Book Review: Bridgerton: The Duke and I (#1) by Julia Quinn

It seems life has truly got in the way of blogging these last few months, resulting in very sporadic posts from me! Whilst I could apologise at length for that, you’ll be thankful to know, I’ll spare you. What I will do instead, even though I basically the last person on Earth to read this book (I have just watched the second series of the Netflix adaptation though, so I’m not that behind), is share my thoughts on the first book in the series that’s on everyone’s minds at the moment: Bridgerton.


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…

My Thoughts

I read this book (what feels) way back in February so my memory of it might not be as fresh as it would be if I actually as fresh as it could have been had I actually reviewed it after reading (hindsight is a wonderful thing, eh?) however I’m fairly sure how I feel about this book.

Initially, everything about this book was a bit of a red flag for me. I might have a literature degree under my belt, but no amount of Austen or the Brontë sisters can change my mind about remotely historical or ‘period’ fiction. After the horror of studying history at A-Level, anything remotely historical more or less goes over my head! So, at first, I was a little worried to start this series.

Of course, you should never judge a book by its genre/time period etc etc etc and, for the most part, the first in the series of books was good. I enjoyed how Quinn set the scene, as this world is one of scandal and glamour, and it was interesting to read the characters I had only seen on screen.

I love a fake dating trope and this book delivers. There’s wit and banter between Simon and Daphne that a girl (I) can only dream of and – even though it did make me cringe – there was plenty of steam.

I also appreciated how backstories the series only touched on were dealt with, as we got more of an insight into Simon’s character and the obstacles in the courtship.

The only problem for me was how quickly the characters and dynamic changed. I thought Daphne was a good character, however, she became a bit annoying towards the end and — instead of rooting for her — I was more frustrated with her.

Saying that, the book was enjoyable. I don’t know if I’d rush to read the rest of the series but, at the time of reading, I liked it.

You can follow Julia Quinn on Instagram and Twitter.

You can buy this book here.

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