The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

As per request on my only Instagram poll to get more than 15 people in engagement, here is my full series review of the Bridgerton book with Netflix show comparisons to boot. I began reading the Bridgerton series after finishing the Netflix show and finding myself unable to stop thinking about this idiot family. Unsurprisingly, all the books were on hold for like 6 months out but I just ended up buying the e-books of Apple Books (and then returning them after because they’re really not worth owning unless you’re going to reread them…which I am definitely not). Each book was accompanied by its respective second epilogue too so I got all the bonus content too which was fun.

I’m not sure if it’s just that romances are easy to consume in a day or if I was zooming through them because of a fixation but I finished almost every book in a day. So if you’re looking for fast reads to kill time that require zero braincells (save those required to process the trigger warnings) then this mammoth series is just for you.

Just to preview the structure of this post her (bc it’s fucking long) I’ve got each book in the series listed out with its ratings, triggers, and so on followed by a few paragraphs reviewing my thoughts. No spoilers there so don’t worry. I then have a ranking of the characters and books followed by an explanation of why I ranked them as such. Again no spoilers. Then you get my crackpot new season theories and THOSE are rife with spoilers for the books and for the show. It’s a fucking free for all so don’t even look at it if you’re hesitant. Any other spoilers I’ll mark with ********** galore so you know what to avoid.

Here’s your handy dandy index to jump around. I actually am not sure if index is the right word but I just put in all the anchor tags and am not changing it again.

In we go.

Book Details

Title: The Duke and I (GR)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Tropes: fake dating

Published: 5th January, 2000

Trigger warnings: sexism, rape, near death experience, gun use, physical violence, alcohol use, sex, fatphobia

The Duke and I is a decent enough jumping point for the series. You get fun little intros to the entire family and the folks of the ton who feature quite often in the rest of the books. For the purpose of exposition I suppose this book did the heavy lifting of making introductions pleasant enough. A hefty task for an eight book series to be sure but done successfully. It’s a bland little story about a girl who is just too much of a bro to find a husband so she has to resort to fake dating her brother’s college mate. Daphne’s the ultimate bruh girl and you’d think it was annoying that she’s all “not a girly girl” but four brothers really does make you a different kind of batshit crazy. Plus for historical fiction, breaking a stereotype is diverging from societal expectations of normative femininity and that’s fitting for the first book.

Simon is also adequately broken and rife with daddy issues so, ya kno, he needs a girl to fix him up. He’s a moony eyed white boy with a proclivity for doing what is supposed to defy expectations but in fact meet every expectation put upon an aristocratic white man on early 19th century England. The romance is fine. Simon is a sufficiently swoony romantic lead and fake dating is superior so the book does an okay job of making it entertaining. So many of the conflicts are just men being pigheaded but what’s new.

As you all know, the book has a rape scene in the end tied to Simon’s refusal to have children. In the book, Simon is drunk and asleep and has a bedtime boner which is what encourages her to rape him. In the book she literally says she “took advantage of him” and he says she “broke his trust” but Daphne explains it away as her not understanding sex itself and that she did it because he broke her trust too. Real fucking bullshit if you ask me. Daphne’s actions are inexcusable. Shit tier.

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Title: The Viscount Who Loved Me (GR)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tropes: enemies to lovers

Published: 5th December, 2000

Trigger warnings: harassment and intimidation, sex, gaslighting, death of parents, alcohol use, carriage accident and physical injury, pregnancy mention, fatphobia

Book 2 is about dearest pigheaded Anthony. Anthony makes a good number of appearances in Daphne’s book and he’s plenty annoying then and continues to be just as much of a pain in this book. He’s all boo hoo about his dad who died of a BEE STING when Anthony was 18 so now homeboy doesn’t think himself capable of outliving his father’s jaunty 18 years of life. Anthony is like 26. He decides OH I’m just gonna marry the hottest piece of ass this season and we can have a pleasant and loveless marriage and then I can die with no earthly ties (as one does). Unfortunately the hottest piece of ass is Kate’s younger sister and they know Anthony is (Julia Quinn’s favourite buzzword) a RAKE. Enemies to lovers shenanigans ensue. There’s a ridiculous corgi who makes a real mess of things and I love him.

Kate is an absolute STAR. She’s able to see through Anthony’s bullshit FAST and because she hates him, delivers some exquisite zingers which endears her to Colin within a paragraph. King shit only. She’s the calm to compliment Anthony’s tempest and it would be an incredible book if Anthony simply didn’t lean all his weight into being a shitbag at all hours of the day.

