Tuesday, August 7, 2012
So far, this is the only Julia Quinn book I've finished reading beyond the epilogue- that must say something about it. Penolope was an interesting character from the beginning. She makes her first appearance in the first book as a debutante in a ball. She's dressed by her mother in unflattering colors that make her look like 'an over ripe citrus fruit' in her own words. While her mother believes in her sisters' beauty and ability, Penolope seems to be destined to be a spinster. She fails to attract even a single marriage offer season after season and grows old as a spinster with her dear friend Eloise Bridgerton. Since she is Eloise's friend, the Bridgertons treat her as a part of the family and the Bridgerton mother forces her sons to dance with her year after year during balls so that she does not feel left out. However, Penolope knows that she's not any more interesting than the furnishings in the room.
She has always been in love with the third Bridgerton son, Colin (They're named alphabetically) because he is always kind to her. But she knows that this unrequitted love is not going to ever bloom because she hears him telling his brothers he doesn't want to marry her. Also, he's travelling all over the continent throughout the year and is rarely home. The book starts with news of him returning and thus, their love story begins.
The story takes place eleven years after The Duke and I. A certain Lady Whistledown, a daily gossip columnist seems to have gained a lot of notoriety during that time for her candid observations of London Society and first hand gossip. Much of the book revolves around finding the identity of Lady Whistledown because of a prize money to the person who discovers her identity. This sometimes seems to detract the focus from the main romantic plot. Mrs. Whistledown's observations appear in the first four books.
The hero, Colin Bridgerton is a 'charmer' who seems to be popular with the ladies. However, he is looking for meaning in his life so that he does not end up being 'an airheaded charmer'. Colin is well travelled and seems to be easygoing compared to the other two. His characters shows a few inconsistencies when his temper flares without reason but Julia Quinn somehow manages to still make him 'charming'.
The characters had chemistry especially in personality. Penolope was an interesting heroine who appears pitiable and lonely on the surface but has her own secrets- she's like a diamond that needs to be cut to shine. During the course of the book, Colin looks beyond the image that was created by society and discovers the true Penolope. Colin was good as a hero but paled compared to the first two(Simon and Anthony) and the heroine. His jerky transitions to an alpha male add a certain amount of inconsistency to his character.
Julia Quinn's dialogue has its own pros and cons. On the sunnier side, it is witty and humourous but on the dark side, does not keep in theme with the Regency era and sounds too short and 'modern'. The portrayl of manners suffer from the same problem- it is not purely historical-there are some things which were not considered acceptable at that time. Julia Quinn's strength lies in her characterisation and main plot. Unlike some authors who drastically alter the personality of all males in the series to make them alpha males in their own books, Julia Quinn keeps most of her character's individuality. Also, her heroines are not always beautiful or smart or feminist. They're all different. Wit however seems to be a part of all the heroines- maybe a side effect of her writing style.
Drags in the end