Desert Isle Keeper Review

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Julia Quinn
2000, European Historical Romance (Regency England)
Avon, $6.99, 376 pages, Amazon ASIN 0380815575
Part of a series

Grade: A
Sensuality: Warm

This book was featured in Pandora's Box for December, 2000

If an author has done her job, I will be swept away into another world and introduced to people I would like to know in real life, and when I leave this fictional world I will have been moved in some way. With The Viscount Who Loved Me, Julia Quinn has most definitely done her job.

Anthony Bridgerton lost his father when he was eighteen. There was no one he loved or respected more. Sitting next to his father, trying to come to terms with his death, Anthony comes to the realization he can never be a better man than his father. This includes being incapable of living any longer than his father had, and Anthony decides that fate will cut his life short too. Therefore he decides to live life to the fullest, and never ever to fall in love.

Fast forward about a decade and Anthony, realizing time is short, decides he must marry and produce an heir. He asks his brothers who is the jewel of the season. They tell him that it is Edwina Sheffield. Anthony decides that Edwina would make the perfect viscountess. There’s only one little problem: Edwina has stated she will not marry without her sister Kate’s approval, and Kate detests Anthony based on his reputation as a rake and rogue. Anthony must woo Kate to win Edwina. The only problem is, before he knows it he’s losing his heart to Kate.

I absolutely adored Kate and Anthony. Both are intelligent, witty people, and it was a pure joy to watch their vocal sparring. Even though he’s trying to get in Kate’s good graces, Anthony cannot help but bait her, and Kate, no matter how she promises her mother and sister, can’t seem to stop herself from snapping at him. Yet they find themselves liking each other more and more, the more time they spend together. Even though it stands in his way of marriage, Anthony understands Kate’s protectiveness towards Edwina. Kate is touched by his devotion to his family, but what truly wins Kate over is when Anthony comes to rescue of poor Penelope Featherington. Penelope was being verbally tortured and Anthony gives her tormenter the cut direct and makes Penelope the center of positive attention. Right then Kate realizes that, though Anthony may be a rake he is truly an honorable man.

Of course the road to true love never runs smoothly. Anthony and Kate have more stumbling blocks in the way to happiness than his early determination to marry her sister. Anthony doesn’t want to fall in love because he doesn’t want to regret leaving someone behind when he dies and so fights it tooth and nail. Yet, not once did I feel the urge to yell at him “get over it.” His reasons, though apparently trite, were actually understandable. Especially since he does not become cruel in his attempts to put distance between himself and Kate. He always treats her with care and tenderness. He makes sure Kate knows she’s beautiful (something she’s always doubted because society compares her to her petite, blond, and dainty sister) and lets her know how much he desires her and has from the beginning. Even when he can’t tell her he loves her, she knows she’s important to him.

Once again we are treated to the notes from the mysterious Lady Whistledown first introduced in The Duke and I. Her identity is not revealed, but there are some clues. We also see the rest of the Bridgerton clan, as well as Daphne and Simon (from the previous book in the series) and their interaction provides for some wonderful laughs. Let’s just say not even familial love stands in the way of competitiveness when it comes to this group.

By the end I was in love with Anthony and wanted Kate for my best friend. I cannot wait for the next book to see which of the Bridgerton clan is next to end up at the altar. Not to mention I’m dying to know the identity of Lady Whistledown.

If you’re looking for a book that is light and witty, with characters you can actually respect and enjoy, then I recommend picking this up post haste.

Read a review of the 2006 second epilogue

-- Jennifer Schendel

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