Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Hardcover; 304 pages
Publisher: Avon (March 29, 2016)
Author's Website: http://juliaquinn.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for reviewing purposes.
Billie Bridgerton was not raised as a proper Miss should be. She was well educated, raised as though she was the heir of her father's estate, and spoon-fed on the belief she could do anything. A regular tomboy, she ran around with the sons of their nearest neighbor who became her dearest friends. Billie never worried about her future until now. She always thought she'd marry one of the neighbor boys, but she never knew just how wrong or right she might be...
George Rokesby is the eldest of the three Rokesby boys and, therefore, heir to his father's estate and title. He's always taken his position seriously, and of the three brothers is considered to be the most serious. While his younger brothers and sister ran around the family estate, he studied and learned how to run it. While his brothers sought adventure, he sought knowledge. To say the man grew into a bore is most likely how Billie Bridgerton would see it, but a roof, an ungrateful cat, a sprained ankle, and a ladder are about to change everything.
This is the first of a new series called the Rokesbys. According to Julia Quinn's website, "Sybilla (Billie) Bridgerton is the older sister of Edmund Bridgerton. She is mentioned (although not by name) in 'Violet in Bloom,' which can be found in The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After." We’re going back a generation for 'Because of Miss Bridgerton'. " While the Bridgertons aren't the focus of this series, I'm sure we'll get some glimpses of Georgiana and her parents who will still resides next door to Billie and George.
This is the type of romance where a couple falls in love after knowing each other their entire lives. One is slightly older, but not by too much--just enough to make the age gap when they were younger seem huge. Slowly, however, they start to see each other in a new, romantic way. Billie is a bona fide tomboy and while she is a strong and confident woman on the home front, dealing with polite society is not her forte. When dealing with the ton, she feels like a fish out of water. Plus, an "incident" involving fire when she was presented at court led to her never having had a first season. While Billie can take care of herself in almost any situation, a verbal lashing by the ton, who don't easily forgive or forget, is not something she would know how to endure. She dreads making her debut.
George, on the other hand, is a much more serious than Billie. Raised as the heir, he didn't share in the adventures of Billie and his siblings. Until recently, he wouldn't have considered her a friend but rather someone he didn't really get along with. Truth be told, he's always been a bit envious of Billie and his siblings. They are all very close and he felt a bit left out growing up. Where as Billy could get away with just about anything--including acting like a boy--he felt restrained by his position. He, as you can imagine, has never had a problem fitting in with proper English society. An incident with a cat combined with Billie's confession about her fear of entering society will play a hand in bringing out his protective nature towards her. It allows him to see her not as the annoying spoiled girl of his youth, but as something more. Something much, much more.
This such a charming and delightful tale that I couldn't help but give it 5 out of 5 roses. I loved seeing these two slowly fall in love. It was a fun and sexy love story and after years of reading the Bridgerton series, it felt a bit like coming home. I simply adore Ms. Quinn's novels. They leave me feeling warm, toasty, and as though all is right with the world. If only real life played out like one of her books, life would be good. While this would be considered more of a prequel to the Bridgerton series, it had the feel of some of her earlier works--the ones before the Smythe-Smith Quartet spin-off, which I confess to also loving. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I highly recommend this one.