Series: Bridgertons #1
Author: Julia Quinn
Pages: 384 (Mass Market Paperback)
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
By all accounts, Simon Basset is on 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…
The Duke and I was so freaking cute! It has fake courting! My favorite! Daphne comes from a huge family and would like to start a family of her own. Unfortunately, the only men offering her marriage, are not ones that she can see herself with, and she doesn’t think they see her as more than a friend either. Meanwhile, Simon has sworn off marriage, but being a duke, all of the mothers are throwing their unwed daughters at him. A hilarious, random meeting brings the two together, and they decide that faking a courtship would be beneficial to them both.
I just loved everybody in The Duke and I! Simon has this tragic backstory that made me want to climb into the pages and hug him. He basically does everything to spite his father, who recently died. But he’s smart and funny! Daphne has four brothers, so she’s a bit more outspoken and bold than your average society miss. She knows how to handle men, and she won’t be put off by Simon’s rakish persona. And her family is hilarious! She has seven siblings and her mother, and everybody loves everybody and are a little overprotective. There’s just so much love oozing off these pages! And banter! Everybody banters!
Daphne and Simon are super cute together! I loved how they spent time together and actually had conversations. There wasn’t quite enough of their fake relationship for me at the beginning, but I enjoyed the scenes that were there very much. The tone of The Duke and I does change about midway through when Simon does agree to marry Daphne after a failed duel. Of course, she has to learn about his childhood and how awful his father was to him. Daphne also finds out the real reason Simon won’t have children. There is a very troublesome and uncomfortable scene in regards to that. Daphne does realize later that she shouldn’t have done it, but it still made me squirm. It’s also the reason I didn’t give five stars.
Aside from that one questionable scene, I loved The Duke and I! I can’t believe that I waited so long to read it! Not only does it use my all-time favorite trope, but it’s an amazing start to this series. I found that I really like, or am curious about, all of Daphne’s siblings who will be the stars of the following books. I also loved her mother and can’t wait to see more of her meddling!