I do like reading Romances but I've often found that many of them sound the same. Certainly the plots change and the character names and circumstances change -- but the essential dialogue and tensions often replicate themselves in book after book. This gives many Romance novels a homogenous, artificial flavor which I don't like and I feel cheated when I read books like this because I feel as if the author has underestimated the intelligence of her/his reader. How refreshing it was then to read Julia Quinn's, "The Duke and I." This was my first (certainly not my last) Julia Quinn book and I was highly impressed with her ability to create characters who don't always speak and behave the way you expect them too. Daphne and Simon's relationship is believable, they seem like "real" people and their problems were fairly ordinary and not overly dramatic or contrived. The secondary characters each deserve (and will probably get) a book of their own. Quinn also had a knack for making me laugh -- the humor was not forced or too cutesy, just well written. Although this book is set in the Regency period, it is not your "traditional" Regency as it does contain some frank sex scenes and the characters often act with a more modern sensibility than one might expect. In any case, this was a great read and I am eagerly looking forward to reading Quinn's other novels.
on February 24, 2001
Duke and I, is the first book of the Bridgerton Series. 2nd book is The Viscount who love me, 3rd would be the An Offer From A Gentleman which is still coming soon on July,2001. I read this book in one sitting, finished at 5am in the morning & was a zombie at work few hours afterwards :-) Since Julia Quinn is new to me, I honestly didn't think this book was going to keep me up all night. I was mistaken.
Simon Basset, Earl of Clyvedon, Duke of Hasting is far from the regular heroes of most historical romance novels that I have read. Yes, he was described as handsome, rich, intelligent & a RAKE - just like most heroes... What made him different from the others is that he have a stuttering problems, which he has learned to control as he grew up yet it's still there when he's nervous or upset. This flaw made Simon more human, realistic. He had an awfully sad childhood too. His father denied him love and privileged because of his stuttering. His father was so shamed of him that he told people he no longer had a son. He would rather passed his dukedom to his cousin than to his son who he called stupid, idiot, imbecile and nitwit. This lead Simon to hate and yet it inspired him to worked hard in order to proved his father wrong. In the end, his father proudly saw that Simon was actually worthy of his dukedom and passed it on to him when he died. Because of his father's obsession on his dukedom lineage, Simon vowed never to marry, never to have children - to end the blood line with him. But when he returned to England & inherited his dukedom after his father's death, he was sought after by every MOTHER of the ton with marriageable daughters.
Dafne Bridgerton on the other hand had a full happy childhood. Even if her father had died when she was only 10, She grew up with a loving mother, 7 brothers & sisters - who are all close knit. Naturally, because of her happy experience as a child, she longed to get married and have lots of children just like what she was use to growing up with. Being a wife and motherhood is her simple dream. Unlike most heroines of historical romances novels, Dafne didn't have an extra ordinary beauty but she is sweet, funny, philosophical, strong willed & determined. She might not have "THAT" extra ordinary beauty but she is well liked by everybody... and that is somehow a problem in finding a suitable husband. She possessed a unique character that draws every people to view her simply as A FRIEND. That is one of the two reasons why most eligible bachelors doesn't court her. She was everybody's friend. The other reason was his 3 elder brothers ( Anthony, Benedict & Colin) who watched her like a hawk.
To keep ambitious mothers with marriageable daughters away from him, Simon propose a scheme to Dafne, who happens to be Anthony's (Simon's best friend) younger sister. They will feign "attachment". In return, he insisted to Dafne that when the Ton realize that the Duke had captured an interest towards her, Eligible bachelors who viewed her as a friend would eventually see her in different light. Rather conceited perhaps? She agreed & gotten 6 suitors the very next day. Interesting. So far, the scheme seems to be working well with both of them until Dafne realized she was slowly falling in love with Simon. That's when things got complicated. At the same time, Simon's feelings towards her were getting stronger. He tries so hard to keep it in control. After all, Thou shalt not lust after thy friend's sister! But what happens if Dafne seduces him? Would he be able to keep his emotions in control? Would he remember the most important rule amongst friends?