You get some really fun family scenes here. There’s the iconic pall-mall scene every Bridgerton fan in absolutely obsessed with . As they should be. It’s fucking iconic. Colin stakes his claim for best Bridgerton brother here. Simon and Daphne get some fun cameos. Eloise also is an absolute gem plus Penelope gets some much needed exposition for her book coming up.

All in all it’s not too bad. It certainly isn’t rape excuse bad and once you get to Eloise’s book, this one reads will feel like a fucking dream in retrospect 😦

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Title: An Offer from a Gentleman (GR)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Tropes: cinderella retelling

Published: 1st July, 2001

Trigger warnings: abusive parents and family, sexual harassment and rape mention, sex, sexism and misogyny apropos to the time period, alcohol use, physical violence towards women, wrongful imprisonment, pregnancy mention, fatphobia

After reading Anthony and Daphne, Benedict’s book was honest to god a breath of fresh air. Here we have a gentle artistic type mooning after a masked lady for like THREE YEARS. Simp? Yes. This book is a Cinderella retelling for the most part. Sophie’s backstory is basically the first half of Cinderella. Benedict is in love with Sophie’s ton persona and spends two years mooning over her while Sophie get’s kicked out by her abusive step mother and spends those two years hopping jobs as a servant. She hides her partial aristocratic birth so no one would figure out who she is.

Benedict and Sophie run into each other later at one of Benny’s acquaintance’s party when a bunch of guys are planning on assaulting her. He saves her and finds her work with the Bridgerton family. Classic high born and working class romance except Sophie is not ~technically~ working class.

Benedict and Sophie have INCREDIBLE chemistry and the yearning is SO STRONG. Benedict is a bit of a shitbag though because he’s convinced he can’t marry Sophie due to her class status. Rich boy gonna act like a tool I guess. The whole demanding she be his mistress was REALLY distressing but Benedict really does admit to his mistakes so he’s not as bad as Daphne or Anthony are. The conclusion and takedown of Sophie’s evil stepmother is EPIC and extremely satisfying.

I found this book to be strangely the most contemporary of all eight books. The lack of 19th century sexual propriety and relatively open minded relationship was pretty great. The book could certainly have touched more on class distinction but the author is white, the cast are all gentry so like…lol too high of an expectation for this series.

I did think that Sophie’s characterization as someone with major trauma in her past was well written and the characters around her also do a good job of giving her the care she needs to feel like she won’t be bogged down in that situation again. It’s very minor and more of a background detail than it is a relevant character development but I thought it was noticeable enough that it was an asset to the book. The best one of the first three in this series by FAR.

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Title: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (GR)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tropes: friends to lovers

Published: 1st July, 2002

Trigger warnings: blackmail, bullying, sexism and misogyny of the time period, pregnancy mention, emotionally abusive parents (kinda), fatphobia

So far, each book has been better than the last and Colin does not fail to step up to the challenge. Friends to lovers is SUPERIOR and this book handles it so well. There’s a massive time jump between this and Benedict’s book, five or six years if I’m not wrong. Colin’s back from his ~gotta escape the fam because I have no purpose in life and traveling makes me feel human~ sadboi life. Penelope and Eloise are officially ton spinsters and therefore surprisingly liberated in what they’re able to do. The subplot of this book is the challenge Lady Danbury issues for digging up who Lady Whistledown is. The show reveals this at the end of season 1 but I thought the way the book actually handles the reveal was WAY better.

Penelope in the other books is written off as a meek and sad girl who needs pity from all the hot Bridgerton boys. She appreciated all the attention they gave her but Penelope is shockingly different from the public sad sack everyone sees her as, including Eloise.

Penelope and Colin’s friendship is in full force this book and they’re so endearing. Penelope’s maturity and retrospective clarity lends to some hard truths served to Colin who is a dense little himbo. I thought Colin’s character struggles were a bit annoying but that might just be because he’s a rich white man with #whiteboyproblems and I don’t really have much sympathy for that in books anymore.

Colin is the least troublesome of the Bridgerton boys so far. He’s not a tool like Anthony and weirdly fixated on class status and optics at the ton. When it comes to declaring his feelings for Penelope he isn’t going to hide her away because she’s not who everyone expected him to end up with. I love that for Penelope frankly. The ending… *chef’s kiss* it’s what Penelope DESERVESSSS.

