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An Offer From a Gentleman (#84 on AAR's Top 100 Romances)

Julia Quinn

An AAR Top 100 Romance

originally published on June 8, 2001

 

I’ve said it before: I’m a sucker for Cinderella stories. An Offer From a Gentleman definitely takes its inspiration from Cinderella.

Sophie Beckett is the bastard daughter of the Earl of Penwood. She knows it, and she lives in his home as his “ward.” He marries the wicked stepmother, Araminta, who comes with two daughters, Rosamunde and Posy. When the earl dies, his will stipulates that Araminta gets thrice the amount of money if she shelters Sophie than she would if she turns Sophie out. So Sophie becomes the slave of the house until a masquerade ball becomes the catalyst for her to be tossed out of the home. The ball provides the magic moment when Sophie meets Benedict Bridgerton, a mere mister but still a wealthy and eligible bachelor. Circumstances bring them back together two years later when he rescues her from being raped at a party. There’s a strong attraction, and Benedict feels responsible for her safety and finds her employment as a maid in his mother’s home.

Sophie’s my kind of girl, especially when she’s around Benedict. She’s sassy and smart, and their repartee reminds me of me and my husband. She stands by her principles, and she’s practical. She knows what is realistic between her and Benedict, but she also can’t control her heart. I like this girl.

Benedict starts off as quite the romantic. He falls totally in love with the mystery woman, and searches for her for two years. One of the things that attracted Benedict to the mystery woman was that she really didn’t know he was a Bridgerton when they met. In two years’ time, though, he becomes more experienced and a little more jaded. When he first met Sophie, he seemed to not have had much experience with women. When he meets her again as herself, he’s got enough experience to ask her to be his mistress, but he’s still not quite the traditional rake. Thank goodness.

When Sophie and Benedict first meet at the masquerade, they set off sparks. Julia Quinn convinced me that they had eyes only for each other, and that they did indeed fall in love at first sight. Their initial meeting seemed pretty magical for this reader. They still had chemistry when they met again two years hence. Benedict was captivated with Sophie-as-mystery-woman, and no other woman ever measured up as a potential wife. Benedict held out for Cinderella. When he doesn’t recognize Sophie, she doesn’t tell him who she really is thinking no good could ever come of it. This, of course, creates problems later.

The rest of the Bridgertons (from the two previous books in this series), Penelope Featherington, and, of course Lady Whistledown, all make appearances. Violet Bridgerton, the matriarch of the family, has quite a major role in the second half of the book, and the way she rescues Sophie and delivers justice to Araminta, the wicked stepmother, is priceless. The confrontation between Violet, Sophie, Araminta, Benedict and Posy, Araminta’s less-well-liked child, were quite possibly my favorite part of the book.

Benedict and Sophie’s romance ended quite satisfactorily. Julia Quinn delivers another winner in Benedict’s story. While the humor was less laugh-out-loud obvious than in other stories, it’s still here, as is the sweet love story and likable characters. Quinn also delivers a bit of a cliffhanger as Lady Whistledown decides to put down her pen and live life. I’m still not sure if I know who she is. I can’t wait for Colin’s story.

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Book Details

Reviewer :      Andrea Pool


Grade :     B+


Sensuality :      Warm


Book Type :     


Review Tags :      |


11 Comments

  1. Anne Marble AAR September 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I’m glad to see this one! 🙂 I know I read it a while ago, but you’ve reminded me that this is something I should read again — a nice break from all the twisty psychological thrillers I’ve read lately.

  2. Cindy September 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Hmm, I’m thinking I should read again too! I don’t remember a lot of those plot aspects.
    Though I think I read the review carefully, I’m wondering why the reviewer did not give the book an ‘A’ -?

  3. Blackjack September 10, 2017 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    I found this entertaining though the stereotypes of the Cinderella heroine in need of rescuing by the prince and the dastardly villains populating the story annoyed me too much to love the book. The heroine is plucky and feisty and in the end punches people and clobbers the hero by throwing a candle at his head. Not terribly relatable and not really a book I would put in a top 100 list, but then again Quinn is not really an author I gravitate toward.

    • mel burns September 11, 2017 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      I agree, this book doesn’t IMO belong in the top 100 list.

  4. Caz Owens
    Caz Owens September 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    I have to say I’m with Blackjack in that I probably wouldn’t have included this in my Top 100. I’ve recently been revisiting the series in audio (as the first five books have recently been recorded) and I think it’s one of the weaker entries. I’ve got a soft spot for The Viscount Who Loved Me, which is the first JQ I ever read and my favourites are When He Was Wicked and To Sir Phillip With Love, which both showed how well JQ can do the less fluffier stuff. Still, it’s a strong series, and even the weaker books are entertaining and readable.

    • Blackjack
      Blackjack September 10, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      I want to read To Sir Phillip with Love. That has long been in my TBR pile. Thank you for reminding me of it!

      • Blackjack
        Blackjack September 10, 2017 at 9:39 pm - Reply

        BTW, I don’t know why my log-in image keeps changing. It’s so weird 🙂

      • Caz Owens
        Caz Owens September 11, 2017 at 7:38 am - Reply

        Sir Phillip was actually one of the two books in the series I had never read, and the reviews I’d read were somewhat mixed so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I listened to the new audio recently and it was fabulous. Not a fluffy story and the hero is problematic, but there are good reasons for that and there were some real lump-in-throat moments.

    • Dabney Grinnan
      Dabney Grinnan September 11, 2017 at 7:54 am - Reply

      My favorite is Romancing Mr. Bridgerton distantly followed by When He Was Wicked.

      • Amanda
        Amanda September 12, 2017 at 1:17 pm - Reply

        These are my two favorites as well, but only flipped!

  5. Amanda
    Amanda September 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    This is possibly my least favorite book in the Bridgerton series, tied maybe with the last one. I used to like it more, but the last time I reread (last year, maybe?) I just wasn’t feeling it at all, so it’s not one I plan to read again if I want to revisit the series.

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