by Julia Quinn

July 2002
ISBN: 0-380-82084-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Being a follower of Ms. Quinnís Bridgertons and a collector of her work, it was with great anticipation that I awaited this most recent installment of the Bridgerton series. Ms. Quinn once again delivers to us, the slavering masses, a story overflowing with humor and vitality.

Colin Bridgerton is dissatisfied with his life. Sure, heís wealthy, gorgeous, intelligent, charming and possesses a wonderful, loving family, but darn it!, his life lacks purpose. Even as one wants to roll their eyes and shake their head at him for being unhappy with such a life, itís possible to see where heís coming from. And as Colinís true character is revealed, one can understand how being one of the idle rich just isnít something heís inclined to.

Colin as the third son has no responsibilities and can come and go as he pleases. So, he does. He travels extensively, much to the dismay of his matchmaking mama. But, back in time for the season and intending to stay for the duration, Colin finds things are different. Heís tired of being thought of as the flaky, but exceedingly charming Bridgerton brother. He wants to add a bit of meaning to his life. But where to start? Okay, hereís my gripe, aimed more at Colin than the author, despite the fact that heís a fictional character. He lives in my head as well as in the hearts and minds of countless other readers, and thatís good enough for me. But, I digress, my gripe, such as it is, is that this otherwise wonderful man can be disturbingly shallow and on occasion a bit dense. I mean, HELLO, youíre rich, buy a clue! Or better yet, buy some clothes and donate them to charity, sponsor a foundling, feed a poverty stricken family or better yet, take a break from globe trotting and devote some time to those who are a lot less fortunate than yourself. But alas, Colin is who he was created to be. Heís underdeveloped in some areas but he makes up for it by breaking out of shallow mode and looking deeper into the heart of one who has been constantly overlooked.

Penelope Featherington has made appearances in the other Bridgerton books and Iím delighted that sheís the heroine of this one- a surprisingly deep heroine at that. Penelope has long had a crush on the handsome and unusually kind Colin, but has resigned herself to spinsterhood. Either ridiculed or overlooked by the ton Penelope is the last person anyone would truly believe to be a match for the ever popular and swoon-worthy Colin. But with some expert maneuvering by the talented Ms. Quinn, the romance between Colin and Penelope progresses well.

The rest of the Bridgertons make appearances, and fans of the series (did I mention Iím one?) will be updated on Bridgerton romances gone by, as well as what other recurring characters, loved and despised, are up to.

And the most exciting news, the revered, reviled, and humorously accurate Lady Whistledowne will be unmasked. And I must say folks, Ms. Quinn does a pretty good job of throwing out red herrings throughout the book.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton was a good book, made better by familiarity with many of the characters. As is, it would stand alone, but I recommend reading the preceding books first. However, barring that, once reading about Penelope, Colin and the Bridgerton tribe, youíll be hooked and go back to read the previous books anyway.

Reviewed in August 2002 by JaToya.

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