Review posted: Happily Ever After - Reads
The love story in book 3, Benedict’s, was love at first sight; Benedict and Sophie were knocked off their feet before they even said one word to each other. For Colin and Penelope, the opposite happened. They’ve known each other for years, he a popular Bridgerton, quick with a smile, or always letting his sense of humor show. Penelope, a shy girl, always a wallflower, has accepted that she’ll have to love Colin from a distance, while she lives the life of a spinster.
One of the many things I’m loving about this series, is how each sibling has found love. For Colin and Penelope it might be the most touching story so far – and yes I’ve said that with the first three books as well, but to know someone for years and finally SEE them, whether it’s because Colin changed, or Penelope, or both of them, they grow together first as friends, then realize that they can’t imagine their lives without one another. It was really the sweetest journey for them. They had a little bit of angst to get through, but it was nothing that their love couldn’t overcome and sometimes, you don’t need to have huge angst in a story to make the romance work. This story was all about their relationship and finding their way to each other, after only knowing friendship for so many years.
Colin has so many layers to him, and it’s not surprising. So far, we had only seen the playful, adventurous Colin, who is witty and fun, and takes off for parts unknown, loving to travel and see the world. But inside he’s struggling to find his place. He doesn’t have that “thing” in the world that he can point to with pride and say, this is mine, this is my accomplishment, this is something that I’ve done that I’m proud of. It bothers him deeply and only Penelope comes to understand this about him, even though he is a bit jealous of her and her secret accomplishments as a writer.
Colin has a bit of a temper (who knew!!) but he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and even as he tries to find a purpose in his life, and takes it out a little on Penelope through a little jealously, he loves her fully, and her support for his own writing helps him see a side to himself that he was scared to take a chance on. Her approval and kind words mean the world to him, and for Penelope, to see the outgoing Colin as vulnerable, made her (and me) love him even more.
Ahhhh Penelope. So many times throughout the book I wanted to cheer and clap for her. She’s always been the wallflower, if for no other reason than she found herself so uncomfortable in crowds that she has a hard time expressing her true self and letting her real personality come out like she’s able to with those closest to her. That part of Penelope was so easy for me to relate to – who hasn’t had the experience of fighting for words when you most need them, only to have the perfect come back or simple comment well after you needed it? She’s a sneaky one though and has been keeping a secret from everyone in her life for years. Colin finds out the truth, and while initially his main concern is the impact it will have on Penelope if/when the truth comes out, he wants no harm to ever come to the woman he loves, this is also the source of the jealously he feels. It causes a couple of bumps in the road, but Colin loves her. Simple as that and he’ll do whatever it takes to make her happy.And then Penelope did the one thing that could break his resolve in an instant. She looked up at him, deeply into his eyes, and uttered one, simple word.
He was lost. There was something heartbreaking in the way she was gazing at him, as if she might die if he didn’t kiss her. Not from heartbreak, not from embarrassment – it was almost as if she needed him for nourishment, to feed her soul, to fill her heart.
And Colin couldn’t remember anyone else ever needing him with such fervor.
It humbled him.
It made him want her with an intensity that nearly buckled his knees. He looked at her, and somehow he didn’t see the woman he’d seen so many times before. She was different. She glowed. She was a siren, a goddess, and he wondered how on earth no one had ever noticed this before.
This is really just the best love story, start to end. And while all these books are stand-alones, it packs an even bigger punch if you’ve read the first three books and get a small taste of who Colin and Penelope are before their story, especially seeing what Penelope’s gone through; suffering through embarrassing balls and moments that no poor girl should have to deal with. I ended the story with happy tears and completely, 100% satisfied with the journey and story that Colin and Penelope were given. Simply wonderful and I’m already feeling a bit sad that I’m now officially at the half way point of the series. Four more Bridgerton’s to go, but there will be many rereads coming up!