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The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
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The Duke and I

by Julia Quinn

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bridgertons (1)

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2,118814,577 (4.03)79
  1. 20
    The Duke by Gaelen Foley (faither)
    faither: This is the first in a similar series about a large family looking for spouses in Regency England. Both series are quite entertaining.
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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Ah, The Duke & I. Picking up this book always makes me smile. I have good memories of reading it for the first time, and remembered the major plot twist, although not the accompanying falling out or even the way it ended. The indelible mark that was left on me was, indeed, that twist, and a fondness for the somewhat tortured hero, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings.

I love me a good, angsty, daddy-issues-suffering hero (hello, if Sesshoumaru is my very favorite character ever created, you know I have this bent, LOL), and Simon very much fits the bill. His mother died in childbirth, and his father abandoned him when he was four, choosing to tell the world that his son was dead rather than admitting to having a less-than-perfect heir. That instills a lot of anger and hatred, as one might imagine, and Simon is incredibly stubborn. He uses that righteous hatred to push himself forward, becoming a successful human being more or less to spite his father. He doesn't see the man after he turns 11, when he went to London to confront the man and learned that everyone assumed he was dead because his father had stopped mentioning him. After graduating from Oxford, he leaves the country and doesn't return until after his father is dead, refusing the reconcile with him - for obvious reasons.

Daphne, the heroine, comes from exactly the opposite background: a huge, boisterous, loving and tight-knit family. She is the fourth of eight children (Anthony-Benedict-Colin-Daphne-Eloise-Francesca-Gregory-Hyacinth) and the eldest daughter of the late Viscount Bridgerton. Her mother, Violet, still rules the roost at Bridgerton House with her eagle eye and shrewd elegance. Daphne, at 20, has been "out" in society for two years, and though she has had numerous offers of marriage, none have come from a suitable candidate.

The whole upper-class ton part of Regency society just fascinates me. I'm very intrigued by class systems, and of course this one has its own hierarchy and rules, even if they are mostly made to be broken. It's how the scheme that Daphne and Simon concoct can work, in both their favors: Simon is considered the most eligible of eligible bachelors because of his title, and Daphne is in danger of being put on the shelf with the other spinsters because she hasn't yet found a husband. They can combine their powers and each will win: Simon will be considered "captured" (though not "taken") and thus can elude the ambitious marriage-minded mothers trying to foist their debutante daughters onto him, and Daphne will suddenly skyrocket in popularity because a Duke is showing interest in her.

That is, indeed what happens. One night the two dance together at one of the society balls, and Daphne suddenly has half a dozen suitors calling on her the next morning. Simon is free to go his own way, knowing he won't be elbow-deep in blushing young misses, and the two keep up a casual courtship charade that is, at times, quite hilarious.

The problem, such as it is, is that Simon is also Anthony's best friend, and Anthony doesn't look too kindly upon one of his friends going after his sister. Matters are only complicated when Daphne starts to truly fall in love with Simon. This all puts Simon in a difficult position, because he's very attracted to her, but doesn't want to hurt her OR incur Anthony's wrath, but unfortunately his libido gets the best of him and he and Daphne are caught in a compromising situation. Anthony demands that Simon marry his sister now that he's ruined her reputation, but he refuses - so, after beating him senseless, Anthony challenges him to a duel.

Simon has a very good reason for not wanting to marry: he doesn't wish to have children and perpetuate his line. He knows Daphne dreams of having her own large brood, and he doesn't want to put her in a position that will deny her that dream. So he agrees to the duel.

Daphne manages to stop the duel (she gets Simon's attention the only way she knows how - she punches him, LOL), and manages to secure Simon's promise to marry her instead, but only after agreeing that she will do so under the condition that they will never have children. She loves him enough to sacrifice her dream if it means being with him.

Now, this whole plot hinges on one thing: the fact that Daphne has absolutely NO IDEA where babies come from. It was definitely something that broke my suspension of disbelief. I can buy her being ignorant of the mechanics of sex (altho if her parents had eight children, it's a wonder they were never walked in on...), but seriously not knowing how babies are made?? That's a little much, IMO.