This book honestly is neck and neck for best book in the Bridgerton series. I loved it so much and frankly that was a surprise because I thought Benedict’s book was the best it could get.

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Title: To Sir Phillip, With Love (GR)

Rating:⭐️⭐️

Tropes: beauty and the beast (sort of), secret correspondence

Published: 1st July, 2003

Trigger warnings: suicide, depression, postpartum depression, abusive parent, abusive teacher/caretaker, child abuse mention, parents with anger issues, sex, alcohol use, physical violence, recreational gun usage, child with illness, rape, fatphobia

I’m gonna rip the bandaid right off and tell you this book was a fucking shitshow and after getting emotionally attached to Eloise in the show this book REALLY fucked her over. Yes, I knew that even though she is queer coded (queerbaited if we’re being honest) and I went into this series knowing she’d end up with a man. I just didn’t expect Phillip to be this god awful.

The book starts immediately after Penelope’s like literally the moment Penelope’s book concludes is where Eloise is. For nearly a year she’s been writing letters to Sir Phillip who is the husband of Eloise’s distant cousin, Marina (if you caught on to that… yeah…). They started a correspondence when Marina dies. Phillip is like lol who’s this bitch but then over the year he starts to ~woo~ her with words in hopes that she accepts his eventual proposal to marry him and take care of his twin eight-year-olds who are holy terrors.

Eloise makes the split second decision to drop everything and go to see Phillip after Penelope gets married because Eloise really fucking though Penelope would never get married so now she’s like OH I’m ALONE. *eyeroll* Anyways. Phillip turns out to be not that good with words when he doesn’t have time to research flowery prose. Instead he spends time with his plants while his children terrorise the living shit out of Eloise. Homegirl can keep up though, she doesn’t have seven siblings for nothing.

Of course they can’t just live together without a chaperone and when the Bridgerton boys find out…well they get married without much fanfare and have to build a relationship from there. It’s frankly painful.

Phillip is a man of few words, much preferring to spend time with plants. He’s traumatised because his first wife committed suicide and he’s like WHAT DID I DO WRONG. There’s a part where he mentions he had sex with her after she went into post partum depression and he’s disgusted with himself for raping her. (buddy you still went ahead and fucking finished before bothering to feel guilty. yeah no). He’s basically only had his hand for company for seven years.

Eloise, the poor baby is basically living a beauty and the beast life. She’s stuck with a surly man and his ill behaved children and is essentially expected to step up to mother these kids and take care of Phillip’s household. She’s this vivacious and inquisitive person who is constantly restless (ADHD vibes imo) but her character development is based on her learning to control the need to push people to give her answers and talk to her. It felt incredibly stifling. Phillip on the other hand only has to learn to be happy.

Frankly this book was bullshit. Eloise spends the book trying to learn more about Phillip but that’s seen as a BAD thing. Eloise has to learn to be happy with what she has. She spends the four prior books being an absolute star and joy and then this book happens.Phillip does not meet her half way AT ALL. And this was passed off as a romance. I know that in contemporary romances both parties have to change for the better to be happy together but there was no BOTH. It was just Eloise giving up major parts of her personality to suit this disgusting man.

The book handles depression really fucking badly too plus that offhanded mention of rape that supposed to be a pity party for Phillip because oh he knows he’s wrong I can’t believe he has to suffer knowing what he did. LOL makes me wonder if the author sympathizes with rapists a little bit too much. That’s two for two now but I’m not about to make that bold of a statement. It’s just SUS.

Oddly enough this is the first book in the entire series where the guys goes down on the girl.

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Title: When He Was Wicked (GR)

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tropes: second love, secretly in love

Published: 29th June, 2004

Trigger warnings: death of a significant other, miscarriage, grief and loss, assault and harassment, malaria, sex and nudity, alcohol, consensual sex work mention (not a bad thing but a possible trigger anyways), violence, difficulty conceiving/infertility, fatphobia, colonisers and orientalism

Francesca’s book was the absolute opposite of Eloise’s. As you can tell from the star rating, this book was exceptional. Maybe it was the fact that it followed up Eloise’s awful book but holy shit this one is so good.

