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?
What is An Offer From a Gentleman about?
For this installment of Bridgertons, we meet Benedict–the second eldest son. Benedict is used to being an afterthought to his brother, Anthony, except for one night at a ball. A chance encounter leads to his meeting the one woman who seems to not care about his name–and won’t give him hers. He dreams about this woman for years until he encounters Sophie Beckett, a maid he rescues from unwanted sexual advances. At first offering to find her a better employer, Benedict finds himself drawn to Sophie–but unable to marry her as such a lowly girl. Sophie, meanwhile, has been dreaming of her prince charming, Benedict Bridgerton, since being expelled from her stepmother’s house. He just doesn’t recognize her without her mask…
Genre: Fairy Tale Historical Romance
Interestingly, for this book Julia Quinn made the choice to double dip. This installment is also a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale, set in regency era England and without any magical elements.
Tropes: Hidden Identities
The big crux of the novel is that Sophie is hiding who she really is.
Plot: Cinderella featuring an Indecent Proposal
So the beginning of the novel is pretty much beat for beat Cinderella. Afterwards, the story takes a much more salacious spin as Benedict attempts to woo Sophie.
I did enjoy the break from the Bridgertons formula that takes place in this book. Having Benedict fall in love technically outside of his social class brings in a more interesting discussion of class and wealth than the usual “I’m technically gentility but you outrank me” dynamic that is common in regency romances. I also liked that Benedict was different enough from both Simon and Anthony–who were stunningly alike in their books, personal traumas aside. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the two leads in this novel are wholly unique or deviate from where Quinn is clearly comfortable, but they did demonstrate a little more range than I’ve seen so far in the series.
Once again I find myself a little wary of the male love interest in this book. Like Simon and Anthony before him, Benedict backs Sophie into a corner in their relationship and attempts to blackmail her into essentially becoming his mistress. He doesn’t go through with forcing her into anything, but the intent was there and it was my least favorite portion of the book to read.
I didn’t care for the constant miscommunications. Clearly this is a common trope in the series, but I didn’t feel it worked when paired with the Cinderella story. Though I thought it was interesting to prolong the “search for Cinderella” portion of the story, it dragged a lot in comparison to the quick paced beginning that covers most of the fairytale homage. It would have been more interesting to me if more aspects of Cinderella were brought in later, and if the mystery of her identity was spun into a longer investigation. It really felt as though Benedict had to tell us so much about his feelings for Sophie and Cinderella-Sophie because he never really felt them on the page.
I think so far this might be my favorite in the series if only because it has a unique premise with the Cinderella retelling aspect. Altogether, though, it follows the same formula. Which is perfectly fine for a romance series, just a bit boring if you’ve been reading a lot of them lately. It was also interesting to get a little bit more nuance on the class discussion than there’s been thus far. I also enjoyed getting to see more of the Bridgerton family as a unit than we usually see. With Daphne and Anthony’s stories, we really only see a few interactions with one or two siblings, but this book brings in the family dynamics as they’re happening in the home. I also enjoyed seeing Lady Whistledown discussing something other than what’s already happening in the chapters. Usually, Whistledown is superfluous–really only included to remind us that she’s a gossip. This time, her article acts as an insight into the lives of characters that aren’t showing up on the page.