thinking in this, my first romance read of February 2020. You're all thinking "He's only read this because of the Netflix series". And yes, I did. I still haven't watched it, but I have been wanting to read this before I do. So, I asked for it for Christmas, not thinking I would get it. But a Book Blogger Secret Santa got me a copy so, thank you! Now, let me get the info up then we can talk.
But, before I do, the lovely Connie from Connie Reads is doing a month long readathon of the Bridgerton series and other series written by Julia Quinn. You can read all about it here or, if on Twitter, check out the hashtag #Quinnalong!
Title And Author: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted via Bookish Secret Santa
Length: 352 Pages
Daphne Bridgerton is looking for a husband in 1800s London. After two seasons, her chances are looking slim. Her brother's old school friend, Simon Bassett (aka the new Duke of Hastings) has no intention of marrying but, returning to England after his father's death, he finds himself the target of many marriage-minded society mothers, desperate for him to marry their daughters.
The two decide on a plan: they will pretend to form an attachment. This will deflect attentions away from Simon and yet bring attention onto her, making Daphne the belle of London society. But, of course, where does pretending stop and reality begin...
This is weirdly fun. Yes, this is very much outside my comfort zone, reading wise. I mean, regency romance. Very unlike me, but I had such a good time reading it.
Yes, this book isn't perfect (believe me, we are going to chat about THAT SCENE) and yes, people are going to either really love this or really hate this. I have read many reviews and this is very much a marmite read.
HOWEVER, we can't escape the elephant in the room. Chapter 18. Now, TRIGGER WARNING, this has a scene of dubious consent and sexual assault of a drunk/sleeping man by a woman/his wife. This scene is problematic as Simon is drunk/half asleep and Daphne carries on having sex with him (when it starts, he says yes. But she continues when he says no, knowing that Simon has issues with wanting children). There is other triggers in this book - parent neglect of the past and speech impendament - but this issue of consent and assault is a problem and that fact that this is brought up in a Regency romantic comedy is a problem, as is the fact there is really no repercussions on Daphne and, when Simon and Daphne do meet for the first time after the event, Daphne's brothers act like Simon is the villain as the married couple haven't spoke in several weeks.
I'm not sure how the Netflix adaption handles this scene, but I have heard people says that it's handled in a different way, but still not handled great (they use Daphne's lack of sexual knowledge to explain why she did what she did). So, to anyone going to read or watch this and are worried they might be trigger, please keep yourself safe if/when you go for this.
Like I said earlier, I did enjoy reading this book (barring THAT SCENE) and I have plans to read a few books in the series.