Tag Archives: regency romance

Review of The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1), by Julia Quinn

Look you guys, it’s only June and I’ve already read Q book for my Alphabet Soup Author challenge. Usually, I’m scrambling, mid-December trying to find books by authors that start with Q, X, Y, and Z. Not this year! *Is smug.*

I won a copy of Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I through Goodreads.

Description:

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…

Review:

This was ok. I enjoyed the banter between Daphne and Simon. But I thought the transition from friends to lovers to partners was abrupt in parts and jagged in others. I honestly felt Simon was trapped into it, in a sense. I don’t feel like that was the only time he was taken advantage of. And, while the overprotective brothers were amusing at times, they got annoying.

I did very much appreciate that Quinn didn’t give the father a redemptive arc. I thought she would and I hate that. Parents have been evil don’t always deserve to be redeemed in the reader’s eyes. All in all, I’d read another one. But I’m not in any hurry about it.

Review of A Wallflower’s Folly, by Amanda Mariel

I received an Audible code for a copy of Amanda Mariel‘s A Wallflower’s Folly.

Description from Goodreads:

A headstrong wallflower… 

Lady Olivia Montague’s betrothed has ignored her and their contract for years. In the meantime, she has decided to remain unwed, embracing the life of a spinster. The last thing she expects is for her betrothed to come storming back into her life. 

A Determined Duke… 

Following the death of his parents, William Breckenridge finds himself as the Duke of Thorne and in charge of his three younger sisters. He needs help in the form of a mother and guide for his siblings. Lucky for William, he’s already betrothed. All he need do is collect his future duchess. 

An unstoppable love… 

William and Olivia engage in a battle of wills, but the more she resists and he pursues, the more their passions flare. Once the heart is engaged, resistance becomes difficult, but will they give into happily ever after?

Review:

This book and I had problems, the most grievous of which was the fact that I was indignant on Olivia’s behalf for the entire book. Their marriage was arranged when they were children. Then, he disappeared for 15 years without so much as a word. But when he needed a woman to do womanly things in his life, he showed up—a perfect stranger—to take the tool off the shelf and demands she honor the agreement (because she’s convenient). Until that point he hadn’t honored it, but despite her protests that she did not wish to marry him, he demanded she would. 

Given these circumstances I was even more indignant that he liked and was attracted to her. He got to ignore her for as long as he liked (injuring her in the process) and then gets a pretty and amusing wife out of the deal. While she got ignored and then forced into a marriage she didn’t want. Oh, how men always get their cake and to eat it too, while women eat crow, apparently. The fact that she gave in as soon as he said the magic three words enraged me further still, if you’d believe that possible. As if all it takes to make a woman who doesn’t desire marriage desirous of it is to be chosen by a man. Seriously, fuck off. 

Also, the whole premise of the book is how long the Duke ‘left her on the shelf’ before coming to claim her (and she’s meant to mother a 19 and 20-year-old.) So, she must be above average age for a marriageable woman. Yet, neither of her BFFS appear to be married either and she acts like a complete child. 

Lastly, a comment on the editing/narration. Since I had an audio copy, I don’t know where the errors originated (from the author or the narrator), but there were several misused words/grammar errors. And while as an American I’m no expert on English accents, I rather suspect this narrator’s accent (with her Vs for Th, for example) did not even approximate an aristocratic English accent. Rather like hearing a book set in the Bronx read in a Southern accent, for us Americans. Not bad, but a little jarringly out of place. Presumably more so for those from that part of the world.

I’d likely give this author another chance. But this book was a bust.

Review of Once A Pirate, by Diana Bold

I received an Audible credit for a copy of Once A Pirate, by Diana Bold.

Description from Goodreads:

The Earl of Sutcliffe has a problem – his son, Daniel, prefers men to women.  After two years of marriage to Lady Kathryn Sinclair, Daniel hasn’t produced an heir.  Desperate to continue his bloodline, Sutcliffe turns to his illegitimate son, Talon Montgomery. Knowing the prosperous American privateer will never do as he wishes, Sutcliffe arranges for his son to be falsely arrested for piracy. Talon is devastated when he believes his entire crew has been executed.  When he discovers Sutcliffe has interceded on their behalf, Talon is willing to do anything to keep them safe – even seduce his sister-in-law. 

Review:

Mechanically this was well written, and the narrator did a fine job of it. But I had a hella lot of problems with the plot. For one, while it doesn’t quite sink to Bury Your Gays, it comes perilously close (more than once). What’s more, it’s done off-page, practically without comment and 100% without mourning. And it comes within touching distance of suggesting the gay character is gay because he was sexually abused as a child. (Though I will acknowledge that he doesn’t actually die or have a tragic future, just a tragic past.)

Secondly, the “love” is so fast as to feel instant. I didn’t feel this relationship AT ALL.

Third, the villain is so villainous as to be a caricature.

Lastly, Kathryn (the heroine) is married. But the book still follows the well trodden love=marriage and children pathway. Which can’t really work when the woman is already and still married to someone else! (Thus the need to Bury the Gay.)

This is apparently a republication of an older work, from 2006. I feel like if I’d known that before I read it, I wouldn’t have chanced it. The genre has come a long way in the past decade. The fact that the writing itself was decent makes me think I could give a newer work a chance and maybe like it.