I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1
Published by Avon on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
In the first hilarious entry in her brand new series, USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale re-invents a love story we all know and cherish.
Lord Darcy is the epitome of perfect
Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper, and horrified that a pack of Americans has inherited one of England's most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint, and his better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.
Lady Bridget is the opposite of perfect
Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand—but thwarted—plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate into London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her disdain for the Dreadful Lord Darcy, and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.
They cannot stand each other-and yet they cannot stay away
It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing . . . and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget's diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all—a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.
Also in this series: Chasing Lady Amelia, Lady Claire Is All That
Also by this author: Chasing Lady Amelia, Lady Claire Is All That
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that anyone looking for entertaining and engaging historical romance should read author Maya Rodale’s novels. If it isn’t universally acknowledged, it should be — her work is fantastic. One need look no further than her latest book, Lady Bridget’s Diary (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1), for evidence of her skill at balancing humor, sensuality, and heart.
Lady Bridget’s Diary is sort of a retelling of a retelling; part Pride and Prejudice, part Bridget Jones Diary, part totally unique and utterly original creation. There’s even a touch of Mean Girls.
This novel is the first in Ms. Rodale’s new series featuring the Cavendish siblings. Bridget and her two sisters (Claire, older and Amelia the youngest), along with their brother James, the recent (and reluctant) Duke, were raised in America. Their upbringing was very different from the staunch rule-bound ton of English aristocracy. Following the deaths of their loving parents and James’ ascension to the dukedom, the American Cavendishes attempt to bumble their way through English society. Bridget uses her diary to keep track of her struggles to accumulate to life as a proper lady (and her thoughts on a certain Dreadful Darcy), often with hilarious results.
Lady Bridget may be inspired by Bridget Jones and Elizabeth Bennett, but she possesses a vulnerability and naiveté that is uniquely her own. The insecure Bridget believes in love, and based on her observations of her parents’ devotion, the cold, calculated unions among the English upper classes astounds her. Despite her reservations, Bridget tries her hardest to conform to societal expectations. Along the way, she meets the charming Rupert Wright and his decidedly less agreeable brother, Lord Darcy. Bridget thinks herself in love with Rupert (as her multiple diary entries of Rupert + Bridget can attest). Rupert’s interest is not returned as ardently, however. And if Rupert is indeed her Mr. Right, why does she get all warm and tingly under the heated stares of his brother? The attraction between Lady Bridget and her Darcy only burns hotter as they see more of each other (including a couple of steamy encounters where they are both drenched with water).
Whether it’s Austen’s Mr. Darcy or Maya Rodale’s Lord Darcy, there really is nothing like a wet Darcy.
This story is really enhanced by letting the reader encounter Darcy away from Bridget. His own vulnerabilities are explored in depth, allowing insight into his actions and emotions that serve to make him even more interesting. Darcy doesn’t want to so strict and priggish. His abusive upbringing drilled ‘proper’ behavior into him until he is nothing but the title he carries rather than the passionate man he hides. Darcy’s attraction to Bridget is obvious and more than a bit disconcerting for him. However, he soon figures out that he not only wants her but he needs her in his life. Darcy’s relationship with his brother Rupert is of paramount importance to him and he must decide what his is willing to sacrifice on Rupert’s behalf.
This book is filled with wonderful secondary characters. All of the Cavendish siblings are fully developed and fascinating. The amazing thing about this series is that all of the events in the books will occur concurrently. Hints of intrigue, mysterious sisterly blushes and (mis)adventures that are part of scene in Lady Bridget’s Diary will be explored in another volume, starting with Chasing Lady Amelia this coming June.
I’m hard pressed to think of an author who can spin a modern inspiration into a work of historical fiction as seamlessly as Maya Rodale. Check out her Bad Boys & Wallflower series to read how she creatively weaves a modern romance with historical settings.
The honest and witty dialogue coupled with the excellent characterizations make Lady Bridget’s Diary an absolute joy to read, alternating between laugh out loud funny and beautifully touching.
Excerpt from Lady Bridget’s Diary
Oceans crossed: 1
Sisters who plagued me the entire journey: 2
Brothers who suddenly became a duke: 1
Fearsome duchesses: 1
– Lady Bridget’s Diary
One would think that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was a stroke of good fortune that would transform their lives from ho-hum to utterly fantastic. One would think that until one was on a reducing diet, stuffed into a tightly laced corset, and forced to practice walking backward.
“Once again, Lady Bridget,” the duchess said crisply.
She was Lady Bridget Cavendish now. Before she had just been Bridget Cavendish of Duncraven farm in Maryland. But then a letter had arrived one day, with the unexpected news that James was now a duke and they were all to leave everything behind and travel to England, immediately.
“Yes Lady Bridget, once more please,” Amelia said with a smirk.
“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said, under her breath. Younger sisters were quite annoying, on any continent.
“It’s ‘Do shut up, Lady Amelia,’” Claire, the oldest sister, corrected. She found all the formality as ridiculous as the rest of their family, much to the despair of the duchess.
Somewhere about the massive house—probably in the stables, even though the duchess made it perfectly clear dukes were above mucking about in the stables—was her brother, James. Or, as he was now to be known, His Grace, the Duke of Durham. Dukes had many responsibilities, it seemed, but walking backward in a gown with an excessively long train was not one of them.
Before her, with sharp blue eyes and perfectly coiffed blond hair, was Josephine Marie Elizabeth Cavendish, Her Grace, the Duchess of Durham, widow of the previous duke, and aunt to the Cavendish siblings.
One did not call her Josie. Amelia had asked.
“Remind me why we are learning to do something as ridiculous as walk backward?” Claire asked. From a young age, she had spent her free hours devoted to the study of mathematics, otherwise known as Important Work. Bridget’s head ached just to think about it.
“It is for your presentation at court,” the duchess replied. “Which is necessary before your debut in society, which you must do in order to find a husband, which a lady must do, lest she become an impoverished spinster.”
“What if we do not wish for a husband?” Amelia asked.
“What a silly question,” the duchess replied. “Lady Bridget, once again.”
At the duchess’s request, Bridget sank into a curtsy. They had practiced this extensively on Tuesday afternoon. Then, with as much grace as she could muster, Bridget rose and began to elegantly glide backward. Or so she tried; feats of grace did not come easily to her (a point upon which their dancing instructor would absolutely agree). Nothing about being a True Lady did. Bridget had daydreamt through lessons on the order of precedence amongst members of the haute ton, how to properly pour a cup of tea, and all the other lessons on etiquette and deportment they endured morning, noon, and night.
“Now Lady Amelia, it is your turn.”
While the duchess’s attention was focused on her sisters, Bridget took advantage of her distraction to continue walking backward until she had crossed the length of the ballroom, then she continued through the large double doors and halfway down the corridor, at which point she turned, lifted her skirts, and proceeded to the kitchens. Reducing diet, deportment lessons, and True Lady-ness be damned.
About Author Maya Rodale
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.