4.5 out of 5 stars
Cut to the Chase:
In terms of pacing, characterization and dialogue, this book is nearly spot on in every category. It definitely plays up some common stereotypes, there’s a rake who needs to be reformed as well as a managing sister who considers herself a spinster. But… it’s done so well. The conversations are quick, witty, and fiercely entertaining. The characters are believable, and the love story doubly so. I don’t love the overarching fear that keeps Anthony from wanting to commit to anyone, and I think that it takes a little longer to resolve than it should have, but otherwise, this is a extremely well done historical romance.
Edwina Sheffield is a beautiful debutante who dreams of nothing more than marrying a scholar and settling down to a quiet life. She comes to London with her elder sister Kate, with whom she has an excellent relationship, and announces (though she doesn’t realize it’s an announcement, but rather thinks it just a casual conversation) that she won’t marry without her sister’s approval.
Enter Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest of the Bridgertons, who’s led the life of an irascible, unreformable rake. He feels great love and devotion towards his family, but believes, quite ardently, that he won’t live a long life. His father died quite young, and believing that his father was a superior gentleman in every way, Anthony believes that he, too, will die young, and only worries about begetting at least one heir to the viscounty before that happens.
He settles upon Edwina because she’s young and pretty enough, and because the one thing he does not want is a wife he might fall in love with. When he realizes that he has to go through her termagant of a sister, Kate, he relishes the challenge.
It’s a battle of wits, where Anthony and Kate are obviously attracted to each other, despite their protestations.
Yes, there are still scenes that drag on just a little every now and again, and some of the dialogue borders on cheesy. Quinn’s not one for tons and tons of detail, so you might also quibble about not enough Regency-era details. Still, it’s fluffy, it’s super-fun, and definitely one of Quinn’s better books.
Comparisons to Other Authors/Books:
Julia Quinn made a name for herself by being a clever, smart writer who had a wonderfully deft hand, especially for creating memorable heroes and heroines with sparkling dialogue. I don’t know what’s happened to her, lately, and you can read more about my thoughts of her here.