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One of the biggest surprises of the 2020-21 streaming season has been Bridgerton, the Regency-era series that was equally an outrageous drama from Shondaland as it was a love letter to all the bodice-ripper fiction genre.
Based on Julia Quinn’s hit historical romance series, the first season of the Netflix show produced by Shonda Rhimes covered the first book, The duke and I, following the enlightened court of upper class socialites Daphné Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). The show was an immediate hit with royal watchers and drama fans, propelling the cast to rising star status, while also placing the original book series at the top of the bestseller list.
Which are the best Bridgerton Books in order?
While Netflix announced it would renew Bridgerton for a second season, it may be some time before another faint-worthy batch of episodes becomes available. However, if you devoured the first few episodes like delicious tea pastry and are hungry for more, look no further. Quinn’s original Bridgerton The series includes eight novels that follow trials and tribulations, and of course, the romantic lives of other Bridgerton siblings. With high tension, swirling romances, and sizzling scenes (sometimes much more X-rated than what’s on the TV show), they’re perfect for people who think the gentle caresses of Austen’s hands from the job are everything. simply too tame.
Looking forward to Season 2, here’s our guide to catching up to the eight Bridgerton novels and how to read them in order. Buy them on paperback, for your Kindle, or listen to audiobooks for free with a 30-day free trial at Audible here.
1. The Duke and I (Bridgerton)
The source material of the Netflix series, The duke and me focuses on classic fake dating, won’t-they-don’t-trope, but it’s so well done. During high society dating season, Bridgerton’s eldest daughter, Daphne, agrees to fake a courting with the mysterious Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. They plan their elaborate masquerade to both keep the prying eyes of curious wedding mothers away and make Daphne a hot commodity with other eligible singles. Their plan begins to unravel, however, when Daphne falls in love with Simon for real – you can tell where it is, but the passionate journey is well worth it.
2. The viscount who loved me
While the first book focuses on Daphne and Simon’s journey to marriage, the second surrounds the elusive bachelor and certified Lady Whistledown rake, Anthony, Bridgerton’s eldest son. After getting tired of his reputation, Anthony decides to settle down and marry Edwina, exactly the honorable young woman he thinks he needs. Too bad her sister, Kate Sheffield, stops her efforts at every turn, determined to prevent her younger sister from marrying someone like Anthony. But through their witty banter and battle of wills, Kate finds out that she might want the viscount for herself. Not everyone can be immune to this Regency bad boy charm.
3. An offer from a gentleman
Who does not like a good Cinderella story? Benedict Bridgerton, the second eldest son of the clan, stars as Prince Charming as he spends the night of his life at a masked ball dancing with a mysterious woman. This woman turns out to be Sophie Beckett, the daughter of an earl, but who lives her days as a maid when she was forced into this position by her cruel stepmother. Benedict is drawn to a familiar-looking housekeeper as he searches for the mysterious woman of his dream. But the novel explores the effects of their class difference, as Sophie knows they may never be able to be together.
4. Romance Mr. Bridgerton
Fans of the Netflix adaptation will enjoy this follow-up to the unrequited romance between Colin, Bridgerton’s third brother, and Penelope, Featherington’s youngest daughter. After spending a lot of time abroad and getting tired of his brash ways (sound familiar?), Colin returns to town and crosses paths with Penelope again. She isn’t quite the wallflower she once was, but she still holds a flame to himself after all their years of being apart. As they dance around each other, Penelope has a secret that could threaten everything if Colin finds out (those who have watched the show can probably deduce what that secret is).
5. To Sir Phillip, with love
The quick-witted fan favorite Eloise Bridgerton, who wasn’t interested in marriage in season one, is now single when we find her in book five. While she maintains the correspondence, the husband of her deceased cousin, Sir Philip Crane, offers to come and live with him because her children need a new mother. So Eloise moves to the countryside and with her new imperfect match. But despite doubting him and their false marriage plan, they slowly learn to accept and love other people’s flaws.
6. When he was mean
This book changes perspective again to see the Bridgerton family from the outside, starring the main love interest (and another notorious rake), Michael Stirling. He nurtures a deep love for Francesca Bridgerton after the first time he laid eyes on her – coincidentally, days before his wedding to his cousin. But when unfortunate circumstances lead Michael to take the title from his cousin and Francesca is left alone, Michael tries to make her see that he can be more than her trusted confidante.
7. It’s in His kiss
After Bridgerton’s youngest daughter, Hyacinth, meets Gareth St. Clair at the Smythe-Smith musical, a temporary spark blooms. When Gareth reveals that he needs help translating an old diary written into Italian to save his legacy, Hyacinth agrees to help him. The more time they spend together working towards their singular goal, the closer they get to finding answers that were in front of them all the time (spoiler: the answer is love).
8. On the road to marriage
With the final episode of the Bridgerton saga, we follow the only non-Rakish Bridgerton brother, Gregory. He is sentimental and believes in love at first sight when he sees Hermione Watson. However, she is in love with another man, someone who is her best friend Lady Lucinda Abernathy. As Lucinda graciously agrees to help Gregory win Hermione’s hand, they discover the true love between the two of them. But double twist! Lucy is already engaged to a man of her uncle’s choice, and he doesn’t really want to let her out so easily.
What the books look like Bridgerton?
Although Bridgerton’s The plots are admittedly bizarre, their actual royal counterparts themselves had their share of sordid tales of their own. Here are some books on the real time of the Regency, if you want a historical overview of your favorite. Bridgerton novels.
1. The England of Jane Austen
Jane Austen’s novels remain one of the greatest inspirations for how we view the Regency period in modern times. Still, no one can deny that his focus was squarely focused on how the other half experienced, primarily, money and class issues (romance too) that affected a very small part of English society. Authors Roy and Lesley Adkins provide a culturally and socially rich dive into England in the days of Austen’s novels, and how events like war and unrest affected the nobility and commoners. It’s essential reading for history buffs and Janeites.
2. Mad & Bad
“The popular image of the Regency continues to be mythologized by the hundreds of romance novels of the time, which focus almost exclusively on the wealthy, white and Christian members of the upper classes,” the description reads. from the book by author Bea Koch. Taking a more intersectional feminist take on the popular era, Koch tells the stories of real women who have lived stories-rich lives, beyond the limited scope of this popular genre. She examines the history of LGBTQ and Jewish women in the regency, women of color, and women who worked in fields such as astronomy and paleontology.
3. The years of regency
The years of regency looks like a romance novel that tells historical events – which is precisely why we highly recommend it. Author Robert Morrison argues here that it was actually the Regency that planted the seeds of the modern era, rather than all the credit the Victorians often get. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, covering economics, social reforms, arts and entertainment, war, and more. You may know the key players of the time (the Shelleys, Byron, Austen, etc.) but do you know all the others who were making history in the background? Morrison’s dynamic style, along with quotes from letters and agendas, will teach you all about how this period shaped the world we know today.