I’m very excited today to be bringing you this post because it’s time for another one of my discussions with Angel! This time we’re talking about The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, which is the first book in the Bridgertons series.
Ely: So we’ve both obviously read quite a few historical romances, but this was both of our first times reading Julia Quinn. She’s very well-loved and I’ve heard so many people call her their favourite romance author, but what did you think of this first book?
Angel: I fell in love with it as soon as I started reading. Everything just grabbed me from the start. The characters, the romance, the plot. It just all worked for me. I added the rest of the series to my TBR before I even finished the book. How did you feel about it?
E: I’d read the first fifty or so pages a couple of months ago on my phone, so I knew I was already kind of interested in the story. That time I put the book down for something else, but this time having the paperback meant I just flew through it. I think I messaged you at like 8 pm to say I’d started and an hour later I was like 120 pages in and couldn’t stop reading until I finished. I think it’s just one of those books that really grabs you like you said.
Talking about the characters, I think Daphne might be one of my favourite romance heroines so far. Did you feel the same?
A: It was late when you told me you finished it as well. But I was in the same boat for sure. And absolutely it’s definitely one of those books that grabs you.
Oh, and I have to agree about Daphne for sure. She just seemed real. She was easy to connect with, and I wanted her to get everything she ever wanted. I felt this way about a lot of the other characters in the book as well. It’s not often that I feel I can connect with so many characters, especially in a historical romance. But it all just worked here. If we are talking about Daphne, I think it means we can talk about Simon Basset?
E: I think it was past midnight by the time I finished it and I was so tired, but I just couldn’t leave it.
I think that’s what struck me the most about her. It’s so strange to feel truly connected to characters in historical romances—they’re always a little distant to us, even if they’re bookworms or whatever. Daphne just felt a little more real, and I really think that was just all up to Quinn’s writing. Ah, Simon, he definitely has his moments, doesn’t he? I’d love to hear what you think!
A: Absolutely. There are so many historical romance characters that I adore and love so much. But I don’t fully connect with them. And like you said, with Daphne, it was totally different, and I loved it.
Simon was charming. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think of him. He has this aura about him that lifted him off the page and made me really like Daphne. I think like you said it all comes down to Quinn’s writing. It was easy to read but wasn’t dumbed down for the reader. Everything just flowed together nicely. What do you think of Simon?
E: Oh, Simon is definitely charming. Too charming for his own good, at times. I think as well he has a lot of depth to him. He’s not just some rake-turned-gentlemen, there are clear reasons why he is the way he is, and we don’t often get that in historical romance. Usually, we see the characters change but without necessarily knowing why they were ever like that. I hope that makes sense. Either way, I’m really impressed by that.
What did you think of Daphne’s siblings? Are you excited to see their stories?
A: That definitely makes sense. Simon has an incredible character arc that the reader fully gets to see, and that impressed me a lot. As the novel goes on, we get to see another layer each time.
One of my favourite things about historical romances is when a series follows and family. So the Bridgertons were absolutely brilliant. They made everything better. I adored the banter between the siblings, and how protective the older siblings were – most of the time. I can’t wait to read and know their stories. How do you feel about them?
Another thing that made The Duke and I stand out for me was ‘Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers.’ At first, I didn’t understand them, but as the novel went on everything just made sense. What did you think of it?
E: I loved Daphne’s siblings, particularly her older brothers. They just made me laugh, and I loved the relationships between them and their mother. I’m really looking forward to reading their books and hopefully getting to see a little more of Daphne and Simon in there too.
I absolutely love it when books include things like ‘Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers’. I think it just really adds a sense of fun to the book, especially since the characters do engage them in the story. It’s not just quotes at the start of a chapter that don’t really have anything to do with the story; they’ll actually talk about the paper and who they think Lady Whistledown is.
I guess that brings us on quite nicely to the Netflix adaptation. Julie Andrews is the voice of Lady Whistledown, and I, for one, am absolutely living for that. How excited for the show are you now?
A: They made me laugh, as well. Their mother was the absolute best. I just couldn’t with her sometimes and it was fantastic. I’m excited to get to know the younger siblings more as well as I read the series.
I have to agree with you on the papers. It just adds another layer to an amazing book. The engagement between the character and the papers were just fantastic, and I bet as the series goes on, it’s going to get better.
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for the series. It’s going to be fantastic. We just have the images, and I’m already counting down the days. How excited are you?
E: I just can’t wait to see what kinds of stories they’re going to have. I’m especially excited because I’ve been reading Stephanie Lauren’s Cynster series and Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaways series, which of course both follow families as well. I’m just all about that right now.
This series is the only thing I’m looking forward to this Christmas, except getting to see you, of course. I just think it’s going to be really incredible, and I hope that it might lead to more adaptations of historical romances. I am hoping to get to a few more of the books before it’s out if I can.
A: I think it’s one I’m going to binge-watch for sure! I’m not going to be able to wait and watch them slowly.
Like I said before, historical romances’ that follow families are my favourite. It just makes everything more and more fun.
E: Oh, it absolutely is. I can’t wait to cry about it over Messenger with you!
Well, do you have anything else you want to add?
A: Just that if you want to pick up a good historical romance, then this one’s for you. Just read it.