Francesca gets married somewhere between Anthony and Benedict and gets yeeted off to Scotland to live with her loving husband and his cousin who happens to be in love with her. Then the husband DIES after like two years of marriage. There’s a three year gap that brings this book up to date with Penelope/Colin and Eloise. To clarify, This starts around when Colin returns from his trip and is spending time with Penelope. That book takes place over like 3 weeks then Eloise’s book starts about 80% into this book. Francesca’s book ends and the rest of Eloise’s book happens. Basically books 4-6 happen simultaneously in the span of like 8 weeks.

Poor Frannie is written out of three whole books from being an active side character in the series and she gets this shit lot. Well this book makes up for that absence and heartbreak. Francesca’s still a bit removed from the family dynamic in general (except Colin who makes several appearances and is always a pleasure) so I was a bit sad to see that her second love story doesn’t have that family aspect to it.

Despite being a less rowdy Bridgerton sibling, Francesca is still a really loving character. She’s soft and sweet and really grows on you over the course of the book. Her internal struggles really make you feel for her. The confusion over being pursued by her husband’s closest cousin really throws her off and I frankly felt really bad she had to contend with that plus grief.She get’s some wonderful moments with Violet though. The other Bridgertons have this “moooom stoooooppp” type of relationship with Violet but Francesca has a much deeper connection with her due to her complications with conceiving.

Michael is unlike any of the Bridgerton boys and Simon (Phillip doesn’t even count). By unlike I mean far fucking superior. He’s been in love with Francesca for so long but doesn’t make a move until he knows she’s actually interested. After that, his wooing is all based on taking cues from her. Consent is such a major part of how he approaches yer and that literally makes him so fucking sexy I cannot explain it. He’s also dealing with grief, the burden of taking over the title that his favourite cousin left after his unexpected death, and just general imposter syndrome.

They’re both perfect for each other and for the whole thing I was screaming about how they both deserved happiness. After Eloise’s shit ass book this was such an incredible book. This one actually stands the test of time. Like I don’t have to say things like “eh it was written in the 2000s so just grit your teeth through the nasty stuff.” Maybe a couple blips here and there but like WOW. WOW. YES. GOD TIeR. G O D T I E R

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Title: It’s In His Kiss (GR)

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tropes: partners in “crime”

Published: 28th June, 2005

Trigger warnings: sex and nudity, assault mention, verbally abusive and negligent father, abusive and negligent spouse, child out of wedlock, fatphobic comments, transphobic comment (use of the h slur that is time accurate but used as a mean joke), physical violence, misogyny and sexism

Hyacinth’s book is the only other book with an oddly contemporary feel. It’s set maybe four-ish years after the Penelope-Eloise-Francesca triple whammy (lol yes Penelope not Colin that man is NOTHING compared to her). Hyacinth’s a loud mouth with no qualms about making sure everyone knows she’s unequivocally smarter than she is. Bad bitch vibes only. She’s very close with Lady Danbury who is also invested in Hyacinth finding a good match.

Gareth, Lady Danbury’s grandson, finds out that he’s an illegitimate heir which makes his already shit relationship with his dad much worse. His mother and elder brother both passed away. But score for us, he hits all the bullets for a Bridgerton lead :). He’s super entertained by making Hyacinth stumble over her words because she’s caught off guard by someone matching her wit. He loves his grandmother (babie) who is the only living and loving family member he has.

Hyacinth and Gareth get into a whole bunch of heist like shenanigans when Gareth finds a notebook that says there are invaluable diamonds hidden somewhere in his family house that could safe their dying fortune.

Hyacinth and Lady Danbury have an incredible relationship. They match each other in wit and banter and it’s just the perfect indication of how Gareth and Hyacinth’s relationship pans out. Gareth’s a sadboy but he’s also a respectful sadboy and I appreciate a lot how much he just let’s Hyacinth be the way she is.There’s no ~I know better~ actually no wait there is. He just doesn’t say it out loud. AS HE SHOULD. Big himbo energy with that one. Not Colin and Michael himbo but definitely comparable.

Hyacinth felt like what the show made Eloise out to be. Chasing gossip, impulsive and investigative, always asking the weird questions with no hesitation. If you’re a massive Eloise fan but find my review discouraging for her book (as you should it’s fucking awful) then Hyacinth’s is a good replacement. Just control+F Hyacinth’s name and put in Eloise you’ll be good to go lmfao. It’s a fun one. Certainly a step down from how great Francesca’s and Colin’s books but good nonetheless.

