The second novel in this series about eight siblings in Regency London and their adventures as they try to find suitable spouses is remarkably like the first novel, The Duke and I.
I mean, really remarkably like it.
I mean, like, it’s the exact same story. Well, not completely. But close enough.
Anthony Bridgerton is the oldest of the Bridgerton siblings. Having seen his father die at the young age of 38, Anthony is convinced the same fate awaits him. At the age of 30, he’s managed to avoid any serious romances and has quite the reputation as a rake. At the same time, he’s considered the most eligible bachelor among the mothers wishing to find a good match for their daughters.
After his sister’s wedding, Anthony has a bit of a change of heart and realizes he has a responsibility to carry on the Bridgerton line. He decides he will choose a bride this season. It will not be a match of love, for he does not wish to leave behind someone he loves, but rather of convenience and pragmatism.
Kate and Edwina Sheffield are in town for the season, hoping to make good matches. Kate is the elder of the two half-sisters, but it is Edwina who is the diamond of the season. Kate wants to see her sister happy and is determined to make sure the match she makes is a good one.
Anthony sets his eyes on Edwina, simply because she’s “the best” and doesn’t he deserve that as the most eligible bachelor. However, his reputation as a rake means Kate will do anything to stop the pairing.
In The Duke and I, you had Simon and Daphne where Simon had a reputation as a rake and Daphne was using him to try and get a good match. They are forced together due to this and fall in love. Here, you have Anthony wanting to woo Edwina, but forced to contend with the sister and change her mind about approving of him. Both men are damaged by their past and that is what holds them back from wanting love and a family. Both men end up falling in love despite themselves.
And did I mention, that both times they are forced to marry very quickly after being compromised? And they both fall in love despite all of their resistance to that happening?
I started reading this series after watching the Netflix series and so far, this is a case where the television adaptation is miles ahead of the books. This particular book is next in line to be adapted, and it can only really go up from here.
Anthony was the doting older brother to Daphne in The Duke and I. He was her protector, and someone she looked up to. In The Viscount Who Loved Me, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to be with him, except out of necessity. There is a certain necessity to Kate and Edwina’s plight as their father passed away, leaving the family with not much in the way of assets. This is why the two girls are debuting together in the season.
However, Anthony behaves poorly again and again. For someone who was so against his sister marrying the Duke, he is acting just like him, if not worse. Quinn tries to cast some of what happens in a humorous light, but quite a bit does not come off as funny.
There are moments that are good. Lady Whistledown is still here peddling her gossip sheets. Anyone who has watched the series is already well aware of who she is, but it’s not yet revealed to the reading audience. Her narration of events can be fun to read. The descriptions of the setting and the clothes of the era, as well as the customs, are very entertaining.
If I didn’t think I was going to be watching these series coming up, I’d probably give up on the series here. There’s just not enough I really like about it to keep me coming back. I’m not heavy on romance novels, to begin with, and there’s not enough substance to this that I want to keep reading.
Previous book in the series (link): Bridgerton – The Duke & I
Next book in the series (link): Bridgerton – An Offer From a Gentleman