She doesn't realize exactly what it takes to make babies, in fact, until well after she's been married (and, indeed, had sex with her husband). She and Simon are honeymooning at Clyvedon House, her husband's childhood estate, and she decides to introduce herself to the household staff because its always good for the mistress of the household to get on with the staff. She chats with the housekeeper who's been there forever one afternoon, and hears tell of how Simon's parents had such a hard time conceiving a child, because "a womb won't quicken without strong, healthy seed."

It's not until the next time Daphne and Simon have sex that she realizes exactly what that odd statement means. She realizes what he's doing (bringing her to orgasm and then pulling out) and gets incredibly upset with him, because she was under the impression that he couldn't have children, not that it was a conscious decision and effort on his part NOT to have them. She is furious, they argue, and she basically kicks him out. She moves out of their shared room and into the duchess's suite, and when Simon realizes what she's done, he threatens to beat down the door. She isn't afraid of him, knowing that he is far too honorable to actually force her to do anything against her will, and she tells him off, and he leaves, still in a rage, and goes out and gets totally wasted.

He comes back to the estate the next morning, still drunk, and again tries to get into her bedroom, this time because he's also horny and frustrated. She allows him entrance this time, not realizing he's drunk, but when he refuses to leave, she lets him sleep it off in her bed. She crawls into the bed with him at his insistence, and they both fall asleep.

Sometime later, she wakes up, and realizes that he's aroused and is putting the moves on her, even though he is still dead asleep. That's when she makes her decision. She will not give up on the idea of a baby, and now that she knows what it takes, so to speak, she's going to take it from him, whether he's willing to give it to her or not.

He isn't, of course, but he doesn't completely wake up until he's climaxing inside her, and it takes about five seconds for him to realize what she's done and throw her off of him, and leave - her room, but also her. He can't take her betrayal, so he goes off to a different estate to get away from her.

Quite frankly, I don't blame him. I've liked Daphne up until that point, but I can't with the idea of her basically forcing him to give her a baby. It's not exactly rape - it's not so much about malice or witholding power - but it's still something pretty damn horrible. It was the ONE condition he gave her when he agreed to marry her, and she's basically forced his hand. Really terrible.

The emotional tension, however, is quite exquisite. Quinn's prose is effortlessly easy to read, and though she is mostly known for the light, frothy comedic bent to her writing, personally I think she does emotional angsty hurt/comfort the best. So this break in their heretofore loving relationship is very nicely done, even if I don't particularly care for how it was accomplished.

Daphne returns to London as an abandoned wife, but she doesn't wallow in it. She goes to Hastings House, her home with her husband, and doesn't let anybody shame her - not her family, not her friends, not society in general. She redeems herself, for me, when she tells her overbearing older brothers to butt out of her marriage. She is a married woman now - a Duchess - and her life is no longer their affair. It's nice to see that sort of strength in a heroine, because usually women are cowed by the men around them, no matter what their position. She writes to her husband to tell her that she did indeed conceive after their afternoon of drunken sex, and he reluctantly returns to London. He might not have wanted this child, but now that it's here he's not going to abandon it. Daphne is out riding so Simon goes to find her, but she has an accident that's basically the catalyst for their emotional denouement.

Daphne is forced to tell him that she didn't actually conceive (she didn't lie to him, she was just two months late, perhaps implying an early miscarriage) and when he sees how broken up she is over it, he realizes that this issue of children is more than a battle of wills between them. He also realizes that he's letting his father rule him from the grave, because the reason he didn't want children was to make sure his father's line died with him.

Simon and Daphne reconcile, and there is a really beautiful moment when they actually talk about their issues, and really begin to work through them. Their bond is quite strong; they both want to stay married; they're more or less "even" in the betrayals department, so they agree to make a fresh start.

All in all, I did enjoy this book. There was cosmic justice, in that Daphne lost the baby she'd forced Simon to conceive, and if you work backwards, you can accept the reason for her singular ignorance about the mechanics of baby-making, as it is essential to the plot. Simon's emotional torture hits all of my angsty hero buttons, and it was great to see Daphne stand up for herself against her overbearing brothers (she throws some great zingers to lighten the tension when it comes to dealing with them, too).

