My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Gentle Readers, before this Author begins her review, she would state – and rather smugly at that – that the identity of Lady Whistledown was a foregone conclusion from the beginning of the book and anyone of minimal intelligence (and the Author possesses one that is above average) would have realized it. So there.
Ladies, (and gentlemen, if you are reading) meet Colin Bridgerton.
He is everything you would not want in a husband.
He is good-looking – so much that women swoon when he smiles. Not good for social or marital relations. Or self-esteem if you are as ordinary looking as Penelope.
He is charming – so much that, as Penelope says, he could get away with murder. Again, not a very desirable trait in a spouse who seems to lose his temper every other page.
He is educated and intelligent (since those two things can be mutually exclusive occasionally) – so much that he writes journals that are full of feeeeeeeeeeeeeels. Of places, of course.
He is rich enough – so much that he is the only Bridgerton brother I noticed who did not give his fiancee a ring.
But all this should not put you off, because, though he is stunningly perfect, Colin has FLAWS. Oh yes. They are called insecurities. You must be joking, I hear you say. Surely a man born into such a highly respected and privileged family, with natural charm and beauty, should want for nothing. But I do not jest dear readers, for Colin feels useless. He wants to leave his mark on the world, but he is not as talented or busy as his older brothers, so the our poor hero languishes in obscurity while half the women in London search hungrily for him. But, you ask, could he not get his butt out of his chair and actually do something? And that my dear reader, is the central mystery of this book. You do not understand it, I do not understand it, Penelope does not understand it. The only difference here is that Penelope is married to him, so she cannot spend her life wondering and has to find a solution instead. Meanwhile, we will still be in the dark as to why this is the defining conflict of the hero.
Let it be known that by no means do I hate Colin. Oh no, I love charming characters like him. It is just that I do not find him consistently believable. It is only when he is jealous of Penelope that I can relate to him. That makes sense to me, for you can love someone and be jealous of their achievements all the same. Relationships are complex that way.
On the other hand, Penelope is a far more likeable and believable character, because she is like most of us out there – not very pretty, not ugly and desperate for love. Her desire to be acknowledged, her dry wit, her love for her family and her dreams all made this Author fond of her, but I did not particularly feel a connection with her as I did with Sophie or Daphne. She always seems a bit a distant. This Author also had a duh moment when Penelope realizes that Colin has a temper and is capable of losing it.
I am well aware that is Historical Romance and some mindless enjoyment is part of the joy of reading it, but there is a distinct lack of credibility here. It is possible for Penelope to keep secrets from her family, but not one of the servants gossiped? And how did Colin go from this
after more than a decade? I believe in love conquering all, the inner beauty and everything, but I do not believe in a man having a complete turnaround of opinion in 5 minutes after 15 years. And after all that, the actual steamy scenes are very short.
That being said, the book does get credit for the humorous scenes, the general camaraderie between female characters and the unforgettable Lady Danbury, along with the way everyone eats so healthily, especially Colin and Penelope.
(No, I was not being sacrastic. It was refreshing to see them eat.)
The Author does admit that, given she has been reading the Bridgerton series in a row, the book might have been given a higher rating had it been read separately. But the lack of an interesting plot (all that really happens is Colin raging and Penelope worrying) makes her think not. It should be noted that Romancing Mister Bridgerton is far far better than many other books of the genre and is only lacking in comparison to the others in the series.
We won’t, Cressida.