4.5 “Secrets Revealed” Stars for the story and narration!
I have absolutely been loving the Bridgertons Series, and Romancing Mister Bridgerton is no exception. Coming back to this series when I start the next installment is like opening the pages to a cherished family that I feel like Julia Quinn has done an excellent job of slowly introducing to us bit by bit in each book. Due to this continuous storyline–including the revelation of one whopper of a secret the ARC of which has spanned the all of the prior books in the series–I highly recommend that you read or listen to this series in order. Moreover, to the extent, that you have the chance to listen to this Series, I highly recommend enjoying these vivid and memorable characters & their storylines in audio as Rosalyn Landor does a fantastic job of bringing each and every one to life.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton features the romance of Colin Bridgerton (“C” for the third child of the alphabetically named Bridgerton brood) and Penelope Featherington. At its most essential element, Romancing Mister Bridgerton is a friends to lovers tale. Both characters have their own shares of personal struggles to bear and ultimately find solace and comfort in the arms of each other.
In Colin’s case, he is tired of merely being seen as the affable, easy-going Bridgerton with little to differentiate himself from his brothers. Of course the mothers of the ton are always trying to match make their daughters with him (as he is a Bridgerton!)–a maneuver that he has adeptly avoided for years as he is now 33 years of age–but he is a character that struggles with who he fundamentally is and what he’s meant to do of significance in this life. His brother, Anthony, is the Viscount (the hero of Book 2) and brother, Benedict (the hero of Book 3) is now also settled down; but he is still clueless as to how he is meant to make his mark in the world. His internal struggles cause him to be restless and he finds himself constantly leaving England to travel to far away places. A hobby that ultimately leads to him writing down his travel adventures in journals, and which journals he keeps close to the vest.
Penelope in turn, although a few years younger (28), is now considered to be a spinster. Though she had a number of seasons, she is described as a bit plump and rather unremarkable in appearance. That combined with her mother’s insistence that she wear audacious and ill-fitting gowns apparently ultimately resulted in her landing no offers to wed. Her mother now, who certainly wasn’t my favorite character, has rather selfishly resigned herself to the fact that Penelope will not wed, thus meaning that she will be around to care for her in her old age. Her circumstances, however, do provide Penelope with a set of freedoms that other women at the time did not have. For example, Penelope is now no longer constrained by conforming to the latest fashions and she enjoys more freedoms in traveling the city unaccompanied by chaperones and the like.
There was one man, however, who Penelope always had a crush on: Colin. Unfortunately for her, especially given her rather embarrassing stumbling upon the Bridgerton brothers when Colin–then but a young adult–emphatically proclaimed to his brothers that he had no interest in Penelope, which leads her to believe that her attraction to Colin in unreturned. Nonetheless Penelope continues being a Bridgerton friend, constantly seen in residence at their household given her close friendship with one of Colin’s sisters. It is during one of these visits, many years later, that Penelope stumbles upon Colin’s journals–a discovery that greatly upsets Colin but which is the catalyst that sparks the sharing of intimate confidences between the pair and which ultimately leads to a deepening of their friendship and ultimately more.
Rosalyn Landor returns to narrate book 4. Ms. Landor maintains remarkable consistency in the characters’ voices throughout the series. Every time I start a new book in this series, I’m easily drawn back into the story just by her familiar characterizations as well as great ability to impart emotion and communicate the mood of the scene with the way she recounts the story. Additionally, Ms. Landor maintains a pace that allows for easy enjoyment of the story, neither too fast or too slow, but just right.
My favorite part of Ms. Landor’s narration in Romancing Mister Bridgerton was her voice for Penelope. I thought she did a magnificent job of perfectly capturing her witty, caring nature. Ms. Landor’s voice for Colin was also completely distinguishable from Penelope’s and genuinely sounded like a male voice thereby lending authenticity to the story as well as ease for differentiating the characters without the need for dialogue tags.
All in all, Romancing Mister Bridgerton was another great addition to the Bridgerton’s Series. Perhaps my favorite part was the revelation of the big secret that I alluded to in the opening paragraph of this review. I must admit I never saw that coming! Now I can’t wait to continue the Series with Book 5, To Sir Phillip with Love.
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.