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Your invitation to the books of Bridgerton

By Kobo • April 26, 2024Recommended Reading

Give in to your heart's desires: spoil Bridgerton Season 3 and every season that ever will be...

Dive into the steaming hot Regency Romance series by Julia Quinn, plus the prequels and spin-offs...

As with all things Bridgerton, it started simply enough. Netflix’ Bridgerton Season 1 was inspired by The Duke & I, the 1st book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. Season 2 followed, taking inspiration from the 2nd book, The Viscount Who Loved Me.

But with 2023’s prequel Queen Charlotte and Season 3 leaping ahead to the 4th book in the series (Romancing Mister Bridgerton), a curious reader would be forgiven for being not quite sure about the “proper” order of the Bridgerton books—while harbouring well-founded concerns about the fate of the 3rd book, An Offer From A Gentleman. For viewers whose breath can wait bated for only so long, we present the complete list of the books of Bridgerton, including the prequels, supplements, and spin-offs—and recommendations on the order in which to read them.

Before the Bridgertons: The Bridgerton Prequels

While these are the earliest stories to take place in the world of Bridgerton, readers should know that these are the most recently published books, coming after the 8th book in the main series had been published. Readers inclined to re-reading might not mind missing the delightful “foreshadowing” details sprinkled throughout these books, but those who want to squeeze every tingling goosebump out of their Bridgerton reading experience should start with the main series and come back to these books afterwards.

Queen Charlotte: Before Bridgerton Came an Epic Love Story by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes

Co-written by Bridgerton creator Julia Quinn and Bridgerton showrunner Shonda Rhimes, this is the most recently-published book in the series (released simultaneously in both media) but it’s also the book that takes place furthest in the past, when the princess who would be Queen Charlotte first met the young nobleman who’d become King George III.

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The Rokesbys: Because of Miss Bridgerton, The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband, The Other Miss Bridgerton, First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

Set in the Georgian-era, these four books tell the stories of the Bridgertons’ neighbours, the Rokesby family, including their marriages to members of the Bridgerton clan.

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The Bridgertons

These are the books that had romance readers in rapture years before millions of new fans were drawn in by Netflix' adaptation. We’ve noted which books tie into the seasons of the series so new readers can proceed as far as they’d like. Readers should also note: these editions include extra epilogues—like happily ever after afters—that were written by Quinn after she’d concluded the series with the 8th and final book in the Bridgerton series proper. If you decide to save them all until you’ve made it through, they’re collected in Happily Ever After, which we’ve included in this list.

The Duke & I: Daphne's Story, The Inspiration for Bridgerton Season One by Julia Quinn

The one that started it all: in this first story of the Bridgertons, we follow Daphne as she embarks on a fake courtship that becomes all too real.

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The Viscount Who Loved Me: Anthony's Story, The Inspiration for Bridgerton Season Two by Julia Quinn

Anthony Bridgerton’s would-be sister-in-law Kate Sheffield is determined that she in fact won’t-be, as she sets out to foil at every turn the handsome Mr. Bridgerton’s courtship of her younger sister. He soon discovers he can’t keep from pondering what the cunning Kate Sheffield’s next move will be in whatever this game is that she has him playing.

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An Offer From a Gentleman: Benedict's Story by Julia Quinn

Sophie Beckett doesn’t belong at the Bridgerton’s masquerade ball, let alone in the arms of the charming Benedict Bridgerton. When the night ends and she departs the Bridgertons’ world, Benedict is left pining for a girl he hasn’t a clue how to find.

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Romancing Mister Bridgerton: Penelope & Colin's Story, The Inspiration for Bridgerton Season Three by Julia Quinn

Penelope Featherington can keep a secret—like her burning love for her best friend Eloise Bridgerton’s older brother Colin. But then she learns one of Colin’s secrets, and he learns one of hers, and the two must decide for themselves whether they belong in one another’s arms—or at each other’s throats.

