An Offer From a Gentleman's plot is based on the fairy tale of Cinderella. The wicked stepmother and two stepsisters, a handsome prince to rescue her from a life of servitude...only what I liked about this fairy tale was that the fair maiden rescued herself - in a sense.
When Sophie's father died when she was 14, her stepmother was only left with two thousand pounds a year, unless she took Sophie in. If she did that, she would get six thousand per annum. So Araminta, Sophie's wicked stepmother, took Sophie in and enslaved her basically. She was lady's maid, scullery maid and any other task Araminta could make up, she made Sophie do it. How did she do it? Sophie was the earl's illegitimate daughter. Araminta wanted nothing to do with Sophie, so she made her life hell.
One evening after Sophie turned 21, all the ladies of the house went to a masquerade ball at the Bridgerton's. Sophie desperately wanted to go for one night and the housekeeper made her dream come true. At the ball, Sophie met and fell for Benedict Bridgerton. And he fell for her. But at midnight Sophie had to return home before her stepmother and stepsisters. And somehow the next day, Araminta discovered that Sophie attended the ball and she locked her in the closet. Sophie realized she had had enough and decided to strike out on her own...but Araminta "fired" her. You can't really fire someone you're not paying, can you?
Two years later and Benedict comes to Sophie's rescue. Only he doesn't realize she's the woman he fell in love with at the masquerade and Sophie is not wanting to tell him. She doesn't know that he's looked for her and continues to hold her memory precious in his heart. All she knows is that he doesn't remember her and so she figures she must not have made an impression on him. But she was masked after all. After Benedict rescues Sophie from her current employer's son, she turns around and helps him when he's ill. Not one to forget a kindness, Benedict says he'll find a place for her in his mother's household. But as he's recovering from his illness, he realizes that he wants Sophie. But when he asks her to be his mistress, Sophie says no. Nothing would be worse to Sophie than to bring a bastard into this world, no matter how much she wants Benedict.
So will Benedict discover the truth about Sophie? Will he buck society's conventions and marry a maid?
My goodness what a story! Yet another book I stayed up late to finish (5 am I believe! LOL). Benedict was just something else. Here's what he says to himself after Sophie turns his offer down again:
"I can live with you hating me," he said to the closed door. "I just can't live without you."
You can understand why at first Benedict only asks her to be his mistress. He doesn't know that she's an earl's by-blow. And eventually he doesn't even care that she's just a maid - he wants her and if the only way to have her is marriage, he's willing to face the consequences. *sigh* Now that's true love. I really enjoyed Benedict and Sophie's story. How they got to know each other while he was getting better. And then how he had to visit her after she began working for his mother. Too cute.
An Offer from a Gentleman was a great fairy tale.