesting.
It reminded me of . . .
This one reminded me of another romance novel that I recently read–Written in the Stars. This novel has another commitment-phobic fake-dating someone to get out of having to find someone else to really date. And, just like in this book, feelings are caught.
Three excellent quotes . . .
I could record the snappy dialogue from this book all day. However, in the end, there were three quotes that I felt really stood out as I was reading. First, Anthony and Simon are best friends, but Anthony is angry at Simon from the time Simon sets eyes on his sister. Perhaps this is why:
There were rules among friends, commandments, really, and the most important one was Thou Shalt Not Lust After Thy Friend’s Sister.
Dapne offends a potential suitor, and she dismisses it. This is perhaps why she shouldn’t:
Any man, you’ll soon learn, has an insurmountable need to blame someone else when he is made to look a fool.
Also, even though Simon has strong feelings, he also carries a serious grudge against his father. He struggles to accept his feelings, in large measure because he does not want let go of his grudge. I thought this quote really sums Simon up nicely:
To say that men can be bullheaded would be insulting to the bull.
This was a wonderful read, and it was great to re-read it as I was watching the Bridgerton television show. I plan to re-read the rest of the series in 2021,