There are 8 Bridgerton books. I read them all. In 20 days.
Last year was my first ever foray into historical romance. I read my first Tessa Dares (like 10 of them), the two Bringing Down the Duke books, and the Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. I liked them but I didn’t read any of them at breakneck speed.
Granted, it started with the Duke and I in the first week of January because as previously discussed, I’m one of those- have to read the book before they watch the adaptation -people. Which is how I read the first book in like a day and a half and then watched the show embarrassingly fast. And as much as I am often loathe to concede, I actually liked the show better. Not from a character perspective, Simon is much more complex in the book, but for the plot and added drama and opulence.
I fell into the beautiful trap exactly like they wanted. Darn them.
And yes, because it’s Shonda there were a few spicy moments. More than once I was like can they show that on TV? Apparently Netflix can do whatever they want.
But the first season also had some distinct plot changes (read here for those) that demanded I read the rest of the books to see how much was embellished. Hence, 8 books in 20 days.
Although I will say, I hope they take similar liberties with the forthcoming seasons. Some of the books were not good…
To spare you from having to read lots of posts, I’ve conveniently grouped them here!
The Duke and I
I don’t know if it was because it was the first, but this one had far and away the most original plot of the series. And honestly, it was a fun, fluffy read. I like Simon a lot, I loved the Bridgerton family dynamic, I thought the fake dating to real feelings trope was executed well. I did not like Daphne. She was kind of annoying and then she basically sexually assaults Simon when he’s too drunk to know what’s going on. Which is never cool.
The Viscount Who Loved Me
Oh Anthony. I was so looking forward to his story but his character arc was more of a straight line. There was so much potential there! He’s trying to woo the hottest pick of the season but vows not to get his heart involves. Accidently falls for her sister and then they’re forced to marry to avoid scandal. I even liked Kate a lot! But alas, Anthony was under developed.
An Offer from a Gentleman
I like Benedict and Sophie but it’s basically regency Cinderella that’s drawn way out. I was like bruh, come on. This is taking way too long to move along. Is it bad if I hope they take his character in a bisexual direction like the show implies? It would definitely help with representation; these books are all just white people. Which may have been true of the era but this is fiction! Look at what the show did! Any way..
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
This one was the most disappointing of the series for me. I was so excited for Colin and Penelope’s story from both a character and plot (!) perspective. But it turns out Colin is literally the worst. Like, why did Quinn have to make him such a jerk? It ruined the rest of the plot points for me and didn’t make me happy for them when they finally get together. The show has some work to do.
To Sir Philip, With Love
I was quite interested to see where Quinn took Eloise. While book Eloise isn’t quite as outspoken as show Eloise, they aren’t that different. I really wasn’t sure how she was going to end up married. And while she does get married, first Quinn takes the plot to some really serious and tragic places. It was 0-100 real quick in on the Bridgerton seriousness scale. Unfortunately, Quinn doesn’t actually solve or really address the traumas. It’s 90% how do we deal with these terrible things, and 10% yay we’re all magically fixed somehow.
When He was Wicked
Then we get to meet the elusive Francesca. I actually really liked this one as well; a forbidden love, dramatic longing, the Scottish countryside. It felt much more like a return to the Duke and I in my opinion. And I really liked our main man, Michael. He wasn’t perfect but he was a great blend of real life person and fantasy. Although I will say, Francesca said his name, and just his name nothing else, so often I was tempted to kick her in the shins.
It’s in His Kiss
Let’s start with the names. Gareth and Hyacinth. What the heck are they going to name their kids? Any way, I liked the plot. There was a treasure hunt and family secrets and sneaking through the streets at night. It was a pretty large departure from the first few books in that most of the societal rules that we very strictly followed have all been abandoned. Gareth sneaks into her room at night, they have sex before they get married, Hyacinth doesn’t follow any of the rules her sisters had to. It wasn’t bad necessarily but it was different.
On the Way to the Wedding
And last but not least of the Bridgerton family, Gregory. Good ole Greg shows up at a party and instantly falls for a stunning woman. But he isn’t the only one; she’s the catch of the season and there are more than a few men vying for her attention. So he enlists her best friend, who’s practically a sister, to help him win her. Sound familiar? Thankfully there were enough differences between this and Anthony’s story that I wasn’t actually mad, but it sure seemed suspicious when I read the back. Also, we finally get some representation, if only briefly. At least there’s some!
Also, over on the ole bookstagram, we did some Bridgerton polls that are saved as a highlight. Check them out to see who we decided were the best siblings!