Read an excerpt: here
Sophie Beckett is the natural daughter of the sixth Earl of Penwood. Although everyone is aware of her birth status, it isn't until her father marries the menacing Araminta, that her bastardship becomes a problem. After her fathers death, she basically becomes her step-mother and step-sister's personal slave. Araminta is disgruntled with Sophie's mere presences under the same roof as her, and her eldest daughter, Rosamund follows suit. The only one who is somewhat civil to Sophie is the lesser daughter, Posy, whom has to fall back to the shadows when her over-bearing sister craves the spotlight (which is always). The only reason Araminta 'takes care' of Sophie is because of a stipulation in her late husband's will which dictates it.
At the age of 21, Sophie is still under the Penwood Park roof with scarcely a pound to her name when she gets the chance to go to her first ball, unbeknownst to her step-relatives. The ball is a masquerade being held at Bridgerton House, and she turns out to be the belle of the ball. She also succeeds in attracting the catch of the season, Benedict Bridgerton. They slip away for a private moment, dancing (or learning to dance), looking into each others eyes, diveing into each others souls and sharing a passionate kiss, all before the clock strikes twelve. Benedict never gets Sophie's identity before she dashes out of the party (to make it home before Araminta and her daughter arrive home) and is plagued by his memories of his mysterious temptress who left behind a 'musty' old gloves.
Sophie soon leaves Penwood Park shortly after the masquerade and an incident with Araminta, and must find a way to support herself. Both Benedict and Sophie endure two years of separation and longing, wondering about all the possibilities that masquerade could of resulted in; but when their paths cross again, it will be when Sophie is being man handled and Benedict's comes to her rescue. In turn, it begins to rain on their way back to Benedict's cottage and he catches a serious cold, leaving his welfare up to the woman he doesn't know he's been fantasizing over for two years.
To ensure she will be well taken care of in the future, Benedict installs Sophie at his mother's house in London. Little does he know, he's setting her and himself up for delirious temptation and he can't help but want to make Sophie his mistress (because marrying your mother's employee just isn't done).Sophie has been through enough turmoil in her life at the hands of her bastardhood that she would never risk laying with Benedict and producing a child to suffer the same fate as she did. it will take an open heart and a little help from the formidable Violet Bridgerton to bring true love together at the alter where it belongs.
Rating: 4 1/2 "Aww's"
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is when Benedict saves Sophie from being raped by her employer's son while he is having a party at the family estate while they are away. Benedict decides to take her to his cottage, which isn't far away, but it begins to pour down rain and Benedict soon catches a hell of a cold. With limited resources, Sophie must try and nurse him back to health. These few scenes provide us with the drama we always know to expect in a Quinn novel. It was just excellently done and helped transition the reader into the next leg of the story.
Overall, this book was a homerun. It is so easy to fall into cliche's and RUIN classics, but JQ avoided that fate, all while spicing up a fan favorite fairy-tale. It was much darker than a lot of Cinderella remakes I've read in the past, but it had the right balance of light-hearted banter, romantic quality and character development. A definite must-read.
* Next in the Bridgerton series is 'Romancing Mister Bridgerton' (Book 4). Colin and Penelope's story!/ My Review can be found: here
*Make sure you also check out 'What Happens In London'/ My Review can be found: here