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The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown by Julia Quinn, Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, and Mia Ryan

Originally published 6 months after Romancing Mister Bridgerton, this collection of four stories features the mysterious and all-knowing Lady Whistledown, and is authored by Julia Quinn along with the best writers of early 2000s Regency Romance.

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To Sir Phillip, With Love: Eloise's Story by Julia Quinn

Rugged Sir Phillip is not at all Eloise Bridgerton’s cup of tea. But at the sight of Eloise, Sir Phillip is immediately brought to a boil.

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Lady Whistledown Strikes Back by Julia Quinn, Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, and Mia Ryan

Another quartet of stories featuring Lady Whistledown—this was originally published 6 months before When He Was Wicked.

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When He Was Wicked: Francesca's Story by Julia Quinn

Michael Stirling is not what you’d call “boyfriend material,” to put it in both contemporary and exceedingly mild terms. And falling helplessly though secretly under Francesca Bridgerton’s spell two days prior to his cousin marrying her presents no threat to his reputation as an infamous rake. But the future holds surprises—and opportunities—for both Francesca and Michael.

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It's In His Kiss: Hyancinth's Story by Julia Quinn

Gareth St. Clair’s father is determined to ruin the boy, bequeathing him only an old family diary, written in Italian, possibly containing secrets that could return his family’s fortune to him. Hyacinth Bridgerton’s restless mind loves a challenge (though for Gareth a few minutes of Hyacinth’s company is challenge enough) and she offers to take a crack at the diary with what little Italian she knows. They’ll soon learn that the diary may reveal answers to questions neither Gareth nor Hyacinth knew they were burning to ask.

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Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron: A Graphic Novel by Julia Quinn, illustrated by Violet Charles

The story of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron is first mentioned in It’s In His Kiss, but it’s a story that the characters just can’t get over, and it comes back again and again. You can find out what they’re so enthralled by in this graphic novel, which you can read either before the 8th and final full-length book in the series, or afterwards, when you’re craving a bit-size bit of Bridgerton.

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On the Way to the Wedding: Gregory's Story by Julia Quinn

Hermione Watson is in love with somebody who isn’t Gregory Bridgerton. But Hermione’s dear friend Lady Lucinda Abernathy believes Hermione could love the dashing, romantic Gregory—and in fact she should. To keep her friend from marrying the wrong man, Lucy is willing to help Gregory win Hermione’s heart. But then Lucy, who is herself engaged, begins to perceive all too clearly Gregory’s abundant charms.

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The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After: Including Violet's Story by Julia Quinn

How else to end the Bridgerton series than with a book that is itself not one happily ever after, but many? Here is the story of Violet Bridgerton, along with the “second epilogues” to each of the previous 8 books in the series.

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The world of Bridgerton... beyond the Bridgertons

After the prequels, happily-ever-afters (and afters), lore detours, and spin-offs, there's yet more to explore...

Splendid by Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn’s debut novel Splendid kicked off a Regency Romance trilogy (plus a novella) which, though not mentioning the Bridgertons (or the Rokesbys, for that matter) by name, does introduce in the final book Minx (which follows Dancing at Midnight) an annual event wherein the ton is “entertained” by a musicale performed by characters that have become favourites among fans of the Bridgerton books.

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The Smythe-Smith Quartet by Julia Quinn

If only the Smythe-Smiths played half as well as they meant. While Bridgerton viewers know only Lord Smythe-Smith, who appears in Queen Charlotte as a newly-titled member of the ton, in the books the Smythe-Smiths’ musicales are events readers always look forward to, though the same can’t be said of the characters who have to endure the (mercifully, only) annual event.

In four books, including Just Like Heaven, A Night Like This, The Sum of All Kisses, and The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, readers get to know the Smythe-Smiths as more than the brunt of a background joke, but as real characters with beating hearts of their own.

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The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton: Lady Whistledown's Official Guide by Julia Quinn

After all the ever afters have ended happily, let Lady Whistledown’s wit provide the final word on all things Bridgerton...

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... until you start the whole series over again.

Image: Netflix

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