First Lines: The birth of Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset, Earl of Clyvedon, was met with great celebration. Church bells rang for hours, champagne flowed freely through the gargantuan castle that the newborn would call home, and the entire village of Clyvedon quit work to partake of the feast and holiday ordered by the young earl’s father.
So after watching the Netflix series, I, like many others, immediately felt the need to read this series. The unfortunate thing? My library’s only ebook copy of this book was in three-in-one Kindle book of the first three books in the series. Which meant I waited TWO MONTHS to get this. Actually, that wasn’t really a bad thing because it allowed me to give the books a fair chance. (If you haven’t seen the show, no big deal.)
Daphne Bridgerton, the fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, has failed to land a suitor. Oh sure, she forms many friendships with eligible men, but none view her as a potential wife. She’s kind and witty, but she’s also too honest for most. Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, wants nothing more than to shun society and their constant focus on marriage. Recently returned from years abroad, Simon simply wants to live his life and forget about his harsh childhood. But with every mama throwing her eligible daughter at him, Simon needs a better plan. After a surprising run-in with Daphne, a new plan emerges: a fake courtship. For Simon, this means getting the mamas off his back. For Daphne, this means men finally seeing her as desirable. The plan is perfect…until it stops feeling like pretend…
Probably no surprise to anyone, I liked the book better than the show. With that said, I’ll do my best to refrain from making this a comparison review and just stick to the book. (We can do a comparison review later, if you want.)
What I really enjoyed about this book was Daphne’s strength. Whether she’s being sarcastic, standing up for herself, or trying to help Simon through his issues, Daphne was a gem. And she’s got a mean right hook. She was simply delightful. Not that Simon wasn’t as well, but Daphne is definitely the real scene stealer here. Any time the two of them have any real back-and-forth, Daphne is so much more entertaining.
I also really liked this introduction to the Brigerton family, particularly Anthony, who was someone I didn’t totally care for in the show. Anthony’s motives are far clearer in the book and he truly is just an overprotective big brother who wants the best for his family. But really, all of them that we get to see are really fun. Oh, particularly Violet, their mother. Oh man, was she funny.
The plot does revolve around relationship issues and how to deal with them and it felt pretty real. A bit melodramatic at times (ok, a lot of the time), but overall interesting and well-meaning. Seeing Daphne and Simon’s relationship struggles really does show that you might think you know what’s going on in a relationship, but an outsider never truly does.
The banter in this was absolutely hysterical. There were multiple times I giggled out loud at something Daphne or Simon said. It made for a good time and I definitely wanted to keep reading to see them do it again.
This was fun and cute and better than I was expecting.