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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Caves of Steel
Isaac Asimov
The Blue Sword
Recorded Books LLC, Diane Warren, Robin McKinley
Progress: 73/735 minutes
Daughter of Mystery
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 251/399 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages

Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgerton Series #4)

Romancing Mister Bridgerton - Julia Quinn Oh, what a difference the second half of a book can make.I want to be clear on this: when I was still only halfway through the book, I considered it a keeper. Penelope was wonderful: truly shy around anyone she didn't know well, with a few horribly painful/embarrassing moments in her life that Quinn actually took the time to show. I cringed in sympathy when Penelope came upon Colin just as he was telling his brothers that he wouldn't marry her and Penelope did what she could to preserve her dignity and not make it too obvious that he had just crushed her dreams. I enjoyed watching Penelope blossom as she resigned herself to being an old maid. Her friendship with Lady Danbury warmed my heart, and I loved it when they both confessed to attending horrible Smith-Smythe musicales so that the one Smith-Smythe girl who realized they were awful would have someone in the audience who was not making fun of her.I loved Colin, too. He was a nice guy, and never hurt Penelope on purpose. He felt miserable when she overheard him saying that he wouldn't marry her – it's just that he was too immature, at that point in his life, to know how to best handle the situation. Later on in their lives, when there was another moment when he could have accidentally hurt her feelings, she stopped him, and he took that time to think about the potential consequences of his actions and how Penelope might be hurt by them. Then he deliberately did his best not to hurt her. Colin wasn't in love with Penelope then and hadn't yet realized that a wonderful person had been right under his nose for years, but he still liked her, and I could have hugged him for the kind and thoughtful way he handled that moment.There's no way I can properly gripe about what Quinn did in the second half (last third?) of the book without spoiling things, so, if you don't like spoilers, stop reading this review at this point (or, more accurately, don't click the "spoiler" link).There are a few things I really hate coming across in romance novels. Widowed heroes or heroines still mourning the loss of their first spouses, babies and young children, very pregnant heroines, heroines whose physical description likens them to children, and...main characters who are writers. I've only encountered one author, Nora Roberts, who I can consistently trust to include any of these things without raising my hackles. Romancing Mister Bridgerton has shown me that I can't add Quinn to my short list.I was wondering where the book was going to go when, a little over halfway through it, Colin was already giddily insisting upon marrying Penelope and trying to get it through her mother's skull that, yes, he really did want to marry Penelope and not her sister Felicity. Then I found out, as Quinn revealed the big secret: Penelope is Lady Whistledown, the woman who had been anonymously skewering the ton for 11 years.I could have lived with this revelation (although I was annoyed that Quinn kept the reader in the dark via artificial means, by simply never having Penelope think about it). In fact, I enjoyed some of the angst that came from Penelope wondering if Colin was ashamed of her because of her work as Lady Whistledown. However, I felt that Lady Whistledown and writing in general then hijacked the story.This book has a grand total of one sex scene, which occurs prior to Colin and Penelope's marriage. They spend 70 pages of the book married – most authors would have found a way to fit a sex scene, even a fade to black one, in those 70 pages. I'm usually on the side of “more sweet romantic moments, less sex,” so I wouldn't necessarily have minded that Quinn only included one sex scene, if it weren't for the fact that it felt like there could, maybe should, have been one, and it was glossed over. Here is the moment when the book really made me angry:“The wedding had been magical. It was a small affair, much to the dismay of London society. And the wedding night—well, that had been magical, too.And, in fact, marriage was magical, Colin was a wonderful husband—teasing, gentle, attentive...Except when the topic of Lady Whistledown arose.” (298)There were still 70 pages to go in the book. I had to reread the passage just to be sure that, yes, Quinn really had just glossed over Penelope and Colin's wedding, wedding night, and at least the first few days of their marriage...all because Lady Whistledown was suddenly the more important part of the book. Seriously??I finished the book because I do not DNF books when I'm that close to finishing them, but when I reached page 298 I decided that I could care less about all the Lady Whistledown stuff. I also began to find Colin's jealousy over Penelope being published (anonymously published, but still published) annoying. The writerly ego stroking scene that occurred when Colin finally let Penelope read his writings and she, of course, found them wonderful made me want to gag. That's probably a personal thing – I have a feeling that, if Colin had been worried about Penelope's reception of, say, his woodworking skills, I would have felt more sympathetic. Quinn just hit the wrong buttons with me when she made not one, but both her main characters writers, and then made that aspect an important part of the book. And, of course, Colin's writing was wonderful through and through – another thing that got my back up.Others may not feel the same way about the ending that I did. However, because of that ending, a book I had initially considered a keeper is now one I'll be offloading in order to free up shelf space.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)