The Deal: Product of an affair between an earl and a lady's maid, Sophie Beckett was content enough living in her father's estate as his ward - as he could never acknowledged her openly as his daughter nor did he ever seem to want to - until her father decided to marry and bring home his new wife, who quickly realized Sophie's real identity. From then on her life became a little more difficult, until the Earl died suddenly, leaving Sophie at the mercy of his wife.
Having spent the last few years as a servant in what used to be her home, one night Sophie has enough and in a single act of rebellion - with the help of the other servants in the house - Sophie decides she's going to go to a society ball.
Benedict Bridgerton was attending his mother's masquerade ball as the dutiful son that he was when his life changed. As quick as lighting, he noticed a blond woman dressed in an old-fashioned silver dress, and he fell in love at first sight. Sophie knew she shouldn't be flirting with Benedict, and she told herself all she wanted to do was look around and enjoy herself, but she felt the same pull as Benedict and couldn't walk away... until the clock struck 12 and it was time for her to go home...
My Thoughts: An Offer from a Gentleman was the first Julia Quinn book I ever read and it remains one of my favorite. It's very much a Cinderella story, but one very well done. Both Sophie and Benedict are very distinct characters. Sophie is nice and fun, she has a good relationship with one of the earl's stepdaughters, and even though she knows her life could have been very different, she's not overly bitter about it.
Benedict is part of a large and loving family, and he loves them all to death, but he also feels a little lost among their massive numbers. He's the second son - and some people actually do call him Number Two to differentiate him of his other siblings, and he's tired of being only number 2 or the Tall one, as his older brother Anthony is The Viscount, and his younger brother Colin is the Charming one.
Sophie is the first person to see beyond that, and he feels such a connection to her and they really fall in love at first sight. But in romance novels nothing is ever easy, is it?
Many years since the first time I read An Offer From a Gentleman, it remains one of my favorite books. It's a lovely story to get lost in for a few hours.1/2
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