Viscount Anthony Bridgerton is convinced that he’s going to die at age 39. Why? Because that’s when his father died and Anthony just cannot imagine ever doing anything better than his father, who is his idol. And so he decides to marry a woman who he will not love but who will provide him with children, namely an heir to carry on the Bridgerton line, and companionship for the remaining short years of his life. He singles out Edwina Sheffield, who is pretty and biddable, but doesn’t count on Edwina’s older sister, Kate. Anthony quickly develops a strong dislike for Kate, not realizing immediately that it’s because he wants Kate for his own; and I think you can take the story from there.
Another charming romance from Julia Quinn here. I really enjoyed how the slow approach went with this couple; they’re attracted to each other, but they both mask it with firm dislike and hatred for some time, sort of protecting themselves from their own feelings, until they realize that they actually enjoy each other’s company. I didn’t realize that some men (and women) really do believe that they will die young just because one of their parents did, but apparently this is a documented psychological phenomenon. That’s one of the things I like about Quinn. These books could get very predictable, but she always has an edge to the story that is outside what you’d expect from a romance novel, whether it be the girl who is always second best, the mental barriers present here, or a different take on a common fairy tale as we’ll see in the next book. It’s very easy to get attached to these characters, especially when members of the family continue to turn up in each successive book. Very amusing and very recommended for the romantics among us.