An Offer From a Gentleman
by Julia Quinn
Published by Avon
Book 3 in the Bridgerton Series
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?
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Historical-Romance Sweet
An Offer From a Gentleman is the third book in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. It centers around second born son, Benedict Bridgerton, who is suffering the plight of any eligible bachelor at a ball during the ton's season: bloodthirsty mothers and their daughters. It also follows Sophie Beckett, a "blow-by" of an earl, who sneaks into the very same ball - a masquerade - to live a few hours with a taste of the life she should have, if it wasn't for her stepmother. After a magical few hours in the arms of Benedict, she flees before her stepmother realizes she is gone, and without giving her name. Two years later, and Benedict has all but given up searching for the mystery woman who stole his heart, when, by chance, he meets Sophie, a house maid who is down on her luck. But there is something about Sophie that strikes him as familiar ... and she inspires the same feelings that the lady in the silver dress years before ...
That's right, fellow book nerds. It's a Cinderella retelling.
I won't lie. I'm not a fan of fairy tale retellings unless it's done well. The first couple of chapters made me cringe, and I was honestly dreading this book. And if you have read my reviews before, you know I'm not a fan of insta-love either.
Wanna hear something truly weird, though? After a couple of chapters, and we head out of the Cinderella plot more and more, I couldn't stop reading. Another weird thing: the insta-love didn't bother me. In fact, our two protagonists reconnection, and the build-up, made up for the spiritual connection they both felt with one another. I think this is my favorite one so far, actually. It loses points on originality, for sure, but the story as a whole is actually well done, there isn't anything controversial like in the last two books, it has a nice, consistent, fast paced flow, and the characters are likeable.
Sophie's character is wonderfully written, and super likeable, as expected with the whole Cinderella trope. Throughout the book, I understood Benedict's fascination with her. Julia Quinn does a good job writing banter between these two, and showing that both parties are both intelligent and kind. I have absolutely no complaints about either of these characters, which, if you have read my other Bridgerton reviews, is surprising.
Despite it's fairy tale beginning, and end, I truly loved this book! I literally couldn't put it down (which ended with a rather embarrassing moment of walking into a door). I can't wait to start Colin's story next!
Benedict teaching Sophie to dance
Benedict saving Sophie from being raped
Sophie taking care of Benedict when he was sick
Sophie throwing the candle at Benedict's head
Sophie watching Benedict swimming in the lake
Sophie refusing to be Benedict's mistress, despite loving him
Benedict discovering that Penelope is in love with Colin
Benedict and Sophie making love for the first time
Benedict asking his mom about love
Eloise telling Benedict he needs to help Hyacinth with her arithmetic, plotting so he would meet up with Sophie
Benedict, Violet and Posy, getting Sophie out of jail, and blackmailing Araminta
Where to Buy
Benedict: "Don't you have somewhere to be?"
Colin: "I'm sure Mother would prefer that I be in the ballroom, but it's not exactly a requirement."
Benedict: "I require it."
Colin: "Very well."
Colin: "I shall take myself off."
Colin: "All alone, to face the ravenous wolves ..."
Colin: "Eligible young ladies. A pack a ravenous wolves, the lot of them. Present company excluded, of course."
Benedict: "What do you feel?"
Benedict: "What do you hear?"
Sophie: "The music. I hear the music as I've never heard it before."
Benedict: "What do you see?"
Sophie stumbled, but she never took her eyes off his.
Sophie: "My soul. I see my very soul."
Benedict: "I want your future. I want every little piece of you."
Benedict: "It's very bad form to spy on one's host."
Sophie: "It was an accident."
Benedict: "Oh, I believe you there. But even if you didn't intend to spy on me, the fact remains that when the opportunity arose, you took it."
Sophie: "Do you blame me?"
Benedict: "Not at all. I would have done precisely the same things."
Her mouth fell open
Benedict: "Oh, don't pretend to be offended."
Sophie: "I'm not pretending."
Benedict: "To tell the truth, I'm quite flattered."
Sophie: "It was academic curiosity. I assure you."
His smile grew sly
Benedict: "So you're telling me that you would have spied upon any naked man you'd come across."
Sophie: "Of course not!"
Benedict: "As I said, I'm flattered."
He smiled. It was a small, knowing sort of smile, one that sent chills right down her spine to another area altogether.
Benedict: "I like when you say my name."
Sophie: "I didn't mean to."
He touched a finger to her lips.
Benedict: "Shhh, don't tell me that. Don't you know that's not what a man wishes to hear?"
Sophie: "I don't have much experience with men."
Benedict: "Now that's what a man wishes to hear."
He touched her cheek with one fingertip
Benedict: "It's what I want to hear from you."
Benedict: "I think I'm going to kiss you."
Sophie: "You think?"
Benedict: "I think I have to kiss you. It's rather like breathing. One doesn't have much choice in the matter."
Benedict: "Be mine. Be mine right now. Be mine forever. I'll give you anything you want. All I want in return is you."
Benedict: "I could give you whatever you wanted. Clothes, jewels - Hell, forget about the clothes and jewels, I could give you a bloody roof over your head, which is more than you have now."
