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From the Rokesby series, volume 4

by Julia Quinn

Pub Date: April 21st, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-295616-3
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

A man studying to be a doctor in Edinburgh is called home to England to marry a neighbor in trouble.

When Nicholas Rokesby receives a letter from his father ordering him to immediately return to the family home in Kent, he obeys the summons, fearing that some disaster has befallen the family. When he arrives, he’s informed that his neighbor and lifelong friend, Georgiana Bridgerton, was kidnapped a month earlier by a man hoping to force her into marriage. Georgie freed herself, but she’s pronounced “ruined” by society rather than being celebrated for her quick thinking and bravery. Nicholas’ father informs him that he can save Georgie by offering for her hand in marriage; otherwise, her only choices are to live as a spinster or to marry the cad who kidnapped her. Unfortunately, Quinn’s witty dialogue isn’t enough to hide the fact that there’s very little conflict or plot in the novel. The setup leans heavily on the “friends to lovers” trope but doesn’t invest any time developing the couple's past. They are two nice people in their mid-20s who agree to marry out of duty and deference to society’s rules. More detailed attention is given to Georgie’s plan to make a rope hammock to soothe her yowling cat during a carriage ride than to her and Nicholas' development as a married couple. Georgie’s character might frustrate modern readers. Her ingenuity is often highlighted—she escapes from her kidnapper, has her own interests, and verbalizes her frustrations with how society treats women unfairly—but she’s also strangely passive, happily serving as Nicholas’ nurse rather than pursuing her own interests in medicine. Die-hard readers of this Bridgerton prequel series are likely to enjoy the book as fan service, with glimpses of beloved characters from the original series appearing as children.

A lukewarm romance for series fans only.