Friday, April 4, 2014

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After* * * * *

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.


Like most readers I want to know what happens after the Happy Ever After.  Life doesn’t end after a declaration of love.  In fact, I would argue that life and love get even better after the fade to black.  But we rarely (if ever) see that in romance.  And really, I can understand why authors avoid it.  Because, for all the good that happens after the Happy Ever After, some bad things inevitably happen as well.  And why would authors want to put their babies through more pain and suffering than they already have?

It would seem Julia Quinn was up for a challenge.  Her readers begged and she delivered.  And she delivered in a way that only she could.  In The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, Julia Quinn provides a 2nd Epilogue to each of her Bridgerton novels.  They take place anywhere from immediately after the original novel (Romancing Mister Bridgerton) to 20 years later (It’s In His Kiss).  And they don’t necessarily star the original hero and heroine.  The Epilogue to To Sir Philip, With Love stars an older Amanda Crane (Eloise’s step-daughter) and An Offer from a Gentleman stars Sophie’s step-sister, Posey.  But you still get to experience ALL the Bridgertons in all of their chaotic and loving glory.

As you know, my love of the Bridgertons knows no bounds; which means I loved all of these short stories.  Even the 2nd epilogue to my least favorite Bridgerton book (An Offer From a Gentleman) was absolutely lovely and had me smiling.  There are some sad and/or bittersweet moments.  Particularly in the epilogue to On the Way to the Wedding.  Who would have ever guessed that the adorable little Gregory from The Duke and I would grow up to find such strength in his annoying little sister?   And the most hilarious of all, the epic Pall Mall battle between the Viscount and his Lady Bridgerton in the 2nd Epilogue to The Viscount Who Loved Me.

The gem of this compilation, however, is Violet in Bloom: A Novella.  Yes, Violet Bridgerton, the mother of the eight boisterous Bridgerton children, gets her own story.  And Quinn doesn’t hold back with this one.  We learn Violet’s entire story.  From the time she is 8 years old and is trying to exact revenge on “that horrid” Edmund Bridgerton until sixty-seven years later when she is visiting Aubrey Hall to visit with her eight children, 33 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.  But I will warn you dear reader.  If you love Violet Bridgerton as so many of us do, this story will make you smile and then ugly cry and then smile again.  Because this is her entire story and we KNOW Violet is a widow.  We KNOW that Edmund Bridgerton was her one true love.  We KNOW how he died and how it affected Violet and their children.  And knowing all that didn’t stop Ms. Quinn from sharing THAT moment with us.  That heartbreaking moment when the loveliest of all mothers in romance history loses one of the things she loves the most.

So, needless to say, if you love Julia Quinn and you love the Bridgertons (and you haven’t already read the 2nd Epilogues when they were released digitally), then this is a must read.  And you know what, this is a must buy even if you have read the Epilogues already.  Because Violet’s story alone is worth the cover price.


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