A review by morrigan_gaines_writes
The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn

challenging dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

 I was determined to read this before watching the show that everyone raves about. But now I don't know if I want to ever watch the show...

WARNING some mild spoilers and TW

At first I was drawn in. I loved Violet Bridgerton and the whole family. I loved their dynamics. Yes, there was misogyny, sexism, and other common issues for the era. Being a historical romance I went in expecting these. But the family dynamic made me happy. The way Anthony was set on making sure Daphne was okay with her future husband and how Violet interacted with her children was fantastic.

Daphne started losing her appeal almost halfway in. I think it was about the time that she kept pressing Simon to do things that she knew would put them on unstable ground. Like chasing her into the garden. But I forgave these things, even after she manipulated him into a marriage. I had a hope that she would turn around as a character.

But then this book broke me, and not in a good way.
I am not one to say that rape as a plot device doesn't have a place, and obviously being a traditionally published book there are no trigger warnings to warn us. My issue isn't with the plot device chosen but with how the author chose to resolve the issue.

Daphne never shows true remorse for essentially raping her husband when he was drunk so that she could have a chance at pregnancy. She gaslights him and rugsweeps the whole damn thing. She allows him to blame their breakup on his stuttering and never ever takes responsibility for her deplorable behavior in manipulating and raping him.

It's not ok. The story could have still had that conflict without it. OR even with it but with Daphne truly taking responsibility. But no.

It is rare that I want to take a character away from the author and wrap them in bubble wrap. But I want to steal Simon and shake him and tell him to find someone else. Daphne doesn't deserve Simon.

Daphne doesn't really evolve as a character for me. Simon goes through so much and his character has great development but Daphne just falls flat. Simon acknowledges how his anger towards his father affected Daphne and works to change. The whole thing left me aggravated and upset even after they got their HEA.

So 3 stars. It would have easily been 4 stars but the way the conflict was handled makes 3 stars a generous rating from me. 

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