Title: Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Author: Julia Quinn
Tropes: best friends brother, childhood friends to lovers
Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London. Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for...well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret...and fears she doesn't know him at all. Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same - especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide...is she his biggest threat - or his promise of a happy ending?
This book used to be my favourite within the Bridgerton series when i was younger, probably because I still believed in the old adage ‘if a boy is mean to you, it means he likes you’. To review it I decided to reread Colin’s story and when I reread it, I felt so conflicted, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to.
I enjoyed the overarching storyline of two good friends becoming more and Colin being on a journey to find himself and is role in life and society. However, it felt like Colin had a personality transplant, he was cold, arrogant and rude sometimes which was the opposite of his portrayed in the other Bridgerton books where he was smart, confident and the nicest Bridgerton.
Colin is a third son which means he was not given a title which has an impact on how he views himself. He was very self-aware and introspective; he feels lost and questions his worth but is confident in public. He is protective of those he loves. Penelope is considered a wallflower known for dressing in bright colours that do not flatter her and it is implied that she is plus-sized. Her unrequited love for Colin creates a bit of angst at the beginning of the book. She has a secret that is supposed to create tension towards the end of the book but it brings to light Colin’s selfishness, he was not supportive of Penelope but more worried about how it would affect him and because they are married their standing in society. This is fine in real life but this is a romance story I wanted him to support Penelope and her wants or needs.
I enjoyed the angst of the book and the relationship Colin and Penelope build as they both suffer from low self-esteem at times for different reasons, Colin feels redundant and directionless because he doesn’t have a title nor does he have a career and Penelope is considered a spinster who has not received any marriage proposals. The exploration of their issues was interesting.
This isn’t a steamy romance with strong chemistry between the Colin and Penelope but the friendship is evident. Its a story of a partnership in my opinion, a life long friendship because the magic of romance was missing.
I want to see how this will be translated onto the small screen in Bridgerton and what they will change.