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Title: On the Way to the Wedding (GR)

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tropes: love at first sight

Published: 27th June, 2006

Trigger warnings: fatphobia, assault and rape mention, abusive relatives, forced marriage, homophobia, mild racist commentary, entrapment in marriage (of sorts), breaking and entering, sex and nudity, pregnancy, childbirth, blackmail, loss of parents, interrupted wedding

Julia Quinn said, “Well we had seven relatively tame romance novels. Time to go out with a bang,” and she absolutely served. Gregory finally FINALLY gets his own stage after being the baby brother to literally everyone. He’s seen every single one of his siblings fall in love so he has no doubt that a love story is in his future. At Anthony’s country home partayyyy he sees a super hot girl and he’s like SO THIS IS LOVEEE MMM-MM-MM-MMMMMM.

Unfortunately Hermione, the girl in question, is in love with her father’s secretary so he’s occupied. Hermione’s bff Lucy doesn’t like the secretary so decides to help Gregory woo Hermione. Lucy’s already betrothed to some old ass guy who’s nice enough but she’s got her own questions. Shenanigans ensue.

Hermione’s an absolute airhead and I hated every second she was on the page. I’m a firm believer that people who were treated as hot throughout their childhood and youth have never had to develop a personality. They just coast through on looks alone. Hermione is painful proof of this. Lucy ha spunk and an attitude and has had a struggle or two in her life to build character. Hermione is literally a bird compared to her.

Lucy is such a wonderful girl. She’s got a duty to her uncle who has taken care of her so although that’s a huge weight on her shoulders, she knows she has to fulfill his asks of her. Poor baby. She’s close with her brother but she’s a little blind to his affections towards a certain ~someone~ and it was kinda hilarious. The poor girl goes through so much in this book though. She needs a long hug and a year spent somewhere peaceful. Bro even what happens to her in the second epilogue is absolute ASS.

Anyways back to Gregory. In all the other books (except Hyacinth’s) he’s either like 5 years old or he’s the annoying teen who has one too many opinions for someone 6 years younger than all his other siblings. Basically, this sweet baby boy has had every alpha male bone in his body pummeled to dust so he’s this mild mannered, fun loving, clown of a man who just wants to fall in love like everyone else in his family has. He’s the only Bridgerton boy in the family without a single violent bone in his body. Of course he has his moments where he tries it but like even reading that it felt like he wasn’t really committing. Despite being the mildest sibling his book is full of so much drama. He’s the true himbo of the family. Colin is 70% himbo Gregory is 100% himbo.

Fantastic conclusion to the series imo. I really liked this one.

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Ranking

Books

  1. When He Was Wicked
  2. On the Way to the Wedding
  3. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
  4. An Offer from a Gentleman
  5. It’s In His Kiss
  6. The Viscount Who Loved me
  7. The Duke and I and To Sir Phillip, With Love

Leads (book)

  1. Colin
  2. Hyacinth
  3. Francesca
  4. Gregory
  5. Eloise
  6. Benedict
  7. Anthony
  8. Daphne

Leads(show)

  1. Eloise
  2. Lady Danbury
  3. Simon
  4. Benedict
  5. Colin
  6. Violet
  7. Penelope
  8. Marina
  9. Anthony
  10. Daphne

Partners

  1. Penelope 🙂
  2. Michael 😀
  3. Kate
  4. Sophie
  5. Lucy
  6. Gareth
  7. Simon
  8. Phillip

The ranking of the books can be gleaned from my review for each one so I don’t think that needs to be explained further. But to explain the character rankings I should mention that I watched the show before I read the book. That has no doubt influenced my opinion of the characters in the books more than anything. And that’s really to be expected. So I’m going to list of my biases from the show here which might help clarify the rankings a bit.

  • Eloise and Benedict were so queer coded (and queer baited if we’re going to be realistic pessimists about this) and they automatically became my show favourites. Their books were ones I was really looking forward to.
  • Hyacinth and Gregory have like five lines in the show and they’re wee babies so I had nothing to really compare for them.
  • Colin seemed harmless and his chemistry with Penelope was already pretty great. Those expectations were set before I got to their book. They weren’t bffs but they were cordial and definitely interacted enough to have chemistry.
  • Lady Whistledown was revealed at the end of the show so I knew all through the books who it was. I also knew that Julia Quinn hadn’t decided on who lady Whistledown was until the 3rd book or something so I was able to pick up on the textual clues better for book 4.
  • I could not picture Simon as a white man, or any of the non white characters as white for that matter. It certainly helped make the books better but poor book Simon was disappointing wonderbread.
  • Daphne was loathesome for the rape scene. Due to that the first book was just exposition in my mind. I was concerned about the book rape scene (rightfully so it was horrendous) more than actually liking the characters.
  • Anthony is a douchebag.
  • Lady Danbury gives me so much serotonin.
  • As annoying as Violet was, her tender moments in the show really made me like her a lot.

