Will she accept his offer before the clock strikes midnight?
Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.
Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
My expectations were a little bit lower going into this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not having read the synopsis beforehand, I was caught off guard by the Cinderella retelling, but this quickly turned into one of my favorite aspects of the book. Sophie’s family was so delightfully terrible, and it contributed to such a principled and independent and relatable main character. But it also meant that Sophie and Benedict’s romance was uncomfortably close to insta-love. They do have enough conversations to make their attachment to each other believable, and I did appreciate that there was more kissing earlier on than in Viscount, but the love-at-first-sight aspect of their relationship never really sat well with me. Benedict’s character also fell a little flat to me. As much as Sophie supposedly saw more in him than just Bridgerton #2, I felt like I never saw him as much more than that, never quite buying his “artist’s heart.” Yet, I did speed through this third installment of the Bridgerton saga, and in general, I was breathlessly entertained.
Quinn is such an expert when it comes to writing this kind of period romance, and the Cinderella plotline just added to the fairy tale feeling this series already had. The idea of a high-society bastard with a bitter and hateful stepmother made total sense to me, and that dynamic really elevated the beginning of the book. Plus, the grand ball with the tenuous clue of a left-behind glove spoke to my inner fairy-tale-loving child. Outside of the Cinderella retelling, I was still a major fan of all the pomp and circumstance, the class restrictions, and propriety that came with this society setting. And I loved Quinn’s sarcastic and sly narration (particularly in the Whistledown passages). It was so easy to get caught up in everything, to be transported delightfully far away from present day.
And Sophie made a great Cinderella. I loved how being a bastard and growing up with such a wicked stepmother affected her. She turned out strong and independent and much less annoyingly sheltered than some of the other Bridgerton leading ladies. While maybe not as charmingly witty as Kate, Sophie still stood up for herself when she needed to, and her actions (including the secrets she kept) made sense to me (even when I found them the tiniest bit frustrating).
But Benedict was admittedly not my favorite. He fell a little flat to me. I never really believed him as the “artistic” one, especially because I don’t think we ever actually saw him draw anything. And for someone who was supposedly so sensitive, he often wasn’t super nice to Sophie. I got why he did the things he did, but that didn’t mean I had to like that he did them. And, because of this, he ended up the least compelling of the Bridgerton male love interests I’ve read so far (even if that’s an admittedly small pool of men at this point).
But I did feel his passion for Sophie. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of how their relationship started. Their meeting at the masquerade felt very insta-love to me, and it was a little hard for me to get behind how thoroughly or how long Benedict held on to his desire to marry the Lady in Silver. But I did appreciate how quickly we got to the kissing, because it was just as swoon-worthy and passionate as I wanted it to be. I truly appreciated that Sophie wasn’t quite as frustratingly innocent as the others. And, ultimately, I did get some of the slower falling in love that I always look for in Sophie and Benedict’s interactions after they were reunited. Again, while sometimes frustrating, I did feel the things that kept them apart were believable and not overly drawn out, and I did ultimately feel the passion/love between them, even if this type of relationship trope is not my favorite.
In fact, I think one of my favorite parts of this book was actually getting to see more of Violet and the unmarried Bridgerton sisters. Quinn really knows how to write family interactions, and I always appreciate the banter between siblings featured in these books; it was always so wholesome, and it spoke to me on a deeper level as a sister myself. Violet also played a huge role in the climax of this book, and I loved every second of that drama. She finally got to shine as the BAMF she was. It was so satisfying, the type of storybook happy ending that I couldn’t help but enjoy.
In general, this was another highly entertaining period romance. There was all the passion and drama and family I’ve come to expect from Quinn, and the Cinderella theme was everything I didn’t know I needed. Plus, if the scene between Colin and Penelope in this book is any indication, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton will be even better.