Sophie: "That is true."
Benedict: "I could give you everything."
Somehow, she managed to stand up straight, and somehow managed not to cry. And somehow she even managed to keep her voice even as she said
Sophie: "If you think that's everything, then you probably wouldn't understand why I must refuse."
Sophie: "I have been adrift all my life."
He touched her chin.
Benedict: "Let me be your anchor."
Benedict: "I can live with you hating me. I just can't live without you."
Benedict: "Doesn't the irony just kill you?"
Sophie: "No, but it may very well kill you."
Violet: "You. Wait for me downstairs. We have much to discuss, you and I."
Benedict: "I'm quaking in my boots."
Violet: "Between him and his brother, I don't know which one of them will kill me first."
Sophie: "Which brother?"
Violet: "Either. Both. All three. Scoundrels, the lot of them."
Eloise: "And why was the party so dreadful?"
Benedict: "The company. A more boring bunch of lazy louts, I've never met."
Eloise: "As long as you don't mince words."
Benedict raised a brow at her sarcasm
Benedict: "You are hereby forbidden from marrying anyone who was in attendance."
Eloise: "An order I shall probably have no difficulty obeying."
Benedict: "And what are we reading today?"
Sophie: "That question implies that I am actually reading, which I assure you I am unable to do while you are sitting here."
Benedict: "My presence is that compelling, eh?"
Sophie: "It's that disturbing."
Sophie: "They say that a smart person learns from her mistakes. But a truly smart person learns from other people's mistakes. I'd like to think I'm a truly smart person. Please don't take that away from me,."
Benedict: "When you met Father - "
Violet: "It happened in an instant."
Benedict: "So you knew that he was the one?"
She smiled, and her eyes took on a faraway, misty look.
Violet: "Oh, I wouldn't have admitted it. At least not right away. I fancied myself a practical sort. I'd always scoffed at the notion of love at first sight."
She paused for a moment, and Benedict knew she was no longer in the room with him, but at some long-ago ball, meeting his father for the first time. Finally, just when he thought she'd completely forgotten the conversation, she looked back up and said,
Violet: "But I knew."
Violet: "Only you will be able to make this decision, and I'm afraid it won't be an easy one."
He stared out the window, his silence his agreement.
Violet: "But, should you decide to join your life with someone not of our class, I will of course support you in every possible manner."
Benedict looked up sharply. There were few women of the ton who would say the same to their sons.
Violet: "You are my son. I would give my life for you."
Eloise: "You promised Hyacinth you would help her with her arithmetic. She hasn't seen hide nor hair of you in two weeks."
Benedict: "It's not as if she has a school to flunk out of."
Eloise: "Benedict, that is a terrible thing to say!"
Benedict: "I know."
he groaned, hoping to stave off the lecture.
Eloise: "Just because we of the female gender are not allowed to study at places like Eton and Cambridge doesn't mean our educations are any less precious."
Benedict: "I know."
Eloise: "Furthermore -"
Benedict sagged against the wall.
Eloise: " - I am of the opinion that the reason we are not allowed access is that if we were, we would trounce you men in all subject!"
Benedict: "I'm sure you're right."
Eloise: "Don't patronize me."
Benedict: "Believe me, Eloise, the last thing I would dream of doing is patronizing you."
Did it matter that she was the woman from the masquerade? She'd lied to him about her identity, but he knew her soul. When they kissed, when they laughed, when they simply sat and talked - she had never feigned a moment.
The woman who could make his heart sing with a simple smile, the woman who could fill him with contentment just through the simple act of sitting by him while he sketched - that was the real Sophie.
And he loved her.
Violet: "We shall make new memories for you, my dear."
Benedict: "I love you."
Her lips parted
Benedict: "I want to marry you."
She stopped breathing.
Benedict: "And I don't care about your parents or my mother's bargain with Lady Penwood to make you respectable. I would have married you no matter what."
Benedict: "I think that you should have a bath."
Sophie: "Right. I'll go straight to your mother's -"
The smile spread to the right corner of his mouth
Sophie: "But we told your mother -"
Benedict: "That you'd be home by nine."
Sophie: "I think she said seven."
Benedict: "Did she? Funny, I heard nine."
Sophie: "I love you. I have always loved you. I think I loved you before I even knew you."
He leaned down to kiss her anew, but she stopped him with a breathy
Sophie: "No, wait."
He paused, mere inches from her lips
Sophie: "At the masquerade, even before I saw you, I felt you. Anticipation. Magic. There was something in the air. And when I turned, and you were there, it was as if you'd been waiting for me, and I knew that you were the reason I'd stolen into the ball. You are the reason I exist, the very reason I was born."
Benedict: "You're mine. You're mine."
And much later, when they were exhausted and spent, lying in each other's arms, he brought his lips to her ear and whispered
Benedict: "And I'm yours."
Benedict: "It's time my mother had a grandchild named after her, don't you think?"
Sophie: "I think Violet is a lovely name. I just hope it's a girl. Because if it's a boy, he's never going to forgive us..."
Check out the rest of the Bridgerton Series below