"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." - Oscar Wilde
I actually skipped this book and went on to Eloise's story. When I was about half way into To Sir Phillip, with Love I thought I kind of liked Eloise's story and was reminded what a great writer Julia Quinn can be. I decided to come back and read Penelope and Colin's story. For God's sake, it is "the Bridgertons"!
I really like how Julia Quinn writes. The witty and charming subtlety, I always get into a happy place where I just enjoy the brilliance. There is nothing like it when the writing is so fluid that it encompasses you like a nice warm blanket on a winter night. Yeah, that is how Julia Quinn's writing makes me feel.
However I was rather underwhelmed by Colin and Penelope's story. I venture to guess that it has a lot to do with my doubts about a "I noticed you after 10 years" kind of romance and these tiny bits of details about the characters that usually bother me.
1. Extremely popular guy with a plain girl: Colin the perpetual charmer with Penelope the wallflower. It may be just the thing for some people. For me I am always asking the question: why her, of all the pretty attractive smart girls, why chose a plain girl? I don't get it.
2. They have know each other for years and all of a sudden, he couldn't keep his hands off her: Penelope was Colin's sister's best friend. They have know each other for 11 years when the story begins. I would love to be proven wrong but my observation has been that, if a guy doesn't like you in the beginning, it is very unlikely that he will like you later. It is a physical reaction, either they like you or they don't. And it happens fairly quickly. Whether they do something about it, that is a different story (even though I do maintain that if they REALLY like you, they would do something). If you have seen counter-examples, I would be more than happy to hear about it. I could even buy that the guy is unaware of his feelings. But there should always be something, sparks, discomfort, anything. The unexplored attraction may lay dormant, but it always does something to you.
So I have trouble believing that a charmer such as Colin, who has known Penelope for more than 10 years, would suddenly fall madly in love with the slightly pudgy spinster. Colin was always comfortable around Penelope. He had to be forced to dance with her to be polite. He never had funny thoughts about her. I didn't see any signs of chemistry. And I cannot imagine such a romance blossoming all of a sudden in their 11th year of friendship. But as I said, I would love to be corrected.
I am still glad that I read the book. It is almost like a duty to the Bridgerton family to read everyone's story. I have done right by Colin and Penelope and I am happy to go back to Eloise and Philip.