Like much of the population of the UK, I was glued to the first series of Bridgerton on Netflix last year. I love period dramas and this was certainly a good one. Helped in no small part by the casting of Regé-Jean Page, I was gripped by the romance between Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. I was determined to read at least some of the novels before the next series began on Netflix so I bought myself the books for my Kindle. The Bridgerton novels are set in the Regency era and focus on the eight members of the Bridgerton family and their quest for love and happiness. With the second series just having started, focussing on Anthony, the oldest Bridgerton brother, I thought I’d just do a short spotlight piece on the books I’ve read so far.
I say the books I’ve read but actually, I’ve been swapping between reading them and listening to the audiobooks. The audio versions are excellent with narrator Rosalyn Lander bringing all the characters vividly to life. As ever, I’ve been using the Libby App from the library which I can’t recommend enough. It gives free access to thousands of audiobooks and ebooks. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Book 1 – The Duke and I
Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke? Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813.
By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely – and almost-on-the-shelf – Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth – it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable….
Their ruse works like a charm – at first. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her. It wasn’t the plan, but it seems she’s falling for the duke, for real. And amidst the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule….
Book 2 – The Viscount Who Loved Me
1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, This Author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in all truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better….
Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1814
Anthony Bridgerton needs a wife. Having spent his 20s in a rakish pursuit of pleasure (whilst taking care to ensure the financial security of his mother and seven younger siblings and mother) he knows it’s high time he settled down and ensured the continuation of the Bridgerton line. Edwina Sheffield is considered the most beautiful debutante of the current season. She is also sweet, innocent and eminently biddable – Anthony is sure she’ll make a perfectly acceptable wife and vows to make her his.
The only obstacle in his way is Edwina’s older sister, Kate. Kate is determined to do all she can to allow her sister the chance to marry for love rather than convenience. And the roguish viscount is beginning to think he may have met his match in Kate’s keen wit and sharp tongue. Until, that is, he makes the mistake of kissing her….
Book 3 – An Offer from a Gentleman
Sophie Beckett never dreamt she would sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball – or that ‘Prince Charming’ would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie had been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But that night, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she felt like royalty. Yet she knows all enchantments must end.
But Sophie has reckoned without Benedict’s determined heart: he has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, for he knows this is his only chance for a fairy tale love….
Book 4 – Romancing Mr Bridgerton
Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London. Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for…well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret, and fears she doesn’t know him at all.
Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought of as nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad, he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same – especially Penelope Featherington! The girl who was always simply there is suddenly the girl haunting his dreams. When he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide. Is she his biggest threat – or his promise of a happy ending?
I think my favourite book so far is An Offer from a Gentleman, which is Benedict’s story. It’s very much a retelling of Cinderella complete with a wicked stepmother and rather unpleasant, if not ugly, stepsisters and a few dramatic hero to the rescue scenes. I’m half way through the original series of novels and I think I’m a little obsessed with the Bridgertons! Luckily for me, not only do I have four more novels to read, Julia Quinn has also written extra epilogues for all the books, now published in a separate book called Happily Ever After as well as a set of prequels called the Rokesbys and I’ve just spotted other books called Bevelstoke. Oh I am going to have plenty to satisfy my Regency cravings! Okay, so they’re not Jane Austen, but the books are fun to read, entertaining escapist and full of passion.
The Bridgerton novels are published by Piatkus and are available in ebook and paperback.
The audiobook versions are published by WG Howes Ltd..