Ah!!! Finally I’m writing about my greatest passion in life- Books. And not just any book. Today, I’m penning down a few words about a particular adored and often delighted in series of novels that will leave any fellow romance-lover sighing with a dreamy grin. Such is the charm of The Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn. Honestly, I cannot think of any series that I adore so much, save Harry Potter. And of course it belongs to my favourite genre, historical romance. Contemporary romance has its own place, but there is something about balls and gowns and cravats that is just irresistible. Yes, dear reader set between 1813 and 1825, these books depict everything that we love best about regency England. Honestly, just writing about these is making my fingers itch to pick up any one and read it for the millionth time. Now let me begin telling you about the books, before I just start drooling all over my keys.
So, basically The Bridgertons is an 8-book series, each a romance novel outlining the love story of 8 different couples, the common link being the Bridgerton family. In addition, there is a bonus novel that has second epilogues to all the previous 8 books, plus an added story set before any of the books. Each book features a Bridgerton sibling. Yes, there are 8 of them, and named alphabetically to boot. So we have Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth in decreasing order of their ages. Then there is their adorable widowed mother Violet, whose sole aspiration in life is to see each of her offspring happily married. However what distinguishes her from other matriarchs of the ton is that she doesn’t care about the backgrounds of the partners her children choose. She’s all for love matches, which makes her one of the most lovable character of the series. So each novel outlines a Bridgerton and how they stumble, fall, trip and goof up on their way to happily-ever-after, with their soul mate.
‘The Duke and I’ is the first novel in the series which tells Daphne and Simon’s story. In my opinion this is not the best book in the series, and some readers might even want to give up on the next ones after reading this. But Julia Quinn really springs back in The Viscount Who Loved Me, featuring the man of the house Anthony, and his love interest Kate. An Offer From A Gentleman introduces us to Benedict and Sophie. Then come Colin and Penelope in Romancing Mister Bridgerton, which is my favourite of all the 8 books. We then meet Eloise and Phillip in To Sir Phillip, With Love. This is followed by When He Was Wicked, about Francesca and Michael. This is my second favourite, and the most intense book in the entire series, the only one that reduced me to actual tears. It’s In His Kiss is the love story of Hyacinth and Gareth, while On The Way To The Wedding shows Gregory and Lucy.
Most of the heroines in the series are no beauties, some even downright wallflowers. Yet all are witty, quirky and far from the usual doormats belonging to that period. My favourite heroine is Penelope, who has loved Colin all her life, and even being a wallflower is content with her lot. But anyone who takes the pains to notice her sees her for the charmingly witty and intellectual lady she is. Colin has been in her life forever without really seeing her. But when he finally does, boy oh boy, does he fall and fall hard. Mrs. Quinn does a delightful job of describing these two lovebirds. All the heroes are macho, honourable men who are initially cynical about love, but eventually mend their ways. Talk about reformed rakes making the best husbands. Each character brings a lot of baggage, which drives the stories forward. A central part of the stories is Mrs. Whistledown, a reclusive columnist, whose sarcastic take of the society and ton’s eccentricities is too funny for words. Her articles appear as refreshing little blurbs at the beginning of almost all the chapters in the first 5 books. And the revelation of her identity will leave you speechless.
But the best part about the novels is not their romance, although they are essentially love stories with a healthy dose of intimate scenes even. No, the best past is the Bridgerton clan as a whole. The constant banter and bickering between the 8 siblings, the love they share and the way they stand up for each other is what makes these novel so much more than the average love stories. The dialogue is crisp, witty and outstandingly hilarious at some points, most often when it involves Eloise and Hyacinth. One is sure to crack up when reading their dialogues. The way Anthony looks after everyone as the head of the family, and the manner in which all brothers fight for their sisters’ honours is beautiful to watch. They might be rough and tough on the outside, but they are full of tenderness and warmth inside, although they don’t always know how to show it. Honestly, the Bridgertons, will draw you right in, making you a part of their family along the way. Best of all is their love for Violet, how they indulge her, although she is dead-set on marrying off each one of them. She in turn, loves all her children dearly. Seeing the entire family dynamic is the most splendid part of this beloved book series.
While most books are light, breezy reads on the whole, with a clever mix of humour, wit, passion and conflict, When He Was Wicked stands out as the more deeply emotional one, with a lot a of depth to its storyline. The heroine Francesca was married and in love with the hero, Michael’s cousin for two years, when he suddenly dies, leaving Michael to assume his duties. What no one knows is that Michael fell in love on first sight with Francesca. The rest of the book follows how Michael struggles to keep his feelings hidden, Francesca being the one thing of his deceased cousin he can never have. His anguish, guilt and suffering really touch the heart. The ending (of course Francesca and Michael have their happily ever after) is just too poignant. I won’t reveal the details, but I read it with tears in my eyes.
I’m really getting away with myself here. I’ve hardly done any justice to the books at all. But I need to exercise restraint here, or I’ll quite frankly start describing each book, and quoting my favourite dialogues, and simply going gaga. So I’ll just leave you with one tiny little quote. For the rest, read the books yourself, and let the Bridgertons cast their spell over you, as they reach for their happily ever afters.
“Love’s about finding the one person who makes your heart complete. Who makes you a better person than you ever dreamed you could be. Its about looking in the eyes of your wife and knowing all the way to your bones that she’s simply the best person you’ve ever known.”
â€• Julia Quinn, The Viscount Who Loved Me