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08 January 2014

Review: The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

Author: Julia Quinn
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N; Book Depository
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

For the first time in print, New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn presents a collection of "second epilogues" to her Bridgerton series, previously published as e-originals, plus a new bonus Bridgerton novella: "Violet in Bloom," a short story in which we finally meet Edmund Bridgerton.

The Bridgertons are back! As a huge fan of the Bridgerton series, I was very excited to hear that Julia Quinn was coming out with a book of second epilogues for the Bridgerton family. I relished the idea of revisiting these characters and was excited to also see that the Bridgerton matriarch was getting a story as well. The stories range in time from immediately after the original books end to many years after. Each story comes with a brief intro by Quinn which gives the reader some fun insight into the story. These were all (except for Violet’s story) previously published as short e-originals and are collected here for the first time.

Please note that I have read all off the Bridgerton books except for two (which I’ll note below). That did not take away from my enjoyment of these stories at all, though, as you will see.

The Duke and I: The Second Epilogue (Daphne & Simon)
Simon and Daphne’s story takes place many years after The Duke and I. Daphne finds herself unexpectedly pregnant again and is waiting for just to right time to tell Simon. We also finally learn what is in the packet of letters that Simon’s father left him. Such a fun, sweet story! Daphne and Simon were always one of my favorite couples and I loved seeing them living happily years later. You really get the feel of the Bridgteron family dynamic in this one and the affection between Simon and Daphne is clear. Funny, sweet, and touching, the second epilogue for Simon and Daphne was one of my favorites.

The Viscount Who Loved Me: The Second Epilogue (Kate & Anthony)
This story re-visits the infamous Pall Mall game from The Viscount Who Loved Me. Each year the players of the original game get together to play it again, with Anthony and Kate vying for the mallet of death. This story is hilarious and I love how each player continues to try and one up the other. This one made me laugh.

An Offer From A Gentleman: The Second Epilogue (Sophie & Benedict)
The second epilogue from Sophie and Benedict focuses on Sophie’s half sister Posy. Posy was the only non-awful family member that Sophie had and this story is about her finally finding her happily ever after. This is a really cute story. I always liked Posy and it was nice to see her find love. We also get a bit of an update on Sophie and Benedict, who are living happily in the country with their children. A very sweet story.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton: The Second Epilogue (Penelope & Colin)
Colin and Penelope were always my favorite couple and this was the story I was looking forward to the most. To keep things spoiler free I will just say that this story is about how Eloise finds out about the big secret that was revealed in the book. I was a little bit disappointed that the story didn’t really focus on them and their relationship, but I still liked it.

To Sir Phillip With Love: The Second Epilogue (Eloise & Phillip)
This story is a bit different than the others. It’s told in first person and is from the point of view of Amanda Crane, one of the troublesome Crane twins from Eloise and Phillip’s story. This story wasn’t my favorite only because I didn’t have a lot invested in Amanda’s character. It was nice to see what happened to her as she got older but I think I would have preferred something focusing on Eloise and Phillip. I enjoyed the first person point of view though and it was a cute story.

When He Was Wicked: The Second Epilogue (Francesca & Michael)
This is one of the epilogues whose accompanying book I have not read. This epilogue takes place three years after Francesca and Michael’s story ends. The two have not been able to conceive any children thus far and the story focuses on Francesca and how she is dealing with the fact that she may never have her own children. Despite having never read their story, I found this epilogue to be one of the most emotional and moving in the whole collection. You can really see the family dynamic at play here with appearances by Violet, Eloise and many nieces and nephews. I don’t know Francesca and Michael’s story but this makes me really want to read it. They have a really playful and sweet relationship and the ending of this story left me with a smile on my face.

It’s In His Kiss: The Second Epilogue (Hyacinth & Gareth)
This epilogue answers the question about whether or not Hyacinth ever finds the diamond necklace that she is searching for in It’s In His Kiss. It’s 22 years later and Hyacinth and Gareth are still happily married. Hyacinth is determined to see her daughter Isabella married during the season and finds that she has a difficult job ahead of her. This is a really fun story that shows of Hyacinth’s personality well. The tables have turned and she now knows what it’s like to have a daughter just like herself. Gareth and Hyacinth are a great couple and I liked seeing them again. Isabella is a fun new character and was fun to read about. I thought the ending was fitting and am happy to know what finally became of the necklace.

On The Way To The Wedding: The Second Epilogue (Gregory & Lucy)
This is the other book that I have not read yet. It takes place right after the events of the book when Lucy gives birth for the last time - only the birth doesn’t go quite as planned. Even though I did not know much about Lucy and Gregory’s story, I found myself emotionally invested in this one right away. It’s a bit harrowing but, don’t worry, it still has a happy ending.

Violet In Bloom: A Novella
Violet’s story is both wonderful and bittersweet. If you’ve read any of the books in the series (spoiler alert!) you know that Edmund Bridgerton dies at a young age from a reaction from a bee sting. Though he has been gone for quite a while before the first book begins, his character’s presence can be felt in every book. I loved this brief glimpse into the past to see how Violet and Edmund meet and come to be married. We mourn with Violet as she deals with the sudden and devastating loss of her husband and go with her as she learns to move on to embrace life with her children. This is a really wonderful and touching story that gives great insight into the Bridgerton matriarch.

I would not recommend this for anyone who has not read most, if not all, of the Bridgerton books. If you haven’t read this series yet, do yourself a favor and try it. If you are already a fan of the Bridgertons, Happily Ever After is a must read. It has all of the humor and heart that I’ve come to expect of Quinn’s writing. The Bridgertons are like old, familiar friends and I had a lot of fun visiting them again. Most of these stories were previously released as short story ebooks. I had not read any of them, so it was nice to have them all in one place. Even if you already own a few of the stories, it may be worth it to buy the collection and have them all in one volume, depending on whether or not you plan to re-read them (which I totally do). The story about Violet is also a nice bonus.

I really enjoyed this one. The Bridgertons never fail to put a smile on my face and I was glad to see them one more time.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.juliaquinn.com and Facebook.

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