The show did a wonderful job of keeping close to the characters’ personalities in the books as possible. Hyacinth and Gregory were really small in the first book and so there wasn’t much for them but I don’t doubt we’ll get more of them later on. Francesca wasn’t…absent in the earlier books but for like 4 out of 8 books there’s only one word mentions of her so it’s understandable why she was yeeted off to the country for the entirety of it. Maybe they’ll start to add her in.

Since I had no expectations for Francesca, Hyacinth, and Gregory from the show, they really catapulted themselves to the top. All three of them had winning personalities that really made me excited to keep chugging through their books and rooting for them to find happiness. Hyacinth booted out Eloise for 2nd black primarily because she felt more like show!Eloise did. She’s spunky, outspoken, curious, and very cunning. I liked her SO MUCH. Gregory just doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s baby and he knows he can’t fight everyone so he’s just sharp with his words. Loved that for him. Francesca got slapped in the face with tragedy before her book even started so the entire book was her FINALLY getting the happiness she deserved. Her character growth was perhaps the most wholesome.

Colin was himbo and is an even better himbo in the books. The ideal male romantic lead is one who apologizes for his transgressions and immediately follows up with better. He was good in the show but he really outdid himself in the books. Of course not more than Penelope but that’s why I set the Bridgerton leads separate from the love interests. Benedict was also a decent chap. He fixes his personal issues and really steps up to the plate but it did come after a big revelation that made his grand gesture a bit less chivalrous. Plus he’s depressingly hetero so WOMP WOMP. Anthony is just ew and the only reason the book is good is because of Kate and the Bridgerton siblings.

Eloise was the biggest fucking let down. I knew she wouldn’t be queer but I really hoped all the personality she had in the first four books would maintain itself. She was a background character but she really shone through especially with how she bonded with the Bridgerton love interests. But her character really took a massive hit in her book. The reason she jets off to meet Sir Phillip is completely ridiculous. It’s not an improbable reason but like….. her decision was very indicative of how little she thought of her friendships. Plus her character growth completely tanked in my opinion. She gives up EVERYTHING. Her growth was regression and submission and acceptance of the lowest level of effort. That’s obviously not her fault, but she’s a fictional character and the whole arc just BLEW. Anthony and Daphne get bottom tier because Anthony also has no character growth aside from “oh my wife gave me a personality.” Sir that speaks more to your wife than it does you. Daphne is a rapist. Enough said.

On the flip side, I think the show!Bridgertons’ ranking should make more sense. Eloise and Benedict: queer coded icons. I can’t help but wish the best for them. Lady Danbury is straight GAASSS. She absolutely slaps and I don’t care that she’s a secondary character, she’s a main character in my HEART. Simon’s a smokeshow AND he’s a wholesome himbo who goes full throttle 👁👅👁 on his wife which is king behaviour. He deserves better than Daphne. Colin was a little bit of an airhead with the Marina business but he’s so dumb he deserves some love. Violet is a loving mother and I couldn’t help but tear up when she talked of missing her husband. Penelope was fine if a bit of a cry baby? I thought some of her actions were a bit too vindictive which made me dislike her a bit. Marina got fucked over so much but she still powered through all her struggles like a boss bitch. Again, a bit too vindictive. For what? Colin? He’s not yet at his peak, he ain’t worth it in season 1. Anthony and Daphne…same exact fucking reason as the previous paragraph.

Now about the romantic leads. Penelope was EXQUISITE. In the first three books she’s written off as a sad wallflower who needed Bridgerton charity to survive. Through Penelope’s eyes you see that she appreciated all the Bridgerton love because it helped her stay sane but my girl was a bad bitch anyways. The second her mother stops harping on her because she was an old spinster, her confidence sky rockets. Icon shit only. Her ambition, generosity, and winning snark and personality are Lady Danbury approved AND me approved.

