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Series Review: Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am bringing a review style that I don’t really do that frequently…and that is to talk about multiple books at the same time. While I realize that a mini-review format would actually help me quickly catch up on my review backlog, I generally feel like each book deserves its own space where I can talk about what I liked and didn’t like or whatever.

I’m making an exception here because the books tie in together so much, and they are part of the same series, and honestly they were sort of guilty pleasure reads that I used to try and break my reading slump and I don’t know if I could do a full-fledged review for each of the eight books in the series.

Of course I’m talking about the Bridgerton series, which is what the Netflix show “Bridgerton” is based upon.

The Duke and I
When Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, agree to a fake courtship, they think they’ve found the perfect solution to their problems. Romantically associated with one of London’s most desirable catches, Daphne’s prospects among the ton will soar. For avowed bachelor Simon, an attachment to Daphne will deter would-be brides and their ambitious mamas. Their plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule. . . 

The Viscount Who Loved Me
London’s most elusive bachelor, Anthony Bridgerton is determined to wed. But one obstacle stands in his way—his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield, who is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal. Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands, and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. She’s determined to protect her sister—even as she fears she may not be able to resist the reprehensible and oh so desirable rake herself . . .

An Offer from a Gentleman
Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that she would be spinning in the arms of her “Prince Charming”—the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton. But when the clock strikes midnight, Sophie’s enchanting evening ends. Since that night Benedict has been able to think of nothing but the bewitching young woman, and he’s sworn to find and wed his mystery miss. Yet will another unexpectedly steal his heart—and his chance for a fairy tale love?

Romancing Mister Bridgerton 

Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother from afar for forever—until she stumbles across Colin Bridgerton’s deepest secret and fears she doesn’t know him at all. Meanwhile, Colin is tired of his reputation as an empty-headed charmer and of the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown. Upon his return to London, he discovers everything has changed—especially Penelope Featherington! The girl who was always simply there suddenly haunts his dreams. When he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide . . . is she his biggest threat or his promise of a happy ending?

To Sir Phillip, With Love

Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he’d proposed, figuring she’d be timid and desperate to marry. Except . . . she wasn’t. And all he wanted to do was kiss her . . . As for Eloise, she couldn’t marry a man she had never met! Yet, she found herself in a carriage on her way to meet her perfect match. Except . . . he wasn’t. Despite being handsome, Phillip was a large, ill-mannered brute. But when he kissed her, the world simply fell away… could this imperfect man be perfect for her?

When He Was Wicked

After a lifetime of smiling slyly as women chased him, Michael Stirling, London’s most infamous rake, took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell hopelessly in love. Unfortunately for Michael, Francesca’s surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer—they met at a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin. But that was then . . . Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but she still sees him as a dear friend. Michael dares not profess his love . . . until one dangerous night, passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets . . .

It’s in His Kiss

Gareth St. Clair’s ignoble father is determined to ruin his inheritance. Gareth’s sole bequest is an old family diary, which may hold the key to his future. The problem is it’s written in Italian. Hyacinth Bridgerton has offered to translate. She’s fiendishly smart, devilishly outspoken, and according to Gareth, best in small doses. But there’s something equally charming and vexing about her that draws him in. As they delve into the mysterious text, these two might discover that the answers they seek lie in each other . . . and that there is nothing as simple—or as complicated—as a single, perfect kiss.

On the Way to the Wedding

Gregory Bridgerton believes he has found his dream woman. Unfortunately, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. Her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, and offers to help Gregory win her heart. In the process, Lucy falls in love—with Gregory! But she is already engaged, and her uncle is not inclined to let her out of the betrothal. Now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar…

My Thoughts:

Ratings:

  • Daphne and Simon–4 stars
  • Anthony and Kate–4 stars
  • Benedict and Sophie–4.5 stars
  • Colin and Penelope–4.5 stars
  • Eloise and Phillip–4 stars
  • Francesca and Michael–4 stars
  • Hyacinth and Gareth–4.5 stars
  • Gregory and Lucy–3.5 stars

I flew through Daphne and Simon’s story back in January, and then I picked up Anthony and Kate’s tale and struggled to get through it…not because it wasn’t good, but because it just wasn’t holding my focus, which I attribute to my reading slump issues. So I paused in the series for a few months. When I picked the Bridgerton series up again in May-July, I managed to read my way through Benedict and Sophie, Colin and Penelope, and Eloise and Phillip before taking a week or so break before picking up Francesca and Michael’s stories. I finally read Hyacinth and Gareth’s story and Gregory and Lucy’s story in August…which completes the series of the main Bridgerton family we’ve followed through these eight books. There are some prequel/spin-off books, but I don’t know if I’m going to read them or not.

If I had to rank the books, I would say that Colin, Benedict, and Hyacinth are at the top, followed by Anthony, Eloise, and Francesca, and then Daphne, and then Gregory. What I give Daphne’s story is that it is an intriguing start to the series, and because I read it quickly, and found myself intrigued by the other Bridgerton siblings, I wanted to read more, so Daphne works quite well for a series starter. Unfortunately, what ended up really hurting Gregory’s story is that I didn’t feel like I really knew him, even though he is the final sibling finding his happy ending…and his story suffered from very little time for the couple to spend together and then there being no real plot excitement until 60% into the story.

The first four books have the best overall setup, as we have Lady Whistledown’s Papers to give us an intro to each chapter, speaking of the London season and the various lords and ladies and parties and events. It helps to establish the structure of the tale and to settle us into the region and time period, which I really liked. But by the end of the fourth book, Lady Whistledown has been unmasked and puts down their pen, so the rest of the series has to figure out how to structure things. Eloise and Phillip’s story uses letters at the beginning of each chapter, which worked nicely, as did Francesca and Michael for a lot of the story. But by the time we hit Gregory and Lucy, author Julia Quinn is just doing basically chapter titles like “In Which the Heroine Realizes She’s In Love With the Hero,” which while it works fine, it also basically spoiled the chapters for me and added nothing else to the story.

Some of the relationships are fake courting, some are friends-to-lovers, some are basically just chance meetings, so there’s a little variety there. Several of the stories have the couples getting married because of being caught in an indelicate or compromising position or situation, which sort of ended up feeling repetitive.

Throughout the whole series we have Violet Bridgerton, the mother of this whole family, and her desire for her children to marry well, certainly, but more importantly to marry for love and to be happy with their lives. Yes, Violet gets pushy on her children at times to get out there, to talk and dance and flirt and search for a life partner, but she’s also so dependable in most situations, and can always be relied on for advice. Honestly, even by the end of the series, in her 60s, I would love to see her find a new love. Yes, I know even decades later that she is still very devoted to the late Lord Bridgerton, but I also think it would have been nice to see her have a companion for herself after all of her children have been married off. Then again, I suppose Violet is quite busy with the countless grandchildren she now gets to see.

I enjoyed these historical romances. Yes they are mostly predictable, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t fun. Sometimes you just need to read something where you basically know what’s going to happen, where you know that things will work out, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Now I can sit back and enjoy the future seasons of the “Bridgerton” show on Netflix. I had managed to read the first book while starting to watch the show, thankfully. But with the whole series behind me, I no longer have to worry about series spoilers…at least unless they completely deviate from what happens in the books.

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All right that is all from me for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.

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