I started the Bridgerton series after watching the eponymous show.
I have a bookmark that I love that reads, “Never judge a book by its movie”. I actually preferred the show to the first book in the series.
The Duke and I is the basis for the Netflix show, and the plot is essentially the same. Daphne Bridgerton, fourth child and first daughter of the Bridgerton family, is in search of a husband. Simon, the duke of the title, is in search of a way to avoid all the match-making mothers of the London season. They agree to a plan to pretend to be courting so that Daphne’s social stock rises and Simon is left alone. Along the way they fall in love and when forced to marry due to being caught in a compromising situation they try to make the best of it. I did like that in the book, Daphne isn’t originally the incomparable of the season, and in fact is not much in demand at all. The show revises that and I don’t think it helps the plot. I spent most of the book wishing that these two would just talk to each other, but then there wouldn’t be much plot.
The Viscount Who Loved Me follows Anthony, eldest sibling and heir to the title of Viscount after the death of his father a decade before. Anthony, emotionally scarred by the loss of his father, is convinced that he will die at the same age. He therefore decides that it is time to put aside his wild ways and get married to someone he finds attractive but dull so he can continue his line but not be emotionally invested. He decides that his target will be the current season’s most sought-after woman- not because he has an interest, just because he is arrogant- and proceeds to start his courtship. He’s thwarted by her older half-sister Kate who doesn’t like his reputation or attitude. Anthony and Kate are a great couple and their gradual shift from dislike to love is sweet. This was my favorite of the first three books.
An Offer From A Gentleman started out well enough- it’s a retelling of Cinderella featuring Sophie, the natural-born daughter of an earl and Benedict, the second of the Bridgerton siblings. Sophie’s father never acknowledged her, but did allow her to live in his home. This was galling to her stepmother, who allowed Sophie to remain in her home after her father’s death only because it increased her stipend substantially. Sophie was forced to work as a maid to keep her home. The other staff surprise her with a dress and a ride to the Bridgerton family’s masquerade ball, where she meets Benedict and they are both immediately smitten. Sophie has to leave early to get back to her chores and never gives Benedict her name, but he is determined to find her. Very romantic, no? And then it takes a turn, when they are reunited (though Benedict doesn’t realize it is his mystery woman) and he blackmails her to do what he wants and then gets furious with her when she won’t immediately acquiesce to his plans. Every time he is thwarted he threatens her either physically or with promises of arrest for invented charges. He physically assaults her stepmother by choking her. Sophie, get out of there.
I followed up these three romances with something more modern- Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren is the first in a series that follows three friends, just graduated from college, and the relationships they form with men they meet during a wild celebratory weekend. This book focuses on Mia, a shy and quiet aspiring business student. She had an accident in high school that derailed her dreams of professionally dancing, and is still trying to figure out what makes her happy. While in Las Vegas to celebrate graduation she meets Ansel. They end up married and in the morning, though they are essentially strangers, they decide to give the marriage a try. This involves Mia moving to France for the summer before business school starts in the Fall. The story follows them as they try to navigate what a real relationship looks like after the drunken chaos is over. It is sweet and sexy and funny.