Michael was a FOINEEEE man. He woo’d (wooed?) Francesca with CONSENT and also 👁👅👁 and MORE consent. He only put pressure on Francesca when he realised she was holding off on allowing herself to be happy. WHAT A MAN. Kate walks all over Anthony as he DESERVESSSS. She is not afraid to look down her nose at Anthony being a skeeze and Colin is a big supporter of her which is AGAIN a great indicator of what an incredible person she is. Sophie is a soft angel baby. She’s put through shit but is so generous and such a kind hearted character. She is similar to Francesca in that way. Very soft spoken but able to hold her own on the page despite Big Personality Bridgertons lurking at every turn.

Lucy and Gareth were tied for me but Lucy again was put through the wringer and deserved recognition. They both compliment their Bridgerton love interests in the perfect way and I love them. Gareth’s a bit of a toad but it’s fine he’s not awful.

Simon was bland in the books. So bland. I couldn’t help but picture him as a Black man but every time the book said blond hair I wanted to control+F and change it. He really isn’t all that special. Phillip only has two things going for him: he’s hot guy who works with plants and he went down on Eloise. Literally everything else about him is a negative.

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Show Commentary and Theories

The primary difference between the books and show is the wonderbread cast that was thankfully diversified by dearest Shonda. Considering the books were written between 2000 and 2006 I didn’t really expect there to be any people of colour but in my head I certainly saw Simon and Lady Danbury and a few others as people of colour which made the reading experience pleasant if odd.

******************** SPOILERS (jump to end)***********************

The diversity was explained in an interesting way in the show. The king as queen are an interracial couple so that’s why there are non white aristocrats. They’re given titles as part of a gesture to the queen. Fine. Except later on it’s acknowledged between Mr. (lord??idk) Featherington and Mr. Mondrich (the boxer) that Black people were in fact slaves prior to the king marrying the queen. So racism exists because this tool Featherington is using it to get at Will Mondrich but no one else seems to be bothered. The generational trauma has evaporated, the cultural differences are gone and it took less than a generation. All things that come with abolition of slavery were just non issues. I feel like if the choice was between having diversity without explanation and having diversity with a shitty explanation that addresses none of the trauma then I’d rather have POC just poof in and no one say anything out of the blue. It feels like a disservice to just not acknowledge pain like that.

**** TW FOR THE RAPE SCENE*****The rape scene is another major difference and frankly they’re both disgusting. In the show the scene stars out as consensual but Simon revokes his consent when he goes to pull out but Daphne leg locks him. The malice in her eyes gives me the heebiejeebies though. White women are terrifying in a really bad way sometimes. The show scene was made worse because it’s passed off as a girl power moment. Fuck that shit. In the book it’s much worse. Simon’s sad Daphne chose to spent the night in the Dutchess’ chambers so he drinks himself dry then, after attempting to talk to Daphne, falls asleep in her bed. He’s drunk and asleep and gets a boner which is typical. Daphne takes this as consent. HE WAS DRUNK. AND ASLEEP. Horrifying horrifying horrifying horrifying. They even call it ~taking advantage~ or breaking trust or something along those lines. It’s clearly identified as such but it’s forgiven because Daphne doesn’t know any better and because of the pregnancy scare. UGH. ***END TW***

Additional and less horrifying changes were that the Prince was literally made up out of thin air. They chose to include him instead of a random Duke and Bridgerton outing to the country where everyone falls into the water. We miss out on some fantastic Bridgerton bonding but the Prince added more sexual tension so like…fair tradeoff I guess. Plus the added bonus of laughing at Cormac McLaggen making an appearance in a regency racially diverse AU romance.

Ok now onto my crackpot theories. It’s going to start off pretty sane and just devolve. Fair warning.

So we know Anthony’s season is up next and we have Simone Ashley to stomp on his next. I am unbelievably excited except for one thing. She’s a dark-ish skinned, curly haired brown woman. Her half sister in the book is supposed to be the Diamond of the season. What’s likely to happen to upstage Simone Ashley’s exceedingly hot self is we’re getting a biracial/ethnically ambiguous light skinned girl with pin straight hair who due to those two specific attributes gets marked the pretty one. We all know the issues with that. The colourism runs rampant. Best case we just get two hot girls and no one is labelled the belle of the ball because it’s pointless and Anthony just pursues the sister because she’s not as mouthy as Kate is supposed to be. But don’t keep your hopes up. One step forward two steps back and all that.

