Julia Quinn has a new book out, What Happens in London, and I've read several reviews. And they all mention how great her Bridgerton series is. My SIL loves Julia Quinn, but she tells me I should read them in order. If the rest of the books are as good as this one, I've got another author to add to my favorites list. I loved this book - I couldn't put it down!! And so it begins....
It opens with the sad story of a lonely little boy, Simon, whose father, the Duke of Hastings, won't acknowledge him because of his stutter. His mother died during childbirth. He spends his childhood trying to impress his father and overcomes his stutter and goes off to college. He then goes abroad, harboring a hate for his father, until his father dies.
Then we meet the Bridgertons - Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth, oh, and their mother, Violet. Anthony, Benedict, Colin, and Daphne are attending a ball when Simon arrives. Simon is a friend of Anthony's from Oxford and is attracted to Daphne until he realizes she's Anthony's sister. After attending a few balls where the mothers of eligible daughters keep pushing them onto the eligible bachelors, Simon and Daphne hatch a plan to fake an attachment to avoid all the matchmaking. It works, to a point. Simon and Daphne cannot stop the attraction between them, and when they are caught kissing behind a hedge, Daphne's brother demands they marry. Simon has major baggage from his childhood and is determined not to marry or have children, so he refuses. Anthony challenges him to a duel over his sister's honor. Daphne runs out to the duel and stops it and convinces Simon to marry her. He explains he can't have children and, despite her disappointment at this news, agrees to marry him.
They marry, and are happy, until Daphne realizes it's not that Simon can't have children, it's that he won't have children. They have a huge arguement and he comes home drunk. Daphne ends up tricking into "finishing" and he is furious. He leaves her to stay at another of his estates. She returns to their home in London and hopes she is pregnant. Once she realizes she is, she sends him a note. He's been miserable without her, and she's been miserable without him.
He comes back, thinking she's pregnant, but it turns out she's not. They have a heart-to-heart and he agrees to try for a family. The epilogue is sweet and satisfying.
I loved this book - the characters are charming and I <3 the whole Bridgerton family!