Title: The Duke and I
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bridgertons #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Length: 12 hours (384 pages)
Publisher: Avon Books; Recorded Books
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Recommended for fans of: Bridgerton on Netflix, Regency romance
Content Warnings: sexual assault/rape, child abuse, emotional abuse
The Duke and I is a romance set in the Regency era.
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…
After two seasons of loving the Netflix series, I finally decided to give the books a chance. I don’t know why I was initially so against reading the series except that I’ve never been big into reading historical romance so it just didn’t seem like my thing.
I was pleasantly surprised by how delightful I found the writing! If I had to describe the writing in one word, it would be “amusing.” I loved the way the social conventions and Lady Whistledown’s commentary were portrayed. It is very different from the show in that the book is less dramatic and focuses almost solely on Daphne and Simon’s romance.
I think this book had a really nice balance between romantic fluff and more serious topics, like Simon’s abusive relationship with his father.
However, I can’t write this review without mentioning the scene where Daphne manipulates Simon into not fully consensual sex. It puts a damper on the whole book, and I think the author should’ve found a better way to address the conflict of Simon not wanting to have a child.