I normally prefer the man to be the seducer but in this book, I rather like the way Julia Quinn wrote and described Dafne's thoughts. The way Dafne shows her emotions didn't sound disgusting nor exaggerated. She still have innocence but with a spark if naive naughtiness... Her actions are believable, understandable & practical considering the situation Simon is in, well.. the situation, they're both in. I also liked the idea that Simon & Dafne started as friends then developed into something deeper. They shared thoughts & dreams as well as fears & insecurities. They understood each other before words are passed, they formed a special bond before marriage - this is somewhat unusual in historical romances novels that I have read so far. I would like to mention my teeny bitty complaint about this story though, I wondered what happened to Nurse Hopkins. She who supposedly loved and took care of Simon ever since he was a baby. I would have loved to read about her. It would be nice to read her proud reaction to see what Simon had accomplished. Since she was the encouragement & Simon's maternal support, it would have been nice to see her involved in Simon's life all throughout the book. Oh well, this is just a small flaw which I thought I'd mention.
Oh it won't be fair not to mention the famous Lady Whistledown's gossip column. My! Not only is she mysteriously accurate, she is soooo funny. Her column is one of my favorites in this book. I have a couple of guess who this lady might be but I'm not 100% sure. When you finish reading this book, email me your guess. It would be fun to compare thoughts and guess about this. I sure can't wait to read the rest of the Bridgerton Series to know who this elite lady is. This book is my first of Julia Quinn and definitely wasn't the last. I was thoroughly pleased & entertained with this one that I am now in the process of reading "The Viscount who love me", that is Anthony's story. Anthony is Simon's best friend & Dafne's eldest brother. Will write a review on that soon afterwards too.
on January 9, 2000
THE DUKE AND I by Julia Quinn Review by Barb Deane, Barb's All Romance Book Store
Julia Quinn's latest Regency-era historical from Avon's Romantic Treasures line is entitled The Duke and I. The Duke and I is the latest in her line of classic movie title parodies, following How To Marry a Marquis and To Catch an Heiress. Like the classic movies with which these books share similar titles, these books are fun, entertaining romps that you should be sure not to miss.
Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, had a difficult childhood, to say the least. His mother died giving birth to him, he couldn't speak until he was four years old, and his father rejected him because, when he did speak, he had a terrible stutter. Although Simon and his faithful nurse worked hard at ridding Simon of the stutter, he was so soured on his father, especially after the man told his servants that Simon was dead, that his life became focused on thwarting his father at every opportunity
Daphne Bridgerton is the oldest daughter in a large, close, but somewhat eccentric, ton family. After two seasons and no marriage, Daphne's mother fears that she will end up on the shelf. Given that there are three more daughters to marry off, Daphne's mother become obsessed with getting Daphne a husband. To that end, Daphne is paraded out and forced to endure all of the more boorish men of the ton, in search for the acceptable husband. Fortunately, Daphne's oldest brother Anthony, the head of the household and Simon's best friend, is not inclined to force Daphne into an unhappy marriage.
When Daphne and Simon meet, they each know enough of each other from Anthony to be fairly comfortable together, even given the immediate attraction between them. When Simon suggests that they act as if they have formed an attachment for each other, thereby saving Simon from the mothers of all the marriageable girls and making Daphne more attractive to the other eligible bachelors, Daphne agrees to his crazy scheme. What they are unable to control, however, is the way that the attraction between them grows in the inevitable togetherness their plan requires.
The Duke and I is full of Julia's characteristic humor and her delightful trademark chapter openers - in this case, excerpts from the gossip column of Lady Whistledown. However, I did find that The Duke and I was not quite as light as Julia's recent books. Simon's angst-filled childhood and the scars that his father left behind, made Simon a more complex hero, for which Daphne had to be a deeper heroine as well. Their friendship and lively conversation made the tendre that developed between them very believable. The secondary characters were intriguing and I hope that we will see many of Daphne's numerous siblings in future stories. I have enjoyed every book Julia Quinn has written, and The Duke and I was no exception. Don't miss this wonderful story!
Barb Deane Copyrightc 1999, Barb's All Romance Book Store. All rights reserved
on January 30, 2000
I've never read a Julia Quinn book and I can't tell you how pleased I was by the wonderful character's and excellent story. The Duke and I was sweet, humorous and an enjoyable read all around. I have to say that if I hadn't read the reviews on Amazon I probably never would have picked this book up just browsing in the store, partially because it's longer than most Regency romances, and partially because there is a scantily clad man and woman on the back cover that seem more appropriate to the bodice ripping romance novels that I avoid. I'm not sure about anyone else but I love to read in public (i.e. airports, the dentist's or doctor's office, long lines etc...) and I'd rather not have that kind of cheesy back cover shouting out "hey everybody she's reading a romance book!" That aside, I really really recommend this book as a great escape from whatever you want to escape from.
on September 12, 2015
This is a republication of the book with an epilogue tacked onto the end, this means that amazon won't alert you if you have already purchased the original. These books are delightful if you haven't read them but I did not appreciate spending 6$ for a book that I essentially already owned....
on November 14, 2011
The Duke and I started out as a cute and fun read and I was really liking it, not loving it, but liking it enough to continue that is until I got to the halfway mark. I've tried to think of many possible ways to not include spoilers in my review as to not ruin it for those who have not read it, but it is an impossible task and the book has been out for a few years so why not still my guts?
