Julia Quinn is a reliable historical romance author. That sounds vaguely condemnatory, but is meant as a compliment. Her dust jackets loudly proclaim her as “this generation’s Jane Austen”, which as a Janeite I feel is a bit of stretch, but her novels are always fun, frothy, and highly readable.
Because of Miss Bridgerton is Ms. Quinn’s latest, returning to the infamously populous and vivacious Bridgerton clan. (Ms. Quinn’s Bridgerton series is worth checking out – they are fabulous characters.) Sybilla “Billie” Bridgerton lives on her family’s estate in Kent, only three miles distant from her nearest neighbours, the Rokesby family. The Bridgertons and the Rokesbys have lived in peaceable neighbourly friendliness for over a hundred years and the latest generation are all firm friends, having spent their childhood getting up to mischief in the countryside between the two estates, as children are wont to do. All the children, that is, except the eldest, George, Lord Kennard, who at five years elder was removed from the fun.
Fast-forward to the present (er, 1700s sometime) and Billie is 23 (yet somehow born 17 days after her 21-year-old friend Mary…there are some inconsistencies) and is virtually running her father’s estate. She is reckless, headstrong, competitive, clever and independent, but still beholden to her parents and society’s rules.
Across the fields, George is the eldest son of an Earl, set to inherit the estate and therefore has the burden of duty. He truly would like to serve King and Country like his younger brothers, but takes his responsibilities very seriously.
After some shenanigans involving a cat that doesn’t wish to be rescued, roofs, ladders, and a sprained ankle, the previously indifferent Billie and George start to look at each other in a new light.
Recommended for: sick days in bed when you need cheering up. It worked for me!