Another shining character here was Violet, who still very well has her adult sons in hand, but who gets incredibly flustered during "the talk" with her daughter (the scene where Daphne forces her to admit she's had sex more than the requisite eight times is hilarious). She's the best sort of ambitious mama - she's sharp and shrewd and knows exactly how to get what she wants.

Cameos by the fabulously cranky Lady Danbury (of whom the entire ton is terrified) and the mysterious Lady Whistledown round out the cast. Excerpts from Lady Whistledown's Society Papers head every chapter, and the cast at large is crazy about her. She was also very shrewd in how she started and continues to circulate her gossip sheet, and it's nice to know that somewhere, out there, a woman is making a tidy sum of money on her own. Strong, shrewd ladies tend to populate Quinn's Regency-era stories, and that is definitely a refreshing change from the norm!

The 2nd Epilogues
Here is Quinn's introduction to The Duke & I's 2nd Epilogue:
Midway through The Duke & I, Simon refuses to accept a bundle of letters written to him by his late estranged father. Daphne, anticipating that he might someday change his mind, takes the letters and hides them, but when she offers them to Simon at the end of the book, he decides not to open them. I hadn't originally intended for him to do this; I'd always figured there would be something great and important in those letters. But when Daphne held them out, it became clear to me that Simon didn't need to read his father's words. It finally didn't matter what the late duke had thought of him.

Readers wanted to know what was in the letters, but I must confess: I did not. What interested me was what it would take to make Simon want to read them...
The 2nd epilogue is very much more of the same from the book - the same imminently readable prose, the same easy relationship between family members, the same little hints of the depths of the characters. It was nice to read that Daphne never took well to pregnancy (sorry, but its no less than she deserves considering her first ill-fated attempt), even though she successfully had four children.

In this second epilogue, Daphne realizes that she is once again pregnant - at forty-one(!), with three daughters "out" and one son finishing up his schooling at Eton. She struggles with telling Simon, but when her brother Colin makes an impromptu visit with his family in tow and baldly tells her that she looks horrible, she realizes that she can't hide it anymore.

Colin has come seeking Simon's advice, for his youngest child has yet to utter a word. Simon didn't speak until he was four, so he was hoping he'd be able to offer some advice. This prompts Simon to reach for the mostly-forgotten stack of letters that his father had left him upon his death, which he'd never opened or read; he just pulled them out to hold them occasionally. It was this very bundle of letters that signified his victory over his father in the original story, so I can understand him (and Quinn) wanting to leave it at that. Now, he wonders if his father could possibly bestow any words of advice in these final letters, if he wrote at all about what it was like to have a son who didn't speak for four long years, and how he dealt with it internally.

It was a nasty little wake-up call, going through those letters, but perhaps as Simon had suspected, his father had nothing of value to share with him. Just as with everything else in his life, he'd have to figure it out for himself. It is amazing, however, to be nearly fifty and still realize the hold your parents have on you - for good, or for bad.

A quite satisfying sequel to the original story =) ( )
  eurohackie | Nov 21, 2018 |
Daphne Bridgerton has a problem.

'sShe beautiful, bright, charming, and everyone's friend. She grew up with four brothers, three of them older than herself, and the gentlemen love to talk with her. They just don't think of her as a romantic prospects, and in her second season, she has received proposals only from the elderly and, in one case, the crashingly stupid. Her mother and her eldest brother, the new Viscount Bridgerton, are not going to compel her to make an unhappy match, and she's in danger of being on the shelf.

The Duke of Hastings has a problem. He's just returned from six years abroad, having recently inherited the title after the death of his hated father. He has no intention of marrying, especially not to produce an heir. He finds himself unable to avoid the social swirl entirely, however, and the concomitant pursuit by mothers and their eligible daughters.

But Viscount Bridgerton is his best friend, and Daphne proves to be apparently the only intelligent young woman attending social events.

Courting her will make Hastings seem less available. Daphne, by apparently being courted by the Duke of Hastings, will immediately look more desirable to other men--hopefully attracting more suitable suitors. It will all be a harmless charade, benefiting them both. What could possibly go wrong?

