Print Length: 433 pages
Publisher:  Avon (December 5, 2000)

From Goodreads.com:  In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule...

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

DISCLAIMER: If like me, you have watched and enjoyed season one of the Netflix adaptation, but have NOT read the book, you may want to consider leaving it that way. I wish I had. 

This book started off strong. I absolutely ADORED Daphne when she was with her siblings. The witty banter between the siblings had me laughing out loud at more than one point. Even their mother was an absolute treasure in the books (with more wit than she seemed to possess in the show). I even adored her early friendship with Simon, as you could tell there was chemistry there even if they couldn't see it themselves (at first). 

In fact, I was sure this was going to be a solid 4-star read (or perhaps even my first 5-star read of the year). 

And then that scene happened. 

And while I can appreciate how it was "glossed over" for the show, the book version? No. I'm sorry. It was abhorrent. And had the roles been reversed, I'm positive these books wouldn't be as popular as they are (much less turned into a Netflix series). 

Daphne took advantage of the Duke's inebriated state to get what she wanted. I CHEERED when Simon left her (even though I was annoyed that it was due to his stutter and not what she had done), and I actually hoped that when he eventually found himself face to face with her (as all historical novels have a happily ever after regardless of how undeserving the characters), he would make her prove HERSELF to him. But no. 

Despite everything, it was still HE who apologized to HER. And HE who decided after everything that kids might not be such a bad idea after all. 

I highly doubt I will read more from this series, I will just perhaps watch the Netflix adaptations and be thankful they don't show the darkside of the novels as I'm sure the others likely have them as well. 

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                                        The Duke and I is available from Amazon.com