Book Review: Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I

Posted September 14, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I

The Duke and I

in Paperback edition on June 27, 2006 and has 384 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Bridgerton Family historical romance series revolving around the eight Bridgerton children Lady Bridgerton intends to marry off.

My Take

While not adhering rigidly to the time period, Quinn stays faithful for the most part to the time period as she explores the hurt a parent can inflict on a child.

Although Quinn starts with a old cliché — the besieged young man who suggests throwing all the marriage-minded mamas off the scent by pretending an interest in each other, it does turn into a cute story with a strong-minded young woman who can’t believe he’d be interested in her. A consideration that Quinn does make believable.

I was annoyed at the next major cliché…the “oh you lied to me” bit. Please. Simon did not lie, she misinterpreted and, in the arrogance of youth and women, assumed she could change him to suit her wishes.

I did enjoy Daphne’s comment: “It’s the curse of motherhood. You’re required to love us even when we vex you.” Lady Danbury has a good one as well: “It’d be a waste of a good mind if you were shackled to that nitwit…and the good Lord knows that the ton can’t afford to waste the few good minds we’ve got.”

Certainly mama is doing her best to vex her children with her lists of eligibles. Anthony has his list to survey just as Daphne has hers.

Some nice touches in here with Simon’s consideration of Violet and his observations about the newly interested suitors around Daphne. I also enjoyed the short explanation of how Greenwich became the starting point for longitude. Very interesting and perfectly sensible.

Awww, it’s so sweet about the kiss at the altar. Hyacinth makes a lovely observation about it.

It does get rather drama-y, but then it never does claim to be a serious novel. What I particularly enjoyed about this story was the enjoyment Simon and Daphne have in each other’s company. They’re both intelligent people with a similar sense of humor and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series, .

The Story

Young Simon is already four and he still hasn’t spoken. At least, not until he’s threatened with a beating if he doesn’t. The result does not please his perfection-minded father and Simon does not see his father for seven more years and still does not impress him.

As far as Simon is concerned, that’s it. He will no longer try. Although, subconsciously, everything he does turns to it. Acclaimed by his peers, sought out by everyone, he shuns the father who suddenly discovers who his son really is.

When he finally returns to England, it’s to run into the one roadblock in life he had vowed to avoid — marriage. Between the mamas and their eligible, duke-minded daughters, Simon feels trapped and proposes a scheme to the sister of his best friend. We all know how this will turn out, it’s simply a question of the path…

The Characters

Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset starts life as Earl Clyvedon. A courtesy title he will hold until his father finally dies and he becomes the tenth Duke of Hastings. He’s done his best to be the very opposite of what he believed his father wanted. Anthony Bridgerton is his best friend. Nurse Hopkins who does her best to be mother and teacher to this abandoned little boy. Mrs. Colson is the current-day housekeeper with some interesting bits of history about Simon.

Daphne is the fourth in the line-up of siblings in the Bridgerton family. It’s easy to remember as the viscount and viscountess named their children alphabetically: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. Another reason to look forward to reading this series as the family is lively with an intelligent mother, Violet, who has a sense of humor. Daphne is almost on the shelf and, although she has received four offers, she shudders to consider them. She’s bright, witty, funny, and kind. Easy to talk to and very understanding. Just…just not what one is looking for in a wife. Until Simon takes an interest.

Lady Whistledon is the name of a gossip columnist with a clever marketing idea. Her comments start off most chapters, providing a subtle summary of what to expect.

Nigel Berbrooke is a particularly persistent suitor. It’s too bad he’s so dim. Lady Danbury is famed for her cutting wit. Thankfully, she likes both Simon and Daphne.

The Cover and Title

The cover is p-i-n-k. There is no question that this is a romance novel with all that pink tinting the hill with its cluster of building and trees as a carriage drives across the bottom.

The title isn’t particularly inventive even though simple and honest. It is The Duke and I in this first pairing in the series.