Note: This was originally a freelance blog post written for Heroes & Heartbreakers. When MacMillan shut down the community in 2018, they also removed all of the content that had been on the website.
Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…
This is not one of those times.
Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.
Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…
There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.
But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…
Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…
One thing that’s always a given with a Julia Quinn novel is humor; I have yet to read one of her novels that hasn’t made me laugh out loud at least once or twice.
Because of Miss Bridgerton had me laughing way more than that.
Sybilla “Billie” Bridgerton is a heroine with a sense of humor. She’s also intelligent and stubborn, which pretty much makes up my Awesome Heroine Trifecta. When we first meet her she’s stranded on a roof—wearing breeches, nonetheless—after a failed attempt at rescuing a cat. And she doesn’t even like cats. From that point on it was obvious that Billie was going to be one of my favorite heroines I’ve read in quite some time (spoiler alert: I was right).
Such an interesting heroine obviously needs an equally interesting hero, though, but at first glance it doesn’t appear that George Rokesby is quite up to the challenge that is Billie Bridgerton. He’s stodgy and proper, nowhere near as adventurous as his younger brothers whom Billie grew up with. Over the course of the book, though, Quinn does an excellent job of unveiling George’s true personality—which isn’t stuffy at all. Ends up he has a fantastic sense of humor, but he’s also very bound by the rules of society and his position as heir to the Earldom.
Throw in Quinn’s usual cast of wonderful secondary characters, and Because of Miss Bridgerton is typical Julia Quinn—in all the best ways.
But back to Billie. Because, like I said, she’s one of my favorite heroines I’ve read in a while, and a lot of that is because of the very fine line that she knowingly walks. Often in historical romance there are two distinct types of heroines: the belles of the ball and the wallflowers. Beyond that is another subset, which I like to think of as independent before their time women. They don’t care about society’s rules, or making their grand debut during their first Season, or the latest fashions, or who gave who the cut direct. These heroines don’t always make sense when taken within a historical context, but they do usually make for interesting lead characters. Billie falls into this latter category, but with an interesting caveat: she manages to walk in both worlds (well, for the most part…there was that one unfortunate incident with the fire while being presented at Court…).
She rides astride, wears breeches, climbs trees, reads agricultural treatises, and generally does her father’s and the steward’s job. But she also has manners, dresses “properly” for family meals, and curtsies when she absolutely has to. She knows she’s doing things most other women never get to do, and is glad for it. She also realizes that she will have to marry one day—even if she would much rather take over her family’s land (rather than her younger brother, who’s set to inherit as he’s the first born male) than wear dresses and play the role of gracious hostess.
It’s an interesting dichotomy, especially considering the fact that too often in historical romances, these types of heroines just completely flaunt the rules of society with no regard for the repercussions of doing so. Billie’s aware of the repercussions, and she knows what her limits are (along with how far she can push her mother).
Julia Quinn simply writes great heroines who march to the best of a different drummer, while keeping them grounded in reality. The fact that she manages to write them such amazing heroes—all with the wit she’s renowned for—only serves to make her books better. Because of Miss Bridgerton definitely does not disappoint; instead, it reaffirms my belief that Julia Quinn is one of the best historical romance novelists of our time.