February’s Book of the Month: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

I had a struggle this month – which book should I choose to write about? I finally landed on The Duke and I by Julia Quinn – the book behind the Netflix sensation sweeping the world- Bridgerton!

Yes, I will admit it! I too have binge-watched the Netflix show and loved it! Somehow, I missed the premiere of Bridgerton in December last year and it took me until February to hear about this brand new series on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little wary. Some of the entries on the “Top 10 in Norway” list have been less than stellar in both acting skill and content. Bridgerton however was receiving rave reviews everywhere I looked and so I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

Well, dear reader – as Lady Whistledown would say – I can assure you, the reviews were spot on! I loved every episode. The actors did a phenomenal job; the script was engaging and full of British snip and snoot; the costumes and set designs were sumptuous; and the story kept me clicking on next at the end of every episode!

I’m nothing if not thorough, and so I simply had to read the book that inspired such a fabulous production. Unfortunately, I have to admit the written version of Daphne and Simon’s story was far less stunning.

Julia Quinn has a real knack for snappy dialogue, and the conversations between Daphne and Simon were both sharp and witty and entertained me no end. The rich cast of the Netflix adaptation was, however, virtually non-existent in The Duke and I. I was expecting to find the literary counterparts of some of my favourite characters from the show and, while the story of Daphne and Simon was fairly similar and an entertaining love story (aside from an inappropriate scene where mutual consent is ignored in favour of progressing the plot), ultimately I feel robbed of the opportunity to indulge in page after page about Eloise, Benedict, Penelope and the Queen.

Normally I’m able to appreciate the film / tv series and the book they based it on, separately. Both will have their own highs and lows, and both have an innate value if we refrain from comparing them with each other. I can’t seem to do that with this book, unfortunately. Perhaps I would feel differently if I’d read the book first, but, alas, I didn’t do so and as a result, The Duke and I feels a bit “thin”. The subplots surrounding Daphne and Simon’s story were real gems that enriched the story, and without them the book is perfectly fine, but not enough to make me want to read the next 7 in the series. I shall have to wait until season 2 appears on Netflix!

The Duke and I: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Book Blurb

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…

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