Hello and welcome to another book series review!
This time, I am reviewing all eight books in the Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn! This book series was recently picked by Shonda Rhimes legendary producer for her new collective work with Netflix under Shondaland. Having completed the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix, I am highly anticipating what Shonda would give us next.
Since I loved watching the Netflix show, I decided to read all the books in the series. I am always an advocate of the ‘books are better than their adaptation’. Honestly, I cannot say that for this show better they did such an amazing job with this show that I am not disappointed. considering that I have read the books now, I am doubly happy with what Netflix has provided.
With the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix focusing on the first book in the series, I decided to mash the review together!
The Duke and I
Since I watched Bridgerton on Netflix, I have been itching to read the books and see how much of the books we actually get in the series. Considering the fact that I really enjoyed the series, I thought what better way to get swallowed by the story that to binge read all eight books in the Bridgertons series.
Each book in the Bridgerton series following one of the eight Bridgerton siblings. The first book, The Duke and I follow the eldest of the female Bridgertons, Daphne.
Daphne is about 21 and is just being introduced to society. She is in her first-ever season (essentially she is making her debut in the marriage market). She soon catches the eyes of the famous Lady Whistledown who has simply made herself the god of gossip and information in London. Lady Whistledown is willing to offend anyone for the perfect story. With chaste Daphne out in society, it is now time for her to find herself a husband. Unfortunately for her, with the death of her father, her oldest brother Anthony is responsible for brokering a favourite marriage partner for her. We all know how brothers can be overly RESPONSIBLE. Anthony ends up finding an issue with every suitable suitor and soon Daphne is no longer as desirable as she once was at the start of the season.
Then we meet handsome as sin Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Simon is far hotter and sexier than his title (I am going off Rege-jean that played Simon in the Netflix adaptation, the man has a great ass on him, I am hot for him, not gonna lie). Anyway, they both meet and soon she finds out that Simon is her brother Anthony’s close friend. From what we know of Anthony’s rakish ways, Daphne expects that Simon is also a rake. Their meeting is not so pleasant, but they cannot deny the attraction that they feel for one another. Simon being a Duke means that he is the prey of every ambitious mama in London trying to find a husband for her daughter. With Daphne’s popularity going down and Simon’s trail of ambitious vultures mamas, he devises a plan with Daphne for them to fake court. He would pretend to be interested in her which would make the mamas get off his back but at the same time make Daphne more desirable to the male population (times were different).
******To Avoid Unnecessary Spoilers I will skip ahead ********** TW: RAPE
They get married, then she finds out why he cannot give her children. This leads her to rape him. Compared to the show where honestly the scene was handled a little more delicately (i am not among the group of people who thinks the scene needs to be scrapped, this was a turning point in their relationship. I, however, do not like how the aftermath was handled, Daphne did not apologize, in no way did she acknowledge or feel remorse for what she did to Simon). In the book, Simon was drunk and while it was written to show that he was aroused, there is no excuse due to the fact that she had prior knowledge and understanding that, he did not want to have a child with her. She forced him to c*m inside her was her taking his ability to control he wants her needs.
Take into account the authors own words
“He shifted restlessly, and Daphne felt the strangest, most intoxicating surge of power. He was in her control, she realized. He was asleep, and probably still more than a little drunk, and she could do whatever she wanted with him. She could have whatever she wanted”
She absolutely knew what she was doing and people claiming she was too innocent and chaste to understand are just making excuses. If she could fight off Nigel Berbrooke for being loose with his honor then she can understand the basic tenets of consent!
I honestly can go on and one about this scene but as this is just one scene is an otherwise lovely and romantic story. I will give this book 3.8 stars. I enjoyed the family banter, the relationship between the siblings, the understanding of loss, and the vivid picture Julia Quinn creates throughout the story.
The Viscount Who Loved Me
This book seems to be set about a year after Daphne and Simon’s wedding. Here we follow Anthony Bridgerton, the first son of the Bridgerton family. Since the death of his father when he was eighteen he has taken on the role of the head of the family and the Viscount. He is well known around London as a rake and he mostly has taken pride in his rakish status. However, he is now done with that and he is ready to marry (I think it is important to note that, the Netflix show might have provided a foundation as to why he decided to focus on marriage. The book did us little favours. He simply had a change of heart). With his heart set on a marriage of convenience as he believes it would both be a waste of his time and that of his future betrothed to marry for love.
