Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Once again, we are gifted with a Bridgerton audiobook – sort of out of the blue, considering the “release date” on the publisher’s site is more than 3 months away – and once again, it’s the delightful and talented Rosalyn Landor in the narrator’s booth for Book 2, The Viscount Who Loved Me. The Bridgerton children are famously named alphabetically, starting with the eldest and heir, Anthony. The elder Bridgertons were expecting their 8th child (H = Hyacinth) when Edmund was felled by a fatal allergic reaction to a bee sting. Anthony was hit the hardest – he was the one who had spent the most time with his father, and he worshiped him. When Anthony realized that not only had his father died before his 39th birthday but that his uncle had also died young, he realized he too could be struck down before turning 40. Seeing the grief his mother suffered, Anthony decided he could not, would not have a love match with his bride so that she did not have to suffer this way. He would do his duty – marry well, have an heir (and a spare) and when he died, his legacy would live on, but he would not leave behind a grieving widow.
When Anthony decides he has finished sowing his wild oats, earning a reputation as a rake, he sets about finding the season’s Diamond of the First Water. Once he learns her name – Edwina Sheffield – he goes about courting her. However, Edwina has let it be known that any man wishing to gain her favor must be approved by her older sister Kate. The Sheffields are not wealthy and could not afford multiple seasons, so they had waited until Edwina was 17 and brought both Edwina and Kate, practically on the shelf at 21, to London. Edwina is fawned over by all the ton’s eligible bachelors but when the Viscount makes his wishes known, unfortunately his reputation – at least if you follow the gossip rags like Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers – has preceded him, and Kate is bound and determined not to let him anywhere near Edwina. Kate is not like her sister – she’s not exactly a biddable woman, she’s forthright and plain spoken, and she will do anything at all to protect Edwina. When Anthony makes it clear he is courting, and indeed intends to marry Edwina, Kate does everything in her power to make sure he cannot. Kate and Anthony make two wonderful opponents, with crackling electricity between them as well as witty dialogue, barbs and all. It isn’t long before each becomes aware of the attraction between them, which makes Anthony even more determined to have Edwina, because he will not, cannot fall in love with his wife – something that is starting to seem inevitable with Kate.
It’s not too much of a spoiler (it is Romance, and Anthony and Kate are the protagonists) to say that something happens that makes it indeed inevitable that they do marry, but Anthony holds on to his vision of his future, in which he leaves a widow alone at his early death, a woman he has never fallen in love with. However, he isn’t prepared to learn that Kate has also been harboring fears, fears that she faces head on her inimitable forthright fashion, making him feel a little jealous that she is determined to overcome them, while he has given up and accepted his fate. This is the true conflict that they must resolve, in the push-and-pull of love, to reach their Happy Ever After.
Once again, the book contains two epilogues, with the Second Epilogue written years later as JQ revisited each of the Bridgerton’s stories and tells a little more about them in later years. This is the book where we learn about Pall Mall, a croquet game that the Bridgerton siblings play No Holds Barred, No Rules, Everything is Fair. It’s hysterical enough in the original story, and thrice as much when revisited in the second epilogue after so many years have past. And as I said in my review of The Duke and I, the second epilogue does contain a spoiler or two for future books; however, go ahead and listen to them anyway, because if you’ve read the book’s publisher blurbs, you probably have already figured some of this out.
We have more than 40 reviews here at AudioGals of books performed by the inestimable talent of Rosalyn Landor. In fact, we now talk behind the scenes about who should review the next one, as we are running out of adjectives to convey to you, Gentle Reader, how gifted RL is at narrating Historical Romance. (I mention genre only because I have not been privileged to hear her read anything else.) In both The Duke and I and The Viscount Who Loved Me, her delivery is spot on perfection. Everything about her narration works, such that you don’t even notice how perfect it is because you are so wrapped up in the story, and this, this is how audiobook nirvana is defined. Her accents are spotless. She creates well-differentiated characters of both genders, so that I was never confused about who was talking or even thinking at any point. And when Kate’s stepmother reveals to us and Kate the details of Kate’s mother’s death, I wept openly. Even though I have read this book multiple times, I have never been moved to tears as I was when Landor performed this scene. When a moving and delightful story by one of your all time favorite authors is delivered by one of the very top narrators, you have reached the pinnacle of audiobook excellence. I plan on revisiting it many, many times.
And I encourage all fans of Historical Romance, of the Bridgertons, of high quality audiobook experiences, to go spend a credit now and take the time to be truly entertained, moved, engaged and delighted.
Book Content: A+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: None
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Recorded Books