First Comes Scandal: A Bridgerton Prequel

Written by Julia Quinn
Review by Ray Thompson

1791. Summoned home urgently from medical school in Edinburgh, Nicholas Rokesby is grateful it is not for a death in the family. He is less grateful when he learns that his father wishes, nay commands, him to marry Georgiana Bridgerton. Immediately. He has known her since childhood as a friend and neighbor, but thinks of her as a sister. When he thinks of her at all. She fought off her abductor and escaped, but in the eyes of society she is ruined unless she marries. Reluctantly both agree: he unwilling to abandon a friend, she to accept a bounder who wants her for her dowry.

Serious issues are raised: the vulnerability of women, patriarchal attitudes, double standards. In other words, the familiar injustices of the Regency era which, despite progress, sadly remain. But though the spirited Georgie rails against the injustices, especially the attitude that blames the victim, not the aggressor, she bows to the inevitable, determined to make the best of her situation. Which isn’t so bad, really, for Nicholas is not only honorable, but supportive and open-minded.

With her trademark wit, Quinn steers them from outrage and resignation, to love and hope for the future. Strongly recommended.