Read an excerpt: here
When Simon Basset was born, he was his father's prayers answered. The Duke and his Duchess had been trying to have a child (more accurately, an heir) for years; resulting in 5 miscarriages, 2 of which were still-born. Despite the professional advisement against conceiving ever again, the Duchess gave her life to do her duty as wife and give her husband his heir. Her sacrifice was in vain, or so the Duke thought, when at the age of 4, it was realized that Simon couldn't speak properly. His father's indifference to the son whom wasn't perfect and therefore was better off dead, only fueled a motivation in said son to not only speak with brilliance but to be brilliant. Simon's intelligences soon made itself visible for all to see, and as intended, his father regretted his cruel behavior towards his son way-back-when.
Fast-forward to 1813, the death of his father and the end to his travels abroad; Simon is caught up in the social whirl once again. Being away from London for so long, he doesn't see the ambitious mamas plans for a full-blown assault until its too late. They are rearing and ready to sink there teeth into him, and Simon wants no part of it. After there is an odd encounter with the sister of his friend, Anthony Bridgerton, Simon soon finds himself dancing with her (once 'previous matters were taken care of'). Daphne Bridgerton is sort of the 'always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride' heroine, who is a normal and attractive female, but one whom men always seem to overlook. When Simon propositions her to form a mock-attachment so that he can evade tenacious social-climbers and so she can get the attentions she deserves, Daphne never expected to play her role TOO perfectly. She starts to fall in love with Simon, and after they are caught, in the garden at a ball in a compromising position, she is disheartened by Simon's vehement refusal to do as honor dictates. Anthony Bridgerton calls Simon out to a duel, and at one point, Daphne says " I've always known that I wasn't the sort of woman men dream of, but I never thought anyone would prefer death to marriage with me.".
Suffice to say, Simon's reasons befuddled Daphne beyond comprehension, but she couldn't let the man she loved die! So she puts a stop to the duel and convinces Simon to marry her. Although she is understandably dismayed at his proclaiming an inability to give her the children he knows she wants, Daphne realizes she'd rather live with the man she loved than have babies with the man she didn't.
Everything progress as planned, until Daphne begins to put 2 and 2 together and gets to the conclusion that her husband has been giving his seed to the sheets instead of to her womb (purposely using her ignorance to his benefit and preventing conception). His decision to withhold one of the greatest joys in life from Daphne stems from his hatred for his father and his determination to let the family line end with him. His emotional scars run deep, but his love for Daphne runs deeper; and eventually, he realizes that he should stop living to spite hid father and start living for himself (and for love).
Rating: 4 "Aww's"
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is when Daphne's mother has 'THE' talk with her right before her wedding day. It is so vague and strained that I started to feel embarrassed for Violet Bridgerton! At one point, Daphne, after her mother explains that a wife and husband engage in 'the marital act' and that's how a baby comes to be, asks her mother "Does that mean you did it 8 times?". Representing herself and her 7 brothers and sisters. Her mother is so flummoxed that she says No at first, which logically doesn't make since (no twins). It was a funny and cute scene and spilled over to the wedding night (or afternoon) when Daphne makes vocal assumptions that reflect the accusation that Simon is 'impotent' or 'unable to preform in the act' (which he proceeds to preform admirably, leaving now doubts in Daphne's head)
I have daddy-issue's too, Simon! LOL! But the message and lesson this story provides, all while keeping the reader entertained is wonderful. Emotion wasn't in short supply with this novel, that's for sure. There was action, climax, hysterical pregnancies; what more could you ask for? It's pretty simple; Read this shining example of well-written literature!
*The next book in this series is 'The Viscount Who Loved Me'(Book 2), Anthony's Story!/ My Review can be found: here
*Also check out another fabulous JQ novel, 'To Catch An Heiress' ! The first JQ book for me. The one that started it all =]