I want to know where the hell the heroine gets off by raping the hero?! I am really at the point of cursing now but I did enough of that when I was actually reading the book. Thank god I didn't throw my kindle across the room as well. But seriously? Are you kidding me? Since the halfway mark I really couldn't stand Daphane's character anymore. She seriously pissed me off. And she didn't do anything I expect a heroine to do to confort her tortured hero. She failed the, "Things Heroine's Do To Comfort Their Tortured Hero" test.
This book was suppose to be one of those cute stories about Daphane who falls in love with a Duke, Simon who has a tortured past and they fall in love and live happily ever after, with some hot steamy romance added. Nope.
The heroine wasn't the only one I had a problem with. I think Daphane's brother, Anthony was a huge annoyance in the book for me. He was too naggy and way too overprotective that you would've had the impression that Daphane was his daughter. Honestly I thought he was a jerk most of the book. There are probally a million other things I could rant about, but I'll take me leave for now.
Honestly without thinking about the horror of what happened there, the story was very meh. It was okay and good, but it wasn't great. It had great humor and all, but I get the impression these are just short fun reads. I didn't care about the characters a whole lot though. I'm looking for an epic romance in historical romances and this was the complete opposite of epic. I was horrified by what happened in this book.
on January 22, 2010
I never thought that I could have a whole book spoiled for me by one action, but this book proved that I could. What's so irritating about this is that I was enjoying the book. I liked the character's amusing dialogue and the friendship the developed.
Things did start to go a bit downhill for me when Daphne chases Simon down at the duel. I don't get the most optimistic feeling when I see someone willing to die rather than marry. I know it wasn't Daphne in particular, but when the hero has so much baggage that death is preferable to his other options I know the road ahead is not going to be smooth. I started to get nervous about how something with that weight would be handled by the author. She has skill but in all the books I've read by her they all seemed very light and not really serious at all. I was willing to go along for the ride though.
In some ways I wish I had stopped reading half way through and never got such a bad taste in my mouth. I know that Simon lied by omission in letting Daphne assume he wouldn't have kids because he couldn't have them. But who can really blame him? He was ashamed of how he was when he was a kid. If he would have said he just plain wouldn't have kids she would have demanded to know why and he would have had to explain all his humiliation. Who would willingly do that? She had to maneuver him into marrying her in the first place. He would have rather died in the duel than marry her and be put in that situation! She was even the one that initiated the situation that led to them having to marry! She seems to forget it was all her idea toward the end.
I just can't help but think that the whole conflict in this book was manufactured by Daphne. The way the book was written seems to make Simon seem like the bad guy when what she did to him was unforgivable. I was ready for Simon to find someone new after that. I can't believe he came back and actually apologized to her. She tried to take a baby from him by force! I'm sorry I know he was into it, but he was drunk and didn't realized she wouldn't let him pull away at the end. When he realized he started struggling. That right there is force. If a man had done that to a girl there would have been a lot more people upset by it.
I know that Daphne made a token statement about being okay with him not wanting kids if it was for the right reason, but I doubt that. She was consumed by the thought of children like she wouldn't have been complete without them. Besides, she may not have agreed with his reasons, but who is she to try and say he doesn't have a right to feel that way?
I don't know if I'll read anymore of her. I've read her other Bridgerton books (and decided to finally read the 1st one) and I thought most of them were ok, but this one really disturbed me. I don't know if I want to risk feeling like that again. I read to watch two people fall in love, not to watch someone try to force her husband to impregnate her.
on January 12, 2000
I have read all of Quinn's works (all that she has written for Avon, at least) and she just keeps getting better. I have liked and kept all of her books because I like her style of writing. Nothing heavy here and that's why I read. I'd rather be entertained by a light, witting and sometimes touching story than be tortured with reading about rapes and characters who don't talk to each other until the end of the book. I guess there are quite a lot of other readers who share my views, because Quinn is becoming extremely popular. Simon and Daphne, the main characters, blend so well together. While Simon might be sterotyped as the typical brooding hero, Daphne is the one who does enough talking for both of them. The secondary characters are also a treat. Daphne's mother, I thought, was hilarious! 'TDAI' has just the right mix of humor with a dose of tension at the end to make it a highly entertaining read. Quinn reminds me alot of Amanda Quick, another of my favorite writers. I'd probably rank this most recent work higher than five stars if I could. I thought it was that good.
