A good story but somehow not quite gripping enough,
This review is from: Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Avon Romance) (Mass Market Paperback)
The first couple of paragraphs of this book are fantastic - light-hearted, amusing, witty - and I settled down for a gripping and brilliant read. Sadly I didn't get entirely that. This was a good book, like Ms Quinn's others, but it wasn't quite as good as some and because of that I was disappointed.
This is the fourth book in the series (following "The Duke And I", "The Viscount Who Loved Me" and "An Offer From A Gentleman") and is the story of Colin Bridgerton, third son, and Penelope Featherington. Penelope gets mentioned in most of the other books and in fact there is one scene in "An Offer From A Gentleman" which features Penelope and Colin and is repeated in this book.
In some ways I really liked the premise of this story - it's the good old friends who know each other for years and years and then somehow find themselves falling in love and getting married. It's so nice for the slightly dumpy and apparently dull woman to get the dishy man - most Regencies have beautiful debutants striding onto the scene and ensnaring wonderful men instantly. Penelope waits 12 years for her man - but she gets him!
Penelope is a great character in this book. She's not particularly beautiful but she has brains and wit and somehow in this book she discovers a bit more self-confidence or gumption to change her life a little. Colin also is trying to step out of the shadows of his two older brothers and find a purpose in life - these interactions were well drawn and believable. In fact it's in character drawing that Julia Quinn excels and I very much appreciate the way in which her large cast of characters all have their own behaviours.
A lot of this book is focused on Lady Whistledown - a plot device used well in most of the other books but probably rather outstaying its welcome. Fortunately Lady Whistledown is unmasked in this book - probably rather more of this was made than strictly necessary.
This book also sets the scene for the next ("To Sir Philip With Love") which features Eloise who was Penelope's best buddy. I like the way the books are interlinked and that we can follow on with the relationships of those who've been married off in earlier books.
Overall this is still a good book, much better than most Regencies on the market at the moment, but it's a little disappointing when compared with some of Julia Quinn's others in this series. However, an honourable mention goes again to the excellent new artwork on the UK edition - such a refreshing change for Regency books to have attractive and fun and non-cringeworthy artwork!