Reading and Ranking the Bridgerton Novels

Like most of the world, the Netflix series Bridgerton, dominated my TV during Christmas Day. I desperately wanted to watch it and asked if my husband wanted to watch with me. He wasn’t sure about it but I told him that he only had to watch one episode and if he didn’t like it then I would just watch it alone on another day. The next thing I know, it was 3 am and we had binged the entire series in one sitting!

My husband loved it as much as I did and truly, it is a remarkable show so if you haven’t watched it yet please do so! That said, when I heard the show was coming out in the spring, I knew that I wanted to try and read the books. I picked up The Duke and I and to be honest I just didn’t love it. It was good but after a while it got cumbersome and irritating, however after watching the show, I was inspired to pick up the books again!

What ensued was a full on book binge of the entire series! I have been documenting my reading of the series on my Instagram page and I had a number of people ask which was my favorite and why so I thought it would be fun to share my ranking of the series in a more comprehensive capacity here on my blog today! So let’s take a look at what I thought of the books from worst to best!

8. An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict’s story, Book 2)

If you love Cinderella stories, you will most likely love this one. I love Cinderella stories and for the most part this book had a wonderful romance but I had one major problem with this one. Benedict. He read a little lackluster for me. He didn’t have the presence and charisma that some of the other Bridgerton’s did. I also didn’t love the way that he continued to ask Sophie to be his mistress. Normally that doesn’t bother me overly much but in this one it was frustrating that he never really considered making her his wife. I thought the difference in social station was hard to cover come as well. I understood that Sophie was a bastard but to make her a servant and Benedict the second son of a viscount who was popular and from a powerful family just didn’t jive for me. While not an awful story, it just wasn’t my personal favorite.

7. The Duke and I (Daphne’s story, Book 1)

This one started out so strong for me. I loved the witty dialogue and smart romance. It was like Jane Austen with sex and I loved it when it started. but then something happened. The brother who started out so charming and fun, got really annoying really quick. They were so overly protective and nosy when it came to Daphne and I was over it by the last third of the book. Simon who started out slightly arrogant and with cute stubbornness quickly became an ass. The second Daphne and Simon married he became positively intolerable! It was like he became a completely different character from the beginning of the book until the end. There was just so much conflict between him and Daphne toward the end of the book that I found it frustrating and some of it didn’t even make sense! I was so bothered by Simon’s refusal of children and the vehemence he felt seemed completely displaced and didn’t seem to fit with his backstory to the extent that I thought it called for. The first half of the book would have been a 4 star rating but the later part brought it down to a 3 star rating.

6. To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise’s story, Book 5)

Eloise was my favorite Bridgerton sister. She was strong, quirky, funny, bad ass-y and generally odd but I simply loved her. She saved this novel for me. For me this book has a little bit of a Beauty and the Beast feel to it. Eloise was outspoken and not like most heroines where as Sir Phillip