All Review Romance

‘The Duke and I’ By Julia Quinn: Review

In light of how popular the Netflix Original Series ‘Bridgerton’ is, I decided to try reading the original books of the series starting with The Duke and I. I haven’t seen the show, but it looks very elaborate considering this is set during Regency England. On to the review!

Before we get started, I want to clarify that some links on this page are affiliate links wherewith no additional cost to you, I will get a small commission if you decide to purchase the product after clicking the link. Disclosure policy here.


Tags: Historical Romance | Regency Romance | Fiction | Romance
Adult Content: A little, just enough to make it more of an adult book. But in my opinion, it’s not descriptive enough to be too NSFW (subjective).


The Duke and I is the first novel in the Bridgertons books series, that has now been adapted to a Netflix series (currently on Season 2). The novel takes place in Regency London, where the children of aristocrats are taught the ways of polite society. In The Duke and I, we focus on Daphne Bridgerton, who is the fourth of eight siblings of the close-knit Bridgerton family.

Daphne doesn’t manage to follow most of the ton’s rules and has found herself forming friendships with most of the eligible men in London. Everyone likes Daphne, but no one desires her outside of friendship. Then there is the Duke of Hastings; Simon Basset, who has no plans to marry or fit into society at all due to his painful childhood. Somehow the two end up faking a courtship so Simon can deter marriage-minded mamas, and Daphne can improve her desirability.

Their plan works like a charm until it love becomes a factor.

The main characters in the book are Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset the Duke of Hastings. 

First off, I do have to warn you guys that while I did like the book there are some readers that were put off by some of the content inside. To sum it up, there is a part when consent was not given by Simon and it was blatantly ignored. Not to mention, I feel like the lack of communication between the couple is one of the main reasons for their troubles. . . moving on!

Right off the bat, there are two common Romance tropes that are clear; The Best Friend’s Little Sister and The Fake Relationship. These two are so common in the Romance genre, but still so enjoyable. I don’t think I’ve seen both in the Historical Romance genre yet, so it was interesting to listen to!

I borrowed the audiobook on Libby through the Toronto Public Library, and while the audiobook was longer than others I’ve tried, I finished it within 4 days. I, frankly, loved it. It’s been a while since I had a nice Historical Romance book, and I could see the hype for it and for the Netflix Original Series.

*Contains Spoilers*

I didn’t actually read any reviews before starting, and when I got to the part when Simon and Daphne were having sex but she purposefully allowed the act to finish (increasing her chance of getting pregnant). I was very uncomfortable, and afterwards, I saw a lot of reviews giving the book a low rating because of it.

I wished I saw some of those reviews first, maybe it would’ve given me a glimpse of what to expect? But I’ll be honest, some reviews nowadays end up summarizing the plot without proper spoiler tags…

Comparing it to other (free) Historical Romance books and audiobooks I’ve consumed, this was well written and I feel like (at least in the audiobook) there were some modernizations done for the wording. I can’t remember for sure, so please don’t quote me on that.

The characters were okay, and I feel like they had a good pace for character development MUCH later in the storyline. I really didn’t like how Daphne seemed to bounce back and forth between being a very pushy person or a little bit of a pushover, and Simon’s lack of communication with Daphne was also a problem.

Having read quite a few Historical Romances, I’m not uncommon with the ‘ruination’ side of “polite society” during these eras. For those new to this, I’m not sure if it’s historically accurate, but a woman is considered ‘ruined’ if she is caught in a compromising position with a man.

The compromising position could range from having dishevelled clothing, being caught kissing (in Daphne’s case) or being caught with a man without a chaperone. When this happens, the couple caught are usually forced to marry. This is a very very outdated practice, and I can see why a lot of people didn’t like that it was a part of the book.

Overall, the book was good. The factors that kind of brought it down for me were the character’s “personalities” and Daphne’s blatant ignorance of Simon’s lack of consent. I think people who have read Historical Romances before will like this book, but it might be a bit of a leap for those just starting.

Like the sound of the novel? You can buy it here:

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