Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale: Darcy Wasn't Nearly Darcy-ish Enough

Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1

In the first novel of Maya Rodale's stunning new series, an American heiress must learn to navigate London society and an infuriatingly irresistible rake . . .

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 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.

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.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this, other than the obvious Bridget Jones's Diary plus Pride & Prejudice storylines, but somehow my expectations were rather medial for this book, which is why it took me so long to begin reading it in the first place. However, one day I was in a Darcy mood and I was much too lazy to either read or watch Pride & Prejudice, so I settled for this. What I ended up reading was both along the lines of what I had expected, but also quite different at times - sometimes better, and occasionally worse.

The beginning of the book started out great: Darcy was very rude and had absolutely no idea what to make of the new American family in the ballroom, and Bridget was, predictably, Bridget. As in of course she falls flat on her face at her first ball and simply lays there and tries to pretend that that is a normal thing to do. She was cute. But from there I started to have a few misgivings about the story and its characters. Yes, it was still an enjoyable read, but it wasn't exactly what I had been hoping it would be.

Focusing in on the characters, I think Darcy is the first character I raised my eyebrows at. People would rarely think to use the words Darcy and sex in the same sentence, but I felt that in much of the book, Darcy was lusting after Bridget's figure and imagining her naked and at his whim. There's nothing wrong with this by itself, but he just spent so much time thinking about having her rather than appreciating her intelligence and such. He definitely did love her spirit and wit and sass, which was great, but then everything went wrong for me again when Darcy began comparing Bridget with his younger self. I love the original story of Pride & Prejudice, and I'd rather not suffer such a large change in the plot, where Darcy had a father who could have been nicer, and only because of him did he become such a (charming) bore and stickler for the rules. I prefer to have Darcy see his opposite in Bridget rather than himself.

Bridget, on the other hand, was pretty expected. She didn't think about sex quite as much as Darcy did, so it didn't bother me in the least. The only thing I didn't love about Bridget's character was that she was so eager to fit in and lose weight and it was so sad to realize that not only did Society not accept her, but she didn't really accept herself either. I hate it when people think they have to change themselves in order to belong, and that's exactly what Bridget was attempting to do for almost the entirety of the novel. Other than that though, Bridget was alright.

Taking the plot in as a whole, there wasn't too much that was unexpected. The general plot points from Pride & Prejudice are included, and though Darcy was a more...open version of himself, there's was nothing much wrong with that. In fact, I think one of my problems is that there wasn't much that was different from the original stories. Though the characters may be a little bit different, on a larger scope, there's not much that makes this book stand out from the others. Even so, I'm glad this is a series, because the other two books revolve around Bridget's two sisters, and I'm hoping that their stories will be utterly unpredictable.

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Rating: ★★★

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