See, Anthony as long believed that since his father died very young of a bee sting, he would also be subjected to a similar fate. Hence, he would not marry for love so that he does not feel guilty leaving her when he dies (quite noble but unnecessary of him),
He has his eyes set on Edwina Sheffield but he has to prove himself worthy to Edwina’s older wallflower sister, Kate Sheffield. Kate knows of Anthony’s rakish ways and the last thing that is going to happen is he having her sister to marry. Whilst most people believe that reformed rakes make the best husband, this belief for Kate does not extend to Viscount Anthony.
The only problem with Kate is that, whilst she is protecting her sister from the Viscount, she forgot to do the same for herself.
One bee sting later and Anthony anxiously trying to suck the venom out of her collarbone, results in them being seen by one of London’s biggest gossip, Lady Featherington! Kate whilst accepting her life as a spinster would be ruined if would get to all of London that she had been found with the notorious rake doing the forbidden in the gardens. The only way to save her reputation is to get married!
She has to marry rakish Viscount Anthony!
Honestly, their story was so cute and honestly unproblematic and might be one of my favourite stories in the series. Theirs was plain and simple. Really enjoyed it. I cannot wait to see how Netflix would pull it off. I gave this book about 3.9 stars.
An Offer From A Gentleman
With Anthony happily married to Kate, Violet has set her eyes on her second son, Benedict. Whilst we did not get much from Benedict in the Netflix series and really the first two books in the series, I was happy to encounter him in this book. Benedict, whilst a charming Bridgerton, has always felt a sense of loss of identity and simply being the Number 2 Bridgerton. He doubts he would find love in London since he has essentially met all the ladies of the ton and they all seem to see him as the charming playboy son. The one who would almost never become the Viscount but he is rich enough like one. His heart is set until he meets his masked Cinderella at the masquerade ball. Cinderella is Sophie Beckett.
This book relies heavily on the Cinderella trope, however, instead of a shoe, it is a glove.
Sophie is the ward of the now late Earl of Penwood. Whilst everyone could see the resemblance between the Earl and his ward, no one ever admitted to knowing that she was his illegitimate daughter. She was living the life of his ward until he chose to remarry. The woman he marries has already two daughters from her previous marriage and sticking to the Cinderella tale, Sophie’s stepmother hates her.
The death of the Earl also made her a slave to the new lady Penwood. So when the stepdaughters are to attend the masquerade ball hosted by the Bridgerton, Sophie wishes she also could attend. She did end up attending but she must be home at midnight, so has not to get caught.
She meets Benedict and they dance, they kiss, and they fall in love. But it would not be Julia Quinn’s book if everything went that smoothly. We need damage and heartbreak. Since Sophie did not tell Benedict her name and all he has was a glove with her family crest on it. He decides to pay the Penwood family a visit. When he does not find the woman he danced with, in the two step-daughters, he left unsatisfied but his visit made Lady Penwood aware of Sophie’s nightly endeavour.
Sophie is sent out of the house. She becomes a housemaid to another family. Years later she meets Benedict, who saves her from a group of bullies. He does not know she is the beauty he cannot seem to forget but he knows he wants her. So he makes her an offer…
I gave this book 3.2 out of 5 stars
Romancing Mister Bridgerton
This is the part where things get a little tricky with this book. It is important to note now in this review that there is a slight shift in the narration of things in the Netflix series that would make understanding this particular book and Sir Phillip, With Love book in the series complicated. As someone who stands on the angle of ‘the book is better’, I would say understanding the books make better sense than the flushed together storyline of the Netflix show.
In this book, Colin has no history of falling in love with Miss Marina Thompson as was evident in the show. His heartbreak was one of the things that drove him to leave early for his tour starting in Greece.
As the Brigdertons and Featherington are close family friends because of the friendship between Penelope Featherington and Eloise Bridgerton, much of which was displayed in the show. Penelope has long had a crush on Colin who has never shared her feelings. Colin going on a tour definitely made her grow fonder of him. Since she has not been able to get married for so many seasons, she has essentially become a Spinster now and she has resolved to blend into the backgrounds at parties. Even her ambitious mama seems to have accepted that Penelope would remain with her until old age.
