Monday, 22 October 2012

An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn

About the book
An Offer From A Gentleman is the third book in the Bridgerton series and follows the story of second eldest son, Benedict. The book was published by Piatkus on 25th August 2006 and it is 384 pages long.

Sophie Beckett has never really been accepted in society but she has also never really had the chance. She is the illegitimate daughter of an Earl who takes her in and passes her off as his ward but never spends any time with her. When the Earl remarries, his new wife, Araminta, does not like Sophie at all and forbids her to be recognised as being anything like her own daughters. When the Earl dies, Sophie's step mother makes her live like a servant and her days are a living hell but luckily she gets along well with the real servants. All Sophie has ever wanted was to go to a real ball and on the night of the Bridgerton's masquerade, the other servants rally round to help her make her dreams come true.

Sophie has read all about the Bridgerton's from Lady Whistledown's paper but has never been able to meet any of them. When she arrives at the ball, there is a lot of fuss about one of the family in particular, Benedict.

Benedict absolutely hates that fact that no one really knows him and is frequently referred to as number 2. As soon as he sees Sophie in the room, he knows he has to talk to her but when he asks her to dance, she tells him that she doesn't know how. He takes her away to a private terrace in the house and Sophie suddenly realises who she is with but never gives him any idea about her true identity (as she has a mask on). It is obvious that the two have strong feelings for each other from the start and Benedict wants to see her again but at midnight, she flees but manages to leave behind one of her gloves. Benedict searches all over town for the woman he met at the ball but with no luck. As the years pass by, he starts to give up hope and begins to believe that he will never see her again. Will Benedict have to marry someone else and settle for second best?

What I thought

As you can tell from the plot of the story, An Offer From A Gentleman is pretty much a Cinderella story rewritten in Regency times. Even though you would think that this is just going to be a reworking of a classic tale, there is much more to it than this. Quinn manages to bring a classic story together with some quite hard hitting problems. Some of them were quite hard to read the first time around but after I reread this book, I found these subjects easier to deal with. It isn't very often that we get to know much about what happens with the servants or what the males in society think they can get away with but Quinn addresses these subjects really well in this one.

Sophie is our Cinderella in this story but not the kind of character that I expected her to be. She knows that she is illegitimate and doesn't try to hide the fact or believe that she can be something that she isn't. Actually, when she meets Benedict for the second time, she tries to make sure that he knows that she is only a servant. Although Sophie has had a pretty terrible life, she always tries to make the best of what she has and the chances she gets. I did want to see her go for what she really wanted a little bit more but then her personality would have been extremely strange and confusing but she did sometimes have a hard time distinguishing what she deserved in life and what she was going to get.

Benedict was fabulous throughout most of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of love at first sight and that Benedict would wait his whole life to be with the woman he loved if that was how long it took to find her. The true message in this story was that you should love someone for who they are underneath and not just what they look like and this is exactly what I felt from Benedict and Sophie's first meeting. He immediately fell for her charm, shyness and captivating conversation. He was just an overall nice guy and unlike quite a few of the other books in this series, he didn't have some deep dark secret that would come back to haunt him in his relationship. This time, the roles were reversed.

Lady Bridgerton provides as much comedy as ever. Most parents know their children quite well but to have 8 and know them all so well must be a hard job. I loved how she knows exactly who is right for each of her children and when they are in love, even when they don't know it themselves. The same could be said for Colin as well as he always seems to be around when one of his siblings is having a hard time deciding what they should do and how they feel.

There is a lot going on in this book and for most of the time but it never seems to be confusing even though it should do. An Offer From A Gentleman is the perfect true love story but with action and comedy added in at the same time. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. I'll admit that Benedict wasn't my favourite character when I started the Bridgertons but after this one, he was awesome!
    Fab review :)