A review by leahsbooks
An Offer From a Gentleman, by Julia Quinn

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

3.0

I've been enjoying a good Bridgerton audiobook ever since watching Season 1, but this book just didn't hit the mark as much as the others for me. Some parts were good, but others were infernally frustrating. 

The Cinderella aspect of the story was great, and exceptionally well-done. There was a little twist to it, and I love the idea that one night changed the lives of the two main characters so dramatically, even years later. However, there was a heavy emphasis on my very least favorite trope in romance, the concept of insta-love. Sophie and Benedict fell in love after knowing each other for literally minutes, and stayed stuck on that idea for such a long time, which didn't feel realistic. I liked seeing how the relationship developed between them later on, once they interacted on a regular basis, as opposed to the immediate connection that they had formed.

I liked Sophie's character and her feisty personality, but she had a horrible tendency to keep secrets and consistently make situations worse. It's like she stuck to her lies come hell or high water, even when it was blatantly obvious to everyone that no one was believing them. Plus, she wasn't even good at lying a lot of the time. It was incredibly frustrating, and I frequently wanted to shake her and shout at her to tell the truth.

Benedict was another one who frustrated me to no end. He tried to get Sophie to be his mistress, since there was clearly no way he'd ever consider marrying below his station, and then when she wouldn't agree, he basically forced her to become a servant in his mother's house. Granted, it was the best opportunity she could have gotten, but it also stripped away her ability to speak up for herself and make decisions that she wanted to make for herself. The other thing that made me seriously dislike him, was that he warned her to let him know if she didn't want to have sex well in advance, because he wouldn't be able to stop after that point. 

This isn't the first time that the Bridgerton series has been problematic around consent, since there was a scene with Daphne and Simon where consent was not given for a specific act. I didn't like how this story outright states that consent can only be given up to a certain point, at which there is no turning back. At times it feels like the author is almost guiding us towards a sense of feminism even in the repressed times in which the story is set, while at the same time, promoting rape culture and anti-feminism. 

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