Dearest reader, with season two of Bridgerton, Netflix’s steamy, runaway TV series set to air soon, it’s possible you might be counting down the hours as we so speak. While we expect that you’ll inevitably finish the new season into the early hours of dawn (we know we shall be), after waiting months for the premiere you might feel a tad lost afterwards.
But we have the most excellent proposal for you, gentle reader, and that is to read the books that inspired this Edwardian romance series. In which case, you may be poised to ask: in what order should I read the Bridgerton series?
Well now, that’s enough of channeling our inner Lady Whistledown, so let’s make haste. The Bridgerton book series consists of eight novels (and one novella) penned by American author, Julia Quinn — who is a number one New York Times-bestselling author of historical romance fiction. While Bridgerton remains her most popular series, she has also written four prequel books and another series, dubbed The Smythe-Smith Quartet.
Each novel follows one of the eight Bridgerton siblings’ love lives through Regency-era London, where they navigate high-society standards and scandals that constantly threaten their family’s reputation and wealth.
So far, the Netflix show has faithfully followed the plot of the first book, which is titled The Duke & I. The series has earned a ton (if you know, you know) of praise from viewers and readers alike, for both its steamy sex scenes and Gossip Girl-like entity.
Without further ado, let’s explore the best reading order for the Bridgerton series, which all happen to be half price at this moment.
Season two of Bridgerton will premiere on Netflix at 6pm AEDT on March 25.
Warning: The following may contain spoilers for future seasons of Bridgerton.
How to read the Bridgerton book series in order
If you’ve already watched the first season, then you’ll know all too well the story of Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest Bridgerton daughter, and her relationship with Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), the Duke of Hastings. The Duke & I is the first book in the series and kicks off in 1813, where a dismal Daphne has been searching for a suitable husband over the last two years.
Daphne fears that most of the men she knows think of her as a friend, rather than a mate thanks to her kindness, wit and straightforwardness. She dreams of finding a husband who truly desires her, and wants to be the father to her own brood. Meanwhile, Simon, who was brutally rejected by his own father from a young age, wants to never marry nor have children of his own.
After Daphne spurns the advances of an unwelcome suitor, Daphne and Simon agree to a mutually beneficial faux courtship. Simon will pretend to woo Daphne, which will keep desperate mothers from thrusting their eligible daughters at him while Daphne will enjoy Simon’s attention, whose status as the Duke of Hastings will make her a more desirable bride.
But as the pair continue into their ruse, a mutual attraction blooms…
The second book in the series is The Viscount Who Loved Me. As many of you well know, Daphne’s eldest brother, Anthony (Jonathon Bailey), is due to take centre stage for the next chapter of the Netflix series, where his love story will be the fixation for the season. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like his former flame Siena won’t be making an appearance.
Gossip columnist Lady Whistledown has got it wrong this time when it comes to the Ton’s most elusive bachelor, Anthony Bridgerton. Not only has he decided to marry, but he’s even chosen his wife. All that stands in the way of his happily ever after is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield (Simone Ashley). Unfortunately for Anthony, the course of true love never did run smooth, as he begins to experience erotic dreams about the meddlesome Kate.
All the while, Kate sees Anthony for what he truly is — a wicked rogue who she desperately wishes to protect her younger sister, Edwina (Charithra Chandran), from. But as her attempts to stop the betrothal transpire, Kate fears she might be falling for the dashing rake herself.
Netflix has confirmed there will be a season 3 and 4 of Bridgerton and what does that mean? Why, a whole series dedicated to Benedict (Luke Thompson), of course!
Benedict didn’t get too much screen time during season one, but you’ll likely remember him as the second eldest brother, who appears to be the only LGBT character in the family. While the novels have served as the inspiration for the TV series so far, it’s possible the show might deviate from the books on this note. Especially, if they want to explore Benedict’s sexuality. But judging by the third book in the series, there’s a chance we might not get to enjoy an adorable Regency-era LGBT romance.
Julia Quinn’s An Offer From A Gentleman is a Cinderella retelling. Sophie Beckett is the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Penwood, who marries before dying, forcing Sophie to live with her horrible stepmother until her 20th birthday. One night, Sophie sneaks out to a masquerade ball, where she encounters “Prince Charming”, who is none other than Benedict Bridgerton. The two are enchanted by each other, but Sophie leaves the party early and the two don’t see each other again for two years.
Benedict has vowed to marry the “vision in silver” he encountered at the ball two years ago, but finds his heart conflicted as he begins to fall for a familiar beauty dressed in maid’s garb…
Season 4 of the hit series will likely fixate on Romancing Mister Bridgerton, which is Colin and Penelope’s story. Colin is the second youngest son of the Bridgerton family, while Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) is depicted as his younger sister Eloise’s best friend. Penelope has been in love with Colin her whole life and it’s so satisfying to know they get a whole book dedicated to their love story.
