Today’s visual media is saturated with remakes and reboots trying (and often failing) to cater to a sense of nostalgia. But the same cannot be said for the romance industry, which frequently has authors have books spin off into one another into series, and sometimes series that spin off into each other.
Julia Quinn is famous for this, with each of the stories she writes set in the same world, where you may often see a familiar name dropped in passing. But she is arguably most well-known for the Bridgerton series, which she returned to last year, with the first in her prequel series, the Rokesbys, Because of Miss Bridgerton, following that up with the recent The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband. But as great as every book is, favorites remain debatable, as I found out when I read this post on HeroesandHeartbreakers.com. As such, I was inspired to create my own ranking. And despite my initial gut instincts regarding certain books in the series, after serious thought, I ended up rearranging my ranking a few times. Yes, it is hard to rank your favorite books.
8. When He Was Wicked: I was shocked to see this one rated at second on the list, as I find I cannot think of much that is memorable about it. JQ did her homework regarding malaria research, but I found this romance a bit off-putting. I’m not certain if it’s because Michael is a brooding hero, or he loved Francesca for so long, even while she was married, or if there is some other reason that I can’t quite identify, but I just didn’t gel with this one.
7. The Duke and I: This one gets credit for being the first in the series, as the original poster notes. And even though some aspects of the Bridgertons, like Violet, are not as developed as they would eventually become, it is a solid book. But again, we have a brooding and tortured hero, which is a trope that seems to have become way more popular than it should. In all fairness to JQ, she does write Simon in a way that makes him at least somewhat empathetic, but it does still fall into the trope of matching a tortured alpha with a naive young woman.
6, It’s in His Kiss: Hyacinth’s story is interesting, in which she is helping Gareth translate a diary from Italian. What I find most memorable, however, is her humor, especially in the scenes with Lady Danbury. However, as a romance, it is lower on the scale for me.
5. On the Way to the Wedding: This is a sweet book, although, as the blog post says, it does lack some of the familial banter that made the others so much fun. I do not think it needs it, as we can see how Gregory is shaped by having had his parents and siblings’ love stories as examples, yet not being able to escape his own romantic woes in the process.
4. To Sir Philip, With Love: Like the original poster, I loved Eloise in Romancing Mister Bridgerton, and was curious as to what was going on with her. I found myself pleasantly surprised when reading about the scandalous thing she did, going off to meet Sir Philip. I adore a story about how a second marriage can transform the lives of both the father and the children, and this one met my expectations in that regard.
3. The Viscount Who Loved Me: I adore this one more for the family banter than for the actual romance, although Anthony and Kate make compelling characters who work well together. The Pall Mall scene is unforgettable, both in terms of establishing the rapport between family members and amping up the romantic tension between the hero and heroine (and also spawning a rematch in the 2nd Epilogue).
2. An Offer from a Gentleman: This was my first JQ, and the book that got me hooked on historical romance, so this may just be my nostalgia talking. But I’m a sucker for a good fairy tale retelling, and I adored this one, even though there were some times when I wanted to hit Benedict over the head for being a bit stupid. But Sophie is a great heroine, and I love that it’s not a straight Cinderella retelling, but adds something new to the story.
1. Romancing Mister Bridgerton: This is the one where we are in complete agreement. I adore this book, and the characters, Colin, who is struggling to find his place but hides behind the facade of a happy-go-lucky rake, and Penelope, who struggles with trying to figure out how to express who she truly is publicly, are both relatable, and represent the best of JQ. Also, this represents a turning point in the series, as the article notes this book contains the unmasking of Lady Whistledown. Plus, if they ever to a television or movie series, I have the perfect Colin in mind.