Everythings seems ready to change as Colin Bridgerton is back in town. With his brothers married and off the marriage market, he seems to be Lady Whistledown’s next target for an eligible bachelor. Colin has been labelled the empty-headed charmer who is only known for his ability to charm his way out of any situation (I loved the fact that we could see his close relationship with his mother in the Netflix series, he was honestly the only sibling, well apart from Eloise, that I quite liked in the show).
Honestly, I cannot remember when he realizes he had some attraction to Penelope. All I remember, is them kissing in the carriage, and the next thing he is proposing marriage. Much to Penelope’s mother’s astonishment! Anyway, falling in love and getting married seems to be the least of the things that occurred in this book.
Colin has long been trying to find out who Lady Whistledown was but once he finds out who she is, he is filled with both wonder and jealously. Lady Whistledown, whilst hiding her true identity from society, has made a much reputable name for herself (if you have watched the show then you know who Lady Whistledown is). Colin feels that he has now made a name for himself and he is just the empty-headed charming Colin. Penelope helped him to identify what he is really good at.
This book had to be my least favourite in the series, it just did not deliver for me. I gave this book a 2.8 out of 5 stars
To Sir Phillip, With Love
This is one of my favourite books in the series. I have always thought of Eloise as my favourite character not just because of her sass but because she was so ahead of her time. Like I mentioned in my review of the previous book in the series, there are several things in this book that would not make sense especially if you watch the Netflix series before reading this book.
Sir Phillip is a widower with twin children. Since the loss of his wife Marina, he has been doing his best (which was not necessarily good enough) to raise his children. Essentially he has left his children in the hands of a rather child-abusing governess (I need to also make aware that there are trigger warnings for attempted suicide, child abuse, emotional trauma, loss of a loved one and so much more). He decides that it was high time he remarried so that his children might be taken care of and calm the storm raging in him. (The prologue of this book is quite dark has we experience Marina’s depression and death, through his eyes and that of the children, Oliver and Amanda). He decides that Marina’s cousin who he has been writing to since Marina’s death might make a fine wife. So he makes a marriage proposal via mail.
Eloise feeling empty since she found out that her best friend Penelope was going to get married to her brother Colin, decides to take Sir Phillip up on his offer. So she leaves her homes in the cover of night. When she arrives at Sir Phillip’s, everything is not really what she expects. His children play pranks on her that leaves her bruised, he would rather spend time with his plants than with her and the children. He is nothing like the gentlemen in London which she is so used to. But as it is with romance novels, they have some sexual tension between them which I really enjoyed.
When her family realise where she had gone, her four brothers make their way to Sir Phillip’s and they pummel the man into the ground. Quite funny to see Anthony as the rather sensible one. He basically tells her she must marry Sir Phillip. Not that it was really a debate because she made her way across the country to meet the man who had proposed marriage to her.
(Note: Marina left to marry Sir Phillip who was the younger brother of the man she was actually in love with, in the Netflix show. We could see in the show that towards the end she was a bit melancholy and marrying him would have made her worse. In addition, in the book, Marina was Eloise Bridgerton’s distant cousin, whilst in the show, she was a cousin of the Featherington which was why she was trying to get married to Colin Bridgerton. So many things have been changed. This makes the series very complicated and I cannot wait to see how they would adapt Eloise’s story. I just hope they keep things according to the book series)
It was funny to see the banter between Eloise and Sir Phillip. Imagine Eloise who cannot keep her mouth shut and unable to repress her opinions and Sir Phillip who is so used to the country, likes to keep quiet with his plants. I absolutely just love Phillip, he is now one of my favourite heroes. I gave this book 4.4 out of 5 stars.
When He Was Wicked
This is my favorite book in the entire series. Before I swoon over Micheal Stirling being the hottest fictional character ever. I have always loved historical romance with the widow/widower trope. Quite grim of me but I like what I like. The characters are more mature and they do things not just because they fall in love. They have trauma and really issues (not silly ones that arise from misunderstandings) that make them want to stay away from each other. In this book, we follow Francesa Bridgerton, who if I recall is the third Bridgerton daughter. Throughout the book series, Francesa has never really been a character that has been flushed out, the most I know of her is from her correspondence letters to and from the family. Last I knew, she was married and living in Scotland with her husband, then the next thing, everyone is sad for Francesa because she became widowed two years after marriage to John, Earl of Kilmartin. But once I started reading this book, I fell quickly in love with Francesa.
