1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better…
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1814
But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…
Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…
After finishing The Viscount Who Loved Me, I feel like I am on a great reading high. Julia never seems to fail to make me laugh, which she did do to a point that I was asked by a family member to what I was laughing at while I was reading this book.
The book starts out with our heroine – Kate – and her younger sister Edwina attending the annual London season where young unmarried ladies try to snag a reputable husband. And lord help us, the unattainable rake Anthony Bridgerton has decided to marry! He doesn’t want to marry for love, he just wants a meek wife whom will do her duty and give him heirs. And who does he have his sights set on? Young innocent Edwina! When Kate gets wind of this, she isn’t a bit happy as his reputation is well known.
Anthony makes it abundantly clear that he is going to court, woo, and marry Edwina wither Kate likes it or not. So what does he do to change Kate’s mind about him marrying her sister? By getting – or trying – to get on her good side. Throughout most of the beginning, fate throws Kate and Anthony together and my, my, do they butt heads.
Being a good ‘ol meddling mother, Violet invites Kate, Edwina, an a slew of other young marriageable ladies and gentlemen to the Bridgerton’s county estate for a little social fathering and to play matchmaker, which brings our hero and heroine together, butting heads yet again – you’ll find this is quite the norm with these two all throughout this book. While staying at the Bridgerton’s estate, Kate is invited to play the family game of ‘Pall Mall’ (also known as croquet), and boy are they a vicious lot! Let’s just say the standard rules do not apply to this family when playing. Why win, when you can cheat or eliminate an opponent by smashing their ball into the lake? As the siblings begin the game, it is clear that it is war between Kate and Anthony as they two take the game seriously. If one can’t win, there was no way in hell they were gonna let the other best them. Surprisingly after that, they start to get along, amazingly so that they get caught in what others would assume is a ‘compromising position’ due to her being stung by a bee in the garden. And compromising positions always results in marriage which Kate is a bit reluctant to do so as she thinks he isn’t thrilled about being shackled to her, that he was indeed trapped / tricked, but in reality he wanted her, desperately, for quite some time actually.
They go through with the marriage as planned but Anthony tells Kate upfront that she shouldn’t ever expect love from their union, as he cannot give her that – it stems from a fear of his, about thinking he won’t live past 38 and doesn’t want to leave behind a wife whom loves him. Their marriage gets off to a good start and soon Kate realizes that she loves Anthony, even if he couldn’t ever love her back. Soon afterwards, what happens? The love bug bites Anthony in the ass and this terrifies him to death. Later that night Kate kisses him and tells him that ‘she hopes they can be like this. Always and forever’ which makes him hightail his hind parts out of there as he believes he can’t give her a forever. His rather rash and strange behavior confuses Kate and she doesn’t know what to think of it. She later finds out that he is staying at the Bridgerton’s house after he abruptly left her the other night. She confronts him, they have a little squabble and he tells her to go home, which she does and Anthony gets drunk afterwards. Benedict and Colin find him foxed at the local gentlemen’s club they frequent, which they razz and torment him – hey, that’s what the Bridgerton siblings do best! – and offer him advice on how to win Kate back. He then decides that is going home to confess his love for her and not let his fear of dieing young destroy the happiness he can have with her.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Kate and Anthony. He was a mischievous wicked man with a killer sinful smile – a characteristic all the male Bridgerton’s seem to have. My favorite moments from the book was when he caught her hiding under his desk, when he comforted her during a storm in the library (she has a fear of storms that stems from her childhood), the garden / bee debacle that resulted in them marrying, and my ultimately favorite scene – the Pall Mall game with the ‘black mallet of death’. Boy they are a blood thirsty lot when it comes to Pall Mall. I myself wouldn’t mind a round or two of Pall Mall with the Bridergeton’s. Sounds like unbidden fun – count me in! Even though I did like Anthony, for some reason he didn’t hit my sweet spot like Simon did. Yes he was wickedly entertaining, but I guess dear, dear, Simon holds a special place in my Bridgerton hero loving heart.