Another post another Bridgerton novel up for review! I honestly had planned to pace myself when it came to reading these books. I mean I devoured the show in one sitting and the only regret that I had was that it was over! I wanted to savor the books a little more and spread them out but sadly that is NOT happening.
I have really enjoyed Julia Quinn’s writing as the books have gone on. The first book, The Duke and I, was good but there were some issues that I struggled with, but as the books have gone on I have enjoyed getting to know the various Bridgerton siblings in new ways and watching their HEA unfold.
Eloise has been one of my favorite of the Bridgerton siblings. She is vivacious and chatty and self aware in a way that some heroines just aren’t at times. She is no nonsense and isn’t afraid to speak her mind in a rather unapologetic way and I love her for it. I have been really eager to read her romance since starting the series.
Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he’d proposed, figuring that she’d be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn’t. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth all he wanted to do was kiss her . . . and more. (Summary from Goodreads).
One thing was evident from the beginning of this book—it took a decidedly darker turn than any of the proceeding novels. The main love interest, Phillip, is a widow and his wife commits suicide like in the prologue before the story even starts. Starting off with such heavy content was a surprising twist but it didn’t put me off to the novel as a whole. Quinn as won me over throughout the series time and again when it comes to the various romances and I had to trust that this time would be no exception.
There was a lot to unpack in this one. Not just the suicide but the complexity of grief, guilt, and parenthood was at the forefront for the characters to address. Phillip is struggling to be a parent to his two children and the guilt at being terribly ill equip to be a father. I actually thought this was going to be an intriguing plot line for his character and one that I think any parent can relate to in some small way. I know I for one constantly question my choices about parenting so I think that readers would feel some sympathy toward him as a love interest.
But what rankled was his gruff personality and what he did with those parenting insecurities. This reminded me a little of a Beauty and the Beast style story. While not explicitly a Beauty and the Beast retelling, there were certainly similarities when it came to Phillips greater personality. He was perpetually hot and cold almost to the extent that he was an entirely different character. One mine he was bringing Eloise roses, a thoughtful and romantic gesture, and then next he was barely speaking to her and telling her what a nuance she was. I had a hard time with his mood swings. But more so than that, I think the biggest issue I had was that he was trying to smooth everything over with sex.
Rather than talk to Eloise he simply just wanted to have sex with her and have her manage his life. I seriously doubted his love for her even when he declared himself. I would have liked to have seen more in the way of romance than lust in this one. I am all for lusty heroes but with all the books thus far there has been a lot of personal growth for the male love interest and clearly signs of more in depth feelings leading up to the romantic declaration, or at the very least more introspection by the male leads, but in this one it seems more physically driven.
While I might have had issues with Phillip as a romantic hero, Eloise was delightful! I adored her just as much as I had in previous books. In fact more! She was funny, quirky, and a bundle of energy. I loved how she fully embraced who she was and all her faults and didn’t apologize for being who she was. I also loved seeing how she was with the Crane children. In the other books we don’t really get to see the characters as parents until the 2nd epilogue if at all and in this one it as great to see Eloise embrace this role as mother in this book. Overall this one was good but could have been better for me.
Book Info and Rating
Kindle Edition, 383 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Avon (first published July 1st 2003)
Review copy provided by personal collection. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: historical romance, romance