Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Warning this review contains spoilers 

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister, the lovely---and almost-on-the-shelf---Daphney Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth--it's all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it's hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it's his devilish smile, certainly it's the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her...but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke...for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love...

Simon Basset was a baby that was SO wanted by his father. His father longed desperately for an heir so when he finally got one after 15 years of marriage he was thrilled. When Simon was 2 his father returned to his country home where Simon lived in order to start his training only Simon didn't yet speak. When Simon was 4 he still didn't talk and his father told him that he was a half-with and a moron. Simon finally spoke but when he did he stuttered and stammered. His father wanted nothing to do with him and went as far as letting people think he was dead. 

Simon was angry at his father's attitude and decided when he was quite young that he would prove the man wrong. He learned to speak without stuttering and went on to Eton and then Oxford and made a name for himself in academics. He also decided that he would thwart his father and never get married therefore never continuing the Basset line and let the title die. 

Now Simon is in his late twenties and he's back in London after inheriting the title. He doesn't want to be on the marriage mart and plans to attend just one ball. He soon discovers that this is not something that he will have control of. When he meets Daphne Bridgerton and they hit it off so well they decide to help each other. They will act like Simon is courting Daphne which will keep marriage-minded mamas off of his back and will get more suitors for Daphne. 

Daphne Bridgerton is in her second season and while she's a lovely girl the men look at her as more of a friend than someone to marry and desire. Simon tells her that if he showers her with attention the men will start looking at her as more than a friend and lo and behold he's right! After their very first ball as a “couple” Daphne gets 6 gentleman callers! 

The courting goes a bit far and they are caught in a compromising position. Though Simon swore he would never get married he ends up marrying Daphne rather than die in a duel. He does state up front to Daphne though that he can't have children. He knows she desperately wants a family and lots of children but he wants to make sure she understands that if they get married she will never have children. Daphne agrees and they get married. They are pretty blissfully happy until Daphne realizes that it's not that Simon can't have children it's that he won't. Daphne takes matters into her own hands but Simon is more than pissed and Daphne's not sure they can ever work things out. 

Now I told you a lot about the story but that really doesn't tell you the minutiae of the story. The way the book is written adds so much to this story and I really loved re-reading it. 

The first time I read this story my heart ached for Simon so very much. While it did this time too his anger and stubbornness really got to me and that tempered some of the emotional aspect of the story. I still really liked him as I could see he was a good person with a lot to give Daphne he was just...misdirected. 

Daphne pissed me off a bit this time around, I must say. Her deliberate seduction of her husband while he was drunk off his ass really had me thinking about how selfish she was. Now she was really angry at him but still, I'm just not sure I agreed with her actions. 

Overall the love story was really pretty great if you discount the angst near the end of the book. I'm so glad I re-read the book and I'm thinking I may need to re-read the rest of the Bridgerton's. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

Julia Quinn 
The Duke and I is the Book Binge Book Club book for March. You can read the different posts/discussions here.


Lover of Romance said...

I just love this one, and I just loved Simon. Nice review. But I do like Daphne though.

Tracy said...

Good stuff! :)