I really liked Daphne, the Duke, and Daphne's mother and her siblings who are old enough to figure in the story. There are also other interesting characters floating around, including Lady Danbury, and the fictional Lady Whistledown and her entertaining scandal sheet.

It's really a lot of fun. Even in the areas where I thought the story was surely going to go off the rails and become nonsense, it turned out Quinn was doing something a great deal more interesting than I thought. The right kind of surprise!

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
3.5 stars ( )
  mitabird | Jun 10, 2018 |
The Duke and I
4.5 Stars

Synopsis:
To protect himself from ambitious mothers, Simon Basset Duke of Hastings, makes a deal with his best friend’s sister – they will pretend to be engaged. For Daphne Bridgerton, the pretend betrothal turns out to be quite lucrative as she becomes the belle of the ball. The only problem is that Daphne begins falling for the devastating Duke who has made it clear that he has no intention of ever marrying.

Review:
After hearing such marvelous things about this book and the series as a whole, I just had to see for myself and was not at all disappointed. The Duke and I is a wonderfully sweet and charming story with engaging characters and some of the funniest dialogue.

Julia Quinn’s writing style makes it impossible not to feel for her characters. Simon is a heart-wrenchingly tortured hero but unlike the physical torment that many characters of this type endure, Simon’s suffering is all emotional and as such even more compelling. It is amazing that he is still capable of love after the rejection that he bore as a child.

Daphne is a spunky heroine and the way in which she handles both Simon and her brothers is inspiring. She and Simon have great chemistry and their banter is excellent. Their relationship develops in a predictable way. However, there is one questionable scene that some readers may find offensive. I don’t want to give too much away but suffice it to say that Daphne can be seen as taking advantage of Simon. I won’t say that the scene didn’t bother me because it places Daphne in a rather negative light but taken within the context of the story it is understandable if not quite acceptable.

The introduction to the other Bridgerton siblings is mainly focused on Anthony and Colin. While both brothers are sympathetic and engaging, Anthony’s overprotectiveness and belligerence is often grating and excessive. Nevertheless, the Bridgerton family dynamic is one of the highlights of the story and I look forward to reading the rest of the series soon. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
I enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters. As usual I had a few laughs. ( )
  MyaB | Apr 25, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julia Quinnprimary authorall editionscalculated
Desthuilliers, CécileTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neild, RobynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shabani, Susannesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terés Loriente, MireiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Danelle Harmon and Sabrina Jeffries, without whom I never would have turned in this book on time.
And for Martha of The Romance Journal electronic bulletin board, for suggesting I call it Daphne's Bad Heir Day.
And also for Paul, even though his idea of dancing is standing still while he holds my hand and watches me twirl.
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The birth of Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Bassett, Earl Clyvedon, was met with great celebration.
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By all acounts, Simon Basset is one the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it's all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy sutiors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it's hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it's his devilish smile, certainly it's the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her... but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke... for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love...
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380800829, Mass Market Paperback)

Setting: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: 7

Relentlessly pursued by match-making mamas and their charges, Simon Bassett, the handsome Duke of Hastings, has grown tired of the societal chase. Tired too is the lovely Daphne Bridgerton, whose matrimonially minded mother is set on finding her daughter the perfect husband. Neither Simon nor Daphne is happy with this annoying state of affairs and both would give anything for a little peace and quiet. Their mutual wish for a respite from the ton's marriage mart leads to a pretend engagement--a scheme that is threatened with exposure by Daphne's suspicious older brother, who happens to know Simon's way with women very well. The two never anticipated that a mutual attraction would lead to the very thing they set out to avoid--a wedding. But Simon fears that his painful past may keep him from being able to truly love anyone. And though Daphne cares for him deeply, she won't settle for anything less than his heart.

The Duke and I is rich with author Julia Quinn's trademark humor and engaging dialogue. Beneath the Regency charm of this novel, however, dwells an insightful exploration of the impact of childhood trauma and the healing power of love. Quinn just keeps getting better and better, a fact that's sure to delight readers. --Lois Faye Dyer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The rakish Duke of Hastings will stop at nothing to hold the marriagemongers and matchmakers of his town at bay, even if it means pretending to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton, but strong feelings soon intervene on both sides of this convenient arrangement.… (more)

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