Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #3) by Julia Quinn

She was in the wrong place…

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…

He found her at the wrong time…

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

What is The Other Miss Bridgerton about?

This book is part of a prequel series to the Bridgertons series, and this installment in particular focuses on a cousin of Lady Bridgerton from the better known series. Our heroine this go about is Poppy, an adventurous and strong willed young lady without a lot of interest in marriage. While exploring a cave she discovered seaside, she accidentally encounters a stash of goods from a privateer and is brought aboard his ship. Unable to delay his trip, the captain decides to take her along to Portugal–giving Poppy a taste of real adventure, and of course romance.

Genre: Historical Romance

This is, as expected from Quinn, a historical romance. But it was fun to depart the regency era romances and instead have a lovely at sea historical romance–they’re definitely my favorite kind.

Tropes: A Gentleman Swashbuckler

I do love a good swashbuckling lead. The Captain who takes Poppy hostage is exactly that: a gentleman turned privateer, though not a pirate unfortunately.

Plot: Sometimes, kidnapping does lead to romance

I mean, they have to share a rather small ship’s cabin, and close quarters and all… Yes, Poppy very much subverts the usual characterization of the captured heroine, and similarly the Captain is a much more polite and morally upright kidnapper than usual.

The Good

I actually really liked this book as a whole. Having been knee deep in Bridgertons when I picked it up, it was very refreshing. Poppy and Andrew are completely different from the three novels of Quinn’s where each set of leads were highly similar. Poppy is one of those rare historical romance heroines who actually shows you that she’s different from other women in her acquaintance. The writing really captured how her mind worked and how it influenced her sometimes odd behavior. As for Andrew, I appreciated that once again we were shown more than told about his morality. It’s easy to present a “pirate” or privateer character in one of these stories and have their morality be dubious at best. All in all, I found the setting and the characters well done, and the whole effect to be the most unique thing I’ve read from Quinn thus far.

The Okay

I am not naturally inclined towards a kidnapping plotline, but as far as they go I found this one not too bad. The love interest is not the person who made the initial decision to kidnap Poppy, and he does have some good reasons for deciding to go along with it once she’s aboard. Ultimately their easy relationship that develops during her captivity actually makes sense and isn’t as weird considering how it started. I still think there could have been another premise that took away the kidnapping narrative, especially considering the book’s climax also involves a separate kidnapping plot.

The Bad

The ending was the only part of this book that didn’t really work for me. Aspects of it were okay–I liked that the two of them had to pretend they hadn’t met to preserve Poppy’s reputation. For me, it was the rushed nature of the second kidnapping, the weirdly high stakes of it that ended up not actually mattering, and the way Poppy was treated when she did return home. The whole thing felt very convenient and even the other characters acknowledged that normally this would have been a big deal. I wish that the whole final plot in Portugal hadn’t happened and we’d gotten comedic shenanigans of Andrew trying to return Poppy to her family himself. I think the whole plot was high stakes enough that the story didn’t need another dramatic climax to it.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think it’s my favorite of Quinn’s thus far. Though tangential to Bridgertons–it’s marked as a prequel–you don’t need to have read any of those books, nor the previous two books in this series to enjoy The Other Miss Bridgerton. I found Poppy to be the most interesting female lead I’ve read from Quinn thus far, and felt similarly to Andrew. The story itself had some campy tropes that I generally enjoy and I did find the relationship took center stage during the book which is always a plus in a dubious historical romance. Despite my feelings about the rushed through climax and ending–and how unnecessary they really were–overall the book was a pleasant experience.

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

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