Quinn, Julia. 2000. The Viscount Who Loved Me.
The Viscount Who Loved Me is the second novel in the Bridgerton series, a series of regency romance novels by the talented and prolific Julia Quinn. Our hero is Anthony Bridgerton. Our heroine is the spunky Kate Sheffield. The setting is 1814, London.
The novel opens with a quote from Lady Whistledown's Society Papers:
The topic of rakes has, of course, been previously discussed in this column, and This Author has come to the conclusion that there are rakes, and there are Rakes.Our heroine Kate is the older sister of Edwina. Edwina is young, beautiful, and quite the "it" girl of the season. Since Edwina's debut, Kate has been sharing the attention only because her sister let it slip that she would not marry without the consent of her older sister. So Edwina's beaus (or is it beaux?) are making sure to dance with her, to bring her flowers, say a few kind words. There intentions are obvious: they want to win Edwina's heart. Edwina knows (or thinks she knows) what she's looking for in a husband. Kate is also full of wisdom. And Kate is sure that a RAKE is not good husband-material no matter how attractive and charming they may be. So when Anthony Bridgerton starts courting Edwina, Kate lets her disapproval--her indignation--show!
Anthony Bridgerton is a Rake.
A rake (lower-case) is youthful and immature. He flaunts his exploits, behaves with utmost idiocy, and thinks himself dangerous to women.
A Rake (upper-case) knows he is dangerous to women.
He doesn't flaunt his exploits because he doesn't need to. He knows he will be whispered about by men and women alike, and in fact, he'd rather they didn't whisper about him at all. He knows who he is and what he has doen; further recountings are, to him, redundant.
He doesn't behave like an idiot for the simple reason that he isn't an idiot (any moreso than must be expected among all members of the male gender). He has little patience for the foibles of society, and quite frankly, most of the time This Author cannot say she blames him.
And if that doesn't describe Viscount Bridgerton--surely this season's most eligible bachelor--to perfection, This Author shall retire Her quill immediately. The only question is: Will 1814 be the season he finally succombs to the exquisite bliss of matrimony? This Author thinks...
Anthony and Kate have the kind of chemistry as Benedick and Beatrice. In other words, they don't get along. At least not at first. Yet the more time Anthony spends in the company of the Sheffields--both sisters--the more he's drawn to Kate. He doesn't want to admit it, not at first, but she is slowly but surely driving him crazy. But the good kind of crazy.
Anthony is not a perfect hero. He's not every girl's dream. For one thing, he has no intention of marrying for love. He has no intention of being faithful. He fears love more than he even fears death. Perhaps I need to back track a bit further, Anthony fears that he will die young. His father died at the age of 38. Anthony wants to marry and have a child or two. But love isn't part of the equation in his opinion. It would be just that much harder for him to die at peace. So he thinks. But his fears, his ideas, his plans will all begin to shift, to change as his encounters with Kate increase.
Anthony's three goals which he lays out at the very beginning:
1) She must be reasonably attractive (no raving beauty required)
2) She could NOT be stupid; he could live without intelligent conversation himself, but he didn't want stupid children.
3) She couldn't be anyone with whom he might actually fall in love.
The Viscount who loves me is a delightfully charming romance novel. Julia Quinn is always enjoyable and always trustworthy.