Title: An Offer from a Gentleman
Author: Julia Quinn
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 8/25/15
Length: 416 Pages
Series: The Bridgertons #3
Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.
Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy-tale love?
I can’t wait to see how all these books transform into a new series on Netflix. There’s so much great description of what live is like among the Ton and I think that the Bridgerton family itself allows for even more entertainment.
We met Benedict through each of the first two books. He’s the second eldest, so he doesn’t get the responsibility that Anthony has, but he has the desire and interest of every single lady of marriage age and their mammas. Like his older brother, he’s not ready to settle down and does what he can to avoid the women in society. Until a masquerade ball at his own home – where he sees a lady that takes his breath away, and makes him feel sparks. He knows that she’s special yet he doesn’t know who she is.
Backing up a minute though, we actually start our story with our leading lady – Sophie. In those times, it was an embarrassment to have a child when you’re not married, or not to force to marry, yet here’s Sophie. She’s a ‘bastard’ – ghastly word of course, and that means that she’s never going to have much of anything except a soiled reputation. Her father is an Earl who does what he should but to the barest amounts by taking her in and making sure she has an education. Aside from that, he stays far away and really doesn’t do much to give her any love or emotion. IT’s when her father marries a lady that has daughters about Sophie’s age that she think her luck is about to change, but it won’t be for the better.
This Is the start of what I like to relate to Cinderella. Essentially, Sophie’s stepmother is the evil step mother who makes behave like a servant. From the moment they lived together, Sophie was lesser and that meant that Arminta, her step mother would go out of her way to ensure that Sophie had nothing, that her daughters weren’t nice to her and that Sophie knew that she was unworthy. When her father passes though, Arminta is forced by the will to take responsibility for Sophie until she’s 20 unless she wants less money to live off but that again means nothing good for Sophie.
Our story really takes shape on one evening during the season when Sophie’s step sisters are trying to find their matches. There’s a masquerade ball that they are attending and that means that Sophie has to work over time to make sure they look their best. The servants and maids in the house know that Sophie deserves more than what she’s been given, and once the others leave for the ball, they help Sophie transform into a mystery beauty and she’s given the chance to enjoy one night out as well.
If there’s such a thing as love at first sight, it seems like these two may have found it. There’s an immediate connection, a chemistry and a draw that makes it relationship goals for everyone. They are easy to banter and yet they don’t fear the usual rules about reputation. Sophie enjoys her time with Benedict in a way that makes him feel special since no one ever really is able to tell the difference between the Bridgerton boys.
One night of enjoyment turns into years of misery. Sophie is forced to flee her house when her step mother throws her out and that takes her down a path of being a low paid servant where ever she’s able to find a job. Benedict spends years searching for his mystery girl and never finds what he’s looking for. It’s one night at a dull party out in the country that Benedict comes a cross a woman who needs his saving, and that puts them on another path that they aren’t ready to see the end.
We watch how they dance around each other – how Sophie knows immediately that she’s remembered their night together, but Benedict doesn’t seem to realize that she’s the masquerade girl. She’s depressed about this but there’s nothing that she can do since he also thinks his mystery girl is a lady of society. Even though they are of different classes, we watch how they start to develop an interested bond and friendship, even if the motives that start it weren’t always pure.
Benedict takes Sophie back to london with him and gets her a job in his mother’s home, but things don’t end up rosy even here. We watch how secrets are unraveled, how emotions are high and how there’s another shoe that will drop since we’ve not yet seen the last of Sophie’s family.
This story takes us on a path that’s a bit less pure than all the others – where there were clear points that everyone knew was respectable to stop, and to stay away from one another, these two seem to feel as though those rules don’t matter. Be is that Sophie thinks that she’s not good enough for it to matter, or the notion that Benedict is a man and that means for him it doesn’t matter anyway. The resolution to it all is a round about but very enjoyable conclusion. The first epilogue gives us closure and the second gives us a foreshadowing of what’s to come for the others in the family. So…we all know what that means. I’m off to find book 4! Enjoy!