Michael has long been in love with Francesa. The first night he saw her, he fell fast but little did he know that she was soon to be announced as the betrothed of his Cousin who he loves very much. Once he found out about this unfortunate relationship, he decides to step back but that doesn’t stop him from remaining in love with his Cousin’s wife. Since he was very close with his cousin, he remains close friends with the family and by extension Francesa. Sometimes he thinks that his cousin John knows about the infatuation he has for his wife. But never once did he make an advance and his relationship with the family and she was close but platonic.
John’s headaches lead to his death (I quite loved how Julia Quin made a note to explain the cause of his death and how lack of information and knowledge of this disease was during the time period). With the death of John, the title and estate would go to his first son or Michael who is the closest male relative. Since they did not have any children, Michael inherits but he begins to feel guilt and sadness. He leaves home for India for four years (years when he was needed by Francesa who was grieving the loss of her husband and child).
When he came back, Francesa was back in society and she was ready to remarry. I have spoilt this book enough. He seems to have a problem with all of her suitors. The only way for him to solve the problem is to propose to her and marry her for himself. That is where the guilt comes in, did he wish death for his cousin so he could have her? She was feeling guilty because she was feeling more for Michael than she felt for John. It was just amazing to read sex scenes. Someone bring me a fan, I think I just perfected the art of the swoon! I swoon and was caught in the imaginary arms of Michael Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin!
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars!
It’s In His Kiss
Reviewing this book nearly 3 weeks after reading it, I realize that I enjoyed it more than I was willing to admit. Whilst we have definitely gotten a lot of Hyacinth sass from the other books, she was mostly in the background, unlike her other siblings.
Hyacinth has grown around her siblings who seem to all have met the perfect person. She is used to seeing the love and while she not necessarily out looking for Mr Right. She is almost sure is not Gareth. Gareth is the grandson of Lady Danbury. Gareth is hated by his father who really isn’t his father(but to avoid spoilers I will stop with this line of summary).
Since Hyacinth reads to lady Danbury once every week and the times he visits his grandmother is never on the same day. however when he needed someone to translate an Italian diary for him. He goes to Hyacinth. This is really how their relationship moves from flirting to dating.
I gave this book 2.9 out of 5 stars
On The Way To The Wedding
A short summary of this book. If you are interested in my hot takes on the Bridgerton series and the Netflix adaptation, check out my podcast:
Gregory has grown up in a loving family, surrounded by siblings who have found the love of their lives. He wants that kind of love and he is willing to wait until he finds the right woman. When he meets Miss Hermione, he thinks he has found the one. The only problem is that Miss Hermione is in love with another. He best friend, Lady Lucinda thinks Hermione is making a huge mistake not accepting Gregory’s feeling and tries to mediate a relationship for the two of them. Only for her to find out that Hermione has been in a relationship with her brother. To prevent a scandal, Hermione marries Lucy’s brother and Gregory is heartbroken. Lucy soon finds out that she is in love with Gregory. The only issue is that she is engaged to be married.
By the time Gregory realizes his feelings for Lucy, she was already walking down the aisle to another man. To summarize, he runs to the church to stop the wedding, he is dragged out, she then marries another man, Gregory then kidnaps her at the wedding reception and all hell breaks loose…
I gave this book a 3.8 out of 5 stars.
The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After
As I grew so in love with the Bridgerton siblings, I just want to remain in this fictional world that Julia Quinn has built. This book is a compilation of epilogues from each of the previous books. It is showing us the lives of the siblings after their happily ever after ending. I think my personal favourite is that of ‘When he was wicked”. It is no secret that that book was one of my favourite in the series. I absolutely adore Francesca and Michael and to see them struggle with infertility was just heartbreaking. I was exceptionally happy when Julia Quinn finally gave them what they really want.
It is a lovely collection for those not ready to let go.
I gave this book 3.9 out of 5 stars
That’s a Wrap!!!
Thanks for reading!!!