In book four, the Ton are busying themselves with a competition to unmask the notorious Lady Whistledown, where the winner will pocket a cool £1,000. Colin (Luke Newton), who has been living abroad, returns home only to notice Penelope in a new light. Of course, this frazzles poor Colin, who begins to wonder if his happy ever after had been right under his nose all these years.
You would think this is fantastic news for Penelope and her unrequited crush. It is, until Colin discovers her greatest secret.
To Sir Phillip, With Love gives us big Pride and Prejudice vibes. The fifth book in the series is about Eloise’s romance and if you’ve been paying attention to her character in the TV series, you’ll know that she’s quite determined to be a spinster, hates balls and has loud and unapologetic opinions about everything. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.
After the death of his wife, Prince Phillip receives a sympathy letter from his late partner’s distant cousin — Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie). Over time, the pair begin to exchange countless letters and an affection grows between them. When Prince Phillip (our Mr. Darcy if you will) proposes marriage, he thinks that the poor 28-year-old spinster would desperately accept his proposal, but he couldn’t be more wrong.
Eloise would never marry a man she hasn’t met. And yet, she finds herself in a hired carriage in the middle of the night only to arrive at Sir Phillip’s doorstep. As the pair meet for the first time, Eloise is disheartened to find that Sir Phillip, while handsome, is moody, ill-tempered and totally unlike her string of past suitors. Phillip, on the other hand, wonders how he will ever get this beautiful creature to stop talking. Suddenly, two imperfect people begin to wonder if they’re perfect for each other.
Book six in Julia Quinn’s series follows one of the youngest members of the Bridgerton brood, Francesca (currently portrayed by Ruby Stokes). In the show, we don’t see Francesca much at all, which leaves little inkling about her character. Even her younger siblings Gregory and Hyacinth enjoy more screen time. But that makes her book all the more intriguing.
When He Was Wicked begins with love at first sight for infamous London rake, Michael Stirling. When he sees Francesca Bridgerton for the first time, he falls head over heels for her, but is horrified to discover she’s 36 hours away from marrying his cousin.
Choosing to keep his feelings hidden, Michael watches his favourite cousin marry the love of his life. He then ends up planting himself by Francesca’s side as her best friend and confidante. At least until a tragedy befalls the family and suddenly, he has a chance to win back the one who got away.
Hyacinth made a few appearances in season one as the youngest child in the Bridgerton bunch. That said, not too much is known about her other than the fact that she echoes her eldest sister Daphne’s excitement about making her debut in society.
In the seventh book, Hyacinth (currently played by Florence Hunt) has endured three seasons in the Marriage Mart and is exhausted by the parties, the suitors, the whole shebang. While considered a good catch for any eligible bachelor, most men — including Gareth St. Clair — thinks she’s best kept to small doses.
Meanwhile, Gareth is dealing with a bind of his own. After refusing an arranged marriage, his family cuts him off financially. Then, after the death of his older brother, his father begins to run their estate (therefore Gareth’s inheritance) to the ground, out of his hatred for him. All that he’s bequeathed is a lone diary, written solely in Italian, which he cannot read.
When he befriends Hyacinth, she offers to translate his mysterious diary. As the two uncover its secrets, they begin to find answers in each other and one that leads to a single, perfect kiss.
The youngest of the siblings is none other than Gregory Bridgerton (Will Tilston). On The Way To The Wedding is the eighth novel in the series, but not yet the last.
Unlike most men his age, Gregory believes in true love. When he see Hermione Watson, he thinks he’s finally found it, until he realises she’s in love with someone else. But her best friend, Lucinda Abernathy doesn’t agree with who Hermione has given her heart to, and offers to help bring Gregory together with his dream girl.
But of course, Lucinda falls for Gregory while vetting for him. And Gregory, like the smart chap he is, falls for her. But what’s a Bridgerton novel without more drama? It turns out Lucinda has been betrothed to another this whole time and her father refuses to let her back out of the wedding.
Grab the Bridgerton book series as a boxed set
If you can’t wait to get started binging the whole Bridgerton book series, you can buy this boxed set here for $170.87, which includes all nine books on the alphabetically ordered siblings.
Still not sated by the Bridgerton book series?
While the aforementioned eight books cover each of the Bridgerton siblings’ stories and in what order to read them, there are a number of spin-offs to keep the fire burning.
As soon as you finish On The Way To The Wedding, make sure you read the novella The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, which features the beloved family matron, Violet Bridgerton. The novella also includes the second epilogues from each of the eight books that will offer fans more insight into their favourite characters’ married lives. You can get it here for $12.
But wait, there’s more! If you want to see how it all began, there’s even a prequel series that follows the Bridgerton’s close family friends, The Rokesbys. If you’re worried you’re not going to see much of your precious Bridgertons, don’t worry because Julia Quinn has promised plenty of cameos from your favourites — in baby form.
You can read the prequel to the Bridgerton book series in order below:
- Because of Miss Bridgerton — $12
- The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband — $12
- The Other Miss Bridgerton — $11.99
- First Comes Scandal — $13.39
Season two of Bridgerton will premiere on Netflix at 6pm AEDT on March 25.