Thursday, 5 July 2012

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgertons, #4)
Title: Romancing Mister Bridgerton
 Author: Julia Quinn

Published: July, 2002 by Avon Book
Pages: 460
Series:  Bridgerton series #4
Rating:4/5 stars

Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for... well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret... and fears she doesn't know him at all. 

Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. 

But when Colin returns to London from a trip aboard, he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same, especially Penelope Featherington, the girl haunting his dreams! 

And when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide... is she his biggest threat, or his promise of a happy ending?

Lovers of contemporary classics, step this way and enter the world of plots, twists, betrayal and of course romance, but Julia Quinn’s most famous book series; ‘The Bridgeton’s’. This is the fourth books of the series. Granted, it doesn’t carry the same awe and spine tingling feeling that any Jane Austen novels do, but its close enough.
The plot of the story revolves around the mystery of who Mrs Whistledown could be, where she is featured in the other previous books. Hence why one should read the whole series in order, to fully appreciate the tale (despite the fact that I didn’t!!! But I enjoyed every minute of it).

Penelope is a twenty-eight year old spinster who has to chaperone her younger sisters at balls and parties. She has always been a wallflower, quite invisible to the rest of the ton. Adding to the list, she has been always slightly overweight (which is no fine virtue for women at the ton and one that will not find you any suitors, mind you), is tremendously shy and is described a rather plain looking girl.
Being at the Bridgeton Household, where Penelope constantly visits her friend and is treated as another member of the family, she is rather like a neutral colour, black or white. She is something safe and constant but nothing at all exciting. Not like the other vibrant and rich personalities that you see at the Bridgeton household, where each member is treated like royalty (or rather because they are seen by the Ton as the kings and queens everyone aspires to be like).

Since the age of sixteen she has been in love with her friend’s brother, who does not acknowledge her in that way, just maybe a little pathetic but pleasant and intelligent nevertheless and only regarded her as another sister. But different side to her knows that she is cunning and how she kept her secret all this time, just goes to prove that.
However, towards the end of the book, her character becomes a little bit confusing, she is not the same before and I want to know what the author was trying to portray through this. It doesn’t seem like she has become mature, but submissive to Colin even more, where she doesn’t question his motives or actions but simply goes with whatever he says and does.

Colin is the third of four brothers. A typical womaniser and him being a suitable bachelor for anyone, is a catch for all the single young ladies (his mother is forever bringing up the topic of marriage. Well what would you except from a single mother of eight children?) His charm, easy going nature and extremely good looks is what makes the ladies swoon at their feet whenever he passes by them (most the the Bridgeton men actually have that effect on all the ladies in the ton.....even the elderly one!). Seeing that his two older brothers has found something worthwhile in their lives, something to put their name on, he feels rather useless, since he hasn’t found that passion or made any major accomplishments he sees in his brothers. So he travels abroad often anytime his bored. Upon his return from Cyprus, he meets Penelope again, and sees her in a new light. He regards her more mature and become more intrigued in her. Their friendship soon grows, but he doesn’t fully understand these new found feelings he is experiencing towards her until the very end. I found him to be extremely adorable when he was confused about his feelings and went to see his eldest sister for conformation. Could it possibly be love?....Was the Colin Bridgeton actually capable of experiencing this emotion?

A typical love story that has a happy ending (aww don’t you just love a right old good fashion ending?). Colin and Penelope are well-drawn characters, both displaying intelligence and vulnerabilities that they try to hide from the world. Yet both can see below the surface and it is this look at each other that causes them to fall into love. Their sense of understanding each other as their relationship helps add fire to the story.
A typical love story that has a happy ending. Although in this case, Penelope was not the ugly duckling turning into stunning dove that caught Colin’s eyes.  But more like someone who has grown mature and sophisticated and which only Colin fully saw once his eyes were open. 

Colin’s secret is not actually a secret but more like a talent that he doesn’t want anyone to know. Penelope is the one with the real secret, and even though it was a shock to find out how this sweet girl did it, we do get hints throughout the whole book and it sums up.
Of course, most of the previous heroes and heroines in Julia Quinn’s books make an appearance. However, one will not get lost if you haven’t read the other previous books. It’s quite simple to follow.

The language was very easy to read and I love how the author used formal language in a way that wasn’t difficult to comprehend. The story flows easily with one part to the others, with some passages being tod through either one’s perspective. I especially like the way the author orders the books by using the alphabet of each of the Bridgeton children’s names.
However, there were a lot of very detail descriptive erotic scenes that did make me skim it over. That was part I did not like, but I do understand that Julia Quinn’s readers may like details bedroom parts along the way to add flavour to the love story and spice up the whole book. Let’s just say its veryyyy different from the Jane Austen era, where romance and intimacy were strictly limited within the novels.  This book however, intimacy is very open and each tiny detail is lengthened to great extents to fully capture the intensity between 

Penelope and Colin’s relationship. Still, not something that I particularly liked, especially not on a light stomach where the possibility of my lunch might resurface again!
Despite this, this Quinn novel gives a nice look at the Regency period (excluding the bedroom scenes) and the actions of the ton. All members recognise their need to conform to society or risk being ridiculed.
I enjoy delving into the other books in this particular series (not to mention to read to previous ones!).

Notable quotes/passages:

Chapter 5- “Here the sand ripples between tan and white, and the consistency is so fine that it slides over a bare foot like a whisper of silk. The water is a blue unimaginable in England, aquamarine with the glint of the sun, deep cobalt when the clouds take the sky. And it is warm— surprisingly, astoundingly warm, like a bath that was heated perhaps a half an hour earlier. The waves are gentle, and they lap up on the shore with a soft rush of foam, tickling the skin and turning the perfect sand into a squishy delight that slips and slides along the toes until another wave arrives to clean up the mess”.

Vlog review (click on ThePageTurners1 link for more):

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