Today’s theme is #TBT – Longstanding Queens of Historical Romance! Be sure to check out the posts on Eloisa James & Lisa Kleypas too!
Through the years, I’ve heard many, many readers say that Julia Quinn was their gateway to romance.
JQ has MANY legacies in the romance world, but that one might be one of her best.
Her signature series is celebrating its 20th anniversary (birthday?) this year, and I think that is definitely something to cheer about.
Julia Quinn’s books are exquisite and charming, yet they have edge and can be darkly amusing (the Bridgerton penchant for winning-at-all costs Pall Mall matches is only one example), details and facets that make her books more textured and entertaining, but also more relatable and appealing.
These 18th and 19th century aristocrats are upper crust and entrenched in the London Ton, but they are also as competitive and cut-throat with their siblings as most of us are.
There is nothing in the writing game that Quinn isn’t good at, but she excels at creating profoundly accessible characters who are going through emotional events that feel so real we think we might reach through the pages and latch our elbows through theirs and lean in to give them an affectionate head bump.
You’ll get through this. We know because it’s a romance novel, but also because these men and women are there for each other. They’re stand-up people, and when the rest of the Ton falls into bad behaviors, the Bridgertons make a point of letting their siblings and friends know they won’t abandon them.
And really, at the heart of things, aside from True Love (which Quinn always delivers), what’s more satisfying than that?
If you haven’t discovered the Bridgertons yet, you have some really great reading in front of you. All the books stand alone, but you’ll appreciate them better if you read them in order, by series. (You can see them listed on Julia’s site here.)
I love everything she writes, and I believe she’s an elegant writer and engaging storyteller no matter what she’s writing. However, my favorite series are The Bridgertons and The Smith/Smythe Quartet, though I’m also very fond of her two anthologies – The Lady Most Willing and The Lady Most Likely – with Eloisa James & Connie Brockway.
Also, if you’re a fan if JQ at all, you probably know her Bridgerton series is coming to Netflix at some point. I expect the production is reeaally delyaed due to the pandemic, but it’s very exciting to think of it getting here someday!
(Five years ago I write a piece for NPR celebrating the 15th year of the Bridgertons – you can find it here if you’re interested.)
THE DUKE AND I
Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813
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 ruse to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors 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 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.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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