Publication Date: August 25, 2009
In Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, Colin Bridgerton has been traveling the Regency world and is not surprised when he returns to be the focus of the matchmaking mamas. He understands that he must start looking for a wife and is greatly surprised when his sister’s best friend, Penelope, is the woman catching his eye. Penelope has had a crush on Colin for years but is a realist. At 28, she is firmly on the shelf and destined to watch her beloved Colin raise babies with one of the glittering young women new to the marriage market. When it becomes clear to Penelope that Colin isn’t the carefree man he projects to the world, will his inner darkness scare her away? Romancing Mister Bridgerton is the fourth book in the Bridgerton series.
Continuing with the romance theme leading up to Valentine’s Day, I’d like to introduce my readers to the best novel from one of my favorite Regency romance family series. Edmund and Violet Bridgerton had eight children and they are the nicest group of young people one could imagine having the pleasure of reading. Each has complexity and depths of their own making for a rich tapestry and unique damage if only because of the way their strong father was removed from their lives (Edmund passes on prior to the beginning of the series). The Bridgertons are charming, likable, fun-loving and share a true family bond. From the moment we meet them via Daphne Bridgerton in “The Duke and I,” readers know that this is a family with whom they will stay until the very end.
Colin Bridgerton is by far the most interesting of the bunch. I think he must be Quinn’s favorite as well as she pairs him with Penelope Featherington who, I believe, has the most interesting backstory of all of the Bridgerton love interests. Having read much of what Quinn has written she seems to have a special fondness for characters that are socially awkward and yet bitingly intelligent. The repartee between the clever and playful Colin and shy but brilliant Penelope reads like the best episode of Gilmore Girls, which I think, is a comparison Quinn would probably love.
Quinn starts building all of the Bridgerton’s in the first novel and Colin shows well. He’s a little too fun and a little too clever. Quinn describes him as devastatingly handsome but to me, he read as the good-looking boy next door. He’s a younger son and has no aspirations toward the estate. The impression that Colin gives is one of carefree irresponsibility, but he is a man with a deep sense of loyalty and family duty. Colin in Romancing Mister Bridgerton is a man looking for a greater purpose.
Penelope is a woman used to living under the radar. She likes being unnoticed and left unremarked. She seems to be a favorite of the intimidating and frank Lady Danbury who does not fail to remind the reader of the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey who, of course, came much later. She easily lives a secret life because, in all honesty, no one cares. Her life is planned and it’s easy and probably, in Penelope’s mind, a life to which she’s best suited.
A running thread through the novel is the gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown, and she is making life difficult for the prospective young couple. The Lady is biting, though not cruel and she is the woman making sure no one hides in the shadows. Quinn’s crafting of the mystery lady and her writing is nothing short of hilarious fun.
The plot of Romancing Mister Bridgerton is clever, fast and involves the whole of Regency society. While the true charm of the story is the banter, the story does have a purpose and a tension which seems to be something Quinn held back as especially worthy of these characters.
When all comes together, Romancing Mister Bridgerton is the story of two remarkably likable young people working against the odds. Will they or won’t they get together? While in most romance novels you could say with certainty they will, this is not the case with Romancing Mister Bridgerton and that air of uncertainty is a wonderfully delicious draw.
If you’re looking for a fun and interesting historical romance read, pick up Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Don’t forget to let me know what you think. Is Colin your new fictional boyfriend or would you be wishing him a happy February 14th? Let me know.
Read an excerpt and buyRomancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn on