Do you know what day today is? It’s the day the second season of Bridgerton arrives on Netflix! And so to celebrate, I’m writing about the book series that inspired the TV show.
The series follows the eight children of Violet Bridgerton and her late husband as they find love. Although the kids are named in alphabetical order (Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth) the books aren’t in age order – so the happily ever afters are Daphne, Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Eloise, Francesca, Hyacinth and Gregory. There are no secret babies here, but there are fake relationships, widows, widowers, rakes, Cinderella stories, secret identities and more. As with other similar romance series you can read them in any order, but you’ll get slight spoilers for the other books if you do – for example the real identity of Lady Whistledown the gossip columnist isn’t revealed in the first book (like it is in the first series of the TV show) you only find out when that character is the main character of one of the books.*
That said, the first book in the series that I read was book six – When He Was Wicked – which is actually pretty self-contained. Our heroine is Francesca who is recovering from the death of her first husband, with the help of her dear friend and confident Michael. Michael was Francesca’s husband’s cousin and succeeded him as the earl. He’s also been in love with Francesca since the first time he saw her – 36 hours before her wedding. Some of the action takes place on the earl’s estate in Scotland so you don’t get to see much of the fun sibling dynamics that makes the other books. It also runs paralel to Romancing Mr Bridgerton and To Sir Phillip, With Love so I’m really interested to see how the TV series deals with all that when it gets there.
Talking of the TV series, it’s been said before and it’s worth saying again here that the books aren’t as diverse as the TV version is. Also Queen Charlotte isn’t a character in the books the way that she is in the show. But don’t let that stop you reading the books – because they really are great fun and very romantic. And they’re a total binge read too. Hopefully the arrival of series two will put some of them back onto offer on Kindle again – but they’re definitely much easier to get hold of in paperback than they used to be. You can see from my copies that I’ve had them for a while (I started reading them in my Southend era a decade plus ago) but the redesign of the Duke and I to tie in with the TV show seems to have sparked a mass redesign of historical romance covers in general which has been interesting to see.
*yes I know you know who it is if you’ve watched the TV series, but I’m trying not to do spoilers for the people who haven’t!