*********TW suicide and depression********Another standout plot is that of Marina’s. Reading the first book, I just assumed she was another plot to spice up a bland book and she was technically exactly that. Except then I got to Eloise’s book and Phillip’s first wife was named Marina Thompson and she was betrothed to his brother before his brother died at war so Phillip stepped up to take care of the estate and marry his wife. The show added the whole unmarried and pregnant bit which is not implausible but it doesn’t have the book. Marina in the book suffers from depression and on top of that from post partum depression which leads to a suicide attempt that’s unsuccessful but then she passes from hypothermia or some illness within a few days. Likely we’re getting that. Phillip already made his debut in the show so we can safely assume that he’s getting a plotline if we follow Marina into next season. She likely leaves end of season 2 or season 3. My dearest wish here is that they treat this topic of depression and post partum depression with care and Phillip doesn’t become the all suffering widower who had to bear his burdensome and sad wife. But if the end of season 1 is anything to go by I don’t have much hope here. ***** end TW*****

If we’re thinking optimistically then Phillip and Marina live a happy life together and Eloise decides to dress up as a guy and get admission into Eaton to study when she realizes Penelope is happily married and not her spinster companion for life. That’s a better alternative for BOTH of them. Oh and if she runs into another girl faking it and they become GIRLFRIENDS?!?!??!?!?!?!? Ideal. Wishful thinking :(((((( I want it :(((((

I have literally no theories for what they’re going to do with Penelope’s Whisteldown reveal. I think it’s just going to ramp up tension and character development for Eloise and Penelope. Eloise’s inquisitivity and Penelope’s avoidance drives a wedge in their relationship which adds to why Eloise leaves once Penelope and Colin get married. Oh and Colin’s likely gone all of next season except for the end when he returns and Penelope overhears him say he doesn’t like her like that.

Colin, Eloise, and Francesca likely will happen all in the same season. No one wants eight seasons of a show and this is likely how they’ll cut it down to five. If they’re splitting it up then maybe Francesca gets her own season but that’s the most they can disentangle it. Eloise and Colin are too tied together for them to separate the plots. Francesca actually might get a feature in the next season with her first marriage. It happens somewhere between Anthony and Benedict so it seems entirely possible she’s inserted in there. That’ll also bring in some good screen time for her so we get invested in her as a character.

My Benedict theories are the biggest crackpot theories of all.

Option 1: he’s bi and gets with the artist and Madame Genevieve Delacroix is the beard and it’s wrapped up with a pretty little bow of gay love.

Option 2: Genevieve is actually book Sophie. We get a wee scene in Anthony’s season of the masked ball where Genevieve makes an appearance then zooms out. Benedict is romancing her on the side and he doesn’t realise. We learn about Genevieve’s backstory and that she’s actually Sophie, the bastard daughter of a Count. We proceed with the rest of the season knowing she’s hiding in plain sight as a modiste unlike in the book where she’s a servant for the Bridgertons for like five days. Benedict has a fling with the artist so we get canon bi Benny but he marries a woman for optics. It’s FINE. I’ll take what I can get.

Option 3 and this one is the most likely to happen because shows aren’t that complexly written in early seasons: Benedict fucking around with Genevieve is just an indication to us that Benny dearest is down to clown with the working class thereby making his attraction and proposal to Sophie plausible. She’s also introduced as a WOC likely (East Asian if they’re going for well rounded diversity). It follows the book as closely as possible. This is tame but it’s also the most sensible. Imma be mad but I can’t really ask for too many nice things.

Hyacinth and Gregory are too far out but we’ll likely see Hyacinth build a bond with Lady Danbury and Gregory get bullied by all his siblings. That’ll be fun.

(index)

************* END SPOILERS**************

My sincerest apologies to those of you who skipped spoilers all the way down to here. I just had a lot to say and it’s all either show or book related in a major way. I hope you read the books/watch the show/both and return to see what hot garbage I spewed up there.

I hope all of y’all enjoyed my nonsense. I’ve been consumed by this show and series for two whole months. I hope this post got it all out of my system before it resurfaces for season 2 reviews and thots lol. Bet your ass I will be back with more posts when casting gets updated but those will hopefully be less chaos.

Thank you for reading and my sincerest apologies for taking so much of your time :/ Let me know your thoughts on the show, on the books, on my theorizing, on my ranking, whatever.

I’ll see ya in my next post!!!

2 thoughts on “The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

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