1.5 out of 5 stars
Cut to the Chase:
Such a disappointing end to her most famous series! I’ll admit that I hate the love-at-first-sight plotlines (even though here, the love-at-first-sight happens between the main hero and the main heroine’s friend and thus, doesn’t pan out), but I actually had trouble finishing this book! The main two characters just never seem to connect in a way that makes their love story believable, our male protagonist feels very immature and hasty in all of his life decisions, and the final plot twists and rescue just felt really forced. I’m giving it 1.5 stars because Quinn’s a talented writer, everything technically flows well and there are a couple of funny moments, but it just is nowhere near her other Bridgertons books.
Gregory is the youngest of the Bridgertons and, having watched the rest of his siblings fall in love and marry for love, firmly believes in the power of love. He’s almost too eager to fall in love… which is why he ends up allowing himself to fall in love, at first sight, with Hermione Watson (from the first glimpse of her perfect neck, he’s fallen in love).
Enter Lucinda Abernathy, Hermione’s loyal friend, who think that yes, Hermione and Gregory would be a good match, and decides to help the two along…
I’ll admit that part of my problem with the love story is how late in the game Gregory realizes he has feelings for Lucy, as opposed to Hermione. We spend a lot of the book with Gregory panting after Lucy’s friend, and it’s not until after Hermione is engaged to another that Gregory starts to consider Hermione. That really doesn’t work for me, because it really doesn’t show me that Gregory would have picked Lucy even if he could’ve had Hermione (like Lois picking Clark after knowing he’s Superman).
I found Gregory to be immature to the point of annoying, Lucy’s grand sacrifice isn’t wholly believable, and the climatic scenes felt really forced (like sitting in a tree all night and this-is-supposed-to-be-funny forced).
Truthfully, the further the Bridgertons series went, the more disappointed I was in the books… the later ones have none of the joy and freshness that the earlier ones did, but this is probably one of the worst in the series, and one of Quinn’s worst.
Comparisons to Other Authors/Books:
You can tell that Quinn is an Austen fan (there are actually little details and quotes here and there that have just been slightly tweaked, i.e. “it is a truth universally acknowledged that a married man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an heir”). And her novels always rely more on well-developed, multi-layered characters who are fun, genuine, and easy to relate to, as opposed to shocking twists in plot and/or creative details and asides. Her sex scenes are sensual, though they vary (sometimes you get just the one consummation, other times there is more foreplay, etc), but the sex is really secondary to the character development (in a very well-written way) and usually an extension of the characters’ development and feelings as opposed to just… there… as it is with some authors. I think that Tessa Dare and Julie Anne Long both are similar in terms of wittiness of dialogue and such, but when Quinn is on, she’s probably my favorite of the trio. If you’re looking for good examples of Quinn’s work, I would suggest The Duke and I, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, An Offer from a Gentleman or maybe even Minx.