on January 29, 2000
This is the first book I have read by Quinn and I have enjoyed it immensely. It had been recommended by a friend and now it's my turn to do the recommending. Despite a few heavier scenes, I would call this a fairly lighthearted romance filled with fun and laughter. Don't get me wrong though. The heavier scenes kept the story from being too fluffy or shallow. In fact, I would say it rounded the whole thing off quite nicely. The Whistledown reporter was a delightful addition and I was left wondering who exactly she was. I look forward to the next Quinn book to see if we actually do find out her identity. I especially enjoyed the scenes where Simon joined the family for dinner and later an outing to Greenwich. Simon was a wonderful hero; strong, handsome, great sense of humor, and his one "inadequacy" was endearing, although HE might not think so. Daphne was a terrific heroine. Charming, witty, and if not wise in the world, wise in matters of the heart. But, for me, of course it was Hyacinth that stole the show.
on January 13, 2008
Let me start off by saying, I'm not much of a romantic, and I probably would never have purchased this book. BUT given the wonderful reviews here and strong recommendations from a friend, I decided to give Julia Quinn a shot...and was plesantly surprised! The Duke and I is a charming, sexy story. It is a whimsical, fun--if predictable--read that I enjoyed immensely.
Daphne Bridgerton is an amiable, quick-witted young woman with a sly sense of humor. The eldest daughter in the Bridgerton family, she finds herself being pushed out into society by her driven mother (a so-called "ambitious mama") to find a husband. The Bridgertons are not in financial straits nor do they need to gain higher social position--refreshing for a regency period novel that seems to constantly have a heroine who is penniless/indebted/of low social rank--but Violet Bridgerton (said ambitious mama) is in a tizzy to marry off her daughter. Simultaneously, Simon Basset, Earl of Clyvedon, Duke of Hastings (isn't THAT a mouthful) is making his entrance to society after gaining notoriety as a rake in his university days and traveling the world to escape having to deal with his nasty father. Hastings is best friends with Daphne's older brother, Anthony, and thus by the unspoken man-rule between friends, shall not covet his friend's sister. Of course things are never that simple, and Simon stumbles upon Daphne and comes to her rescue from an overzealous suitor. Before he knows who exactly she is, he finds himself irrevocably attracted to her.
After getting a taste of the rabid marriage-minded ton, Simon--who has sworn an oath never to marry--makes a proposition to level-headed Daphne. They will form a false attachment to each other, thereby freeing Daff from the vicelike grip of her mother's marital schemes and simultaneously deterring any matronly ambitions towards Simon. In the meantime, Simon convinces Daphne that her stock will increase dramatically, because all men want what they cannot have.
Of course, you can tell where this is going.
The Duke and I isn't exactly the literary equivalent of a winter feast in Glasgow--but it isn't meant to be. It is a light, airy romance that is more along the lines of a fresh squeezed glass of cold lemonade on a summer day. It won't linger with you when you are done, but it satisfies a craving for something sweet, and smooth.
Food metaphors aside, The Duke and I is fun. The characters are stock and the plot is predictable, but for what it is, it hits the mark. Daphne is intelligent, very pretty, selfless and kind. Simon, although described as a rake and hoards a dark secret (he *gasp* stutters), isn't really a rake, and is a nice, moral guy that is ashamed of his past and has some daddy issues to work out (again with the daddy issues!). Daphne, kind woman that she is, saves him from his own demons, and after a short period of angst and light misunderstanding, they both live happily ever after. While the writing isn't particularly well done--people laugh and eyes sparkle waaaay too much--it is paced well.
And because you can't review a romance novel without addressing the sex...Confession: I find myself sometimes completely embarrassed and collapsing into fits of laughter over the majority of romance novel sex scenes (portions from A Hunger Like No Other with the lead male "groaning, straining against his traus" come to mind). Let's call that the "embarrassment factor". In The Duke and I, thankfully the embarrasment factor was down to bearable levels and the sex was hot without being ridiculous. It was cute to read about Daphne's complete confusion and innocence concerning intercourse, and the first encounter between Simon and Daff is steamy good fun.
*lights a post-coital cigarette* It was good for me.
Review Courtesy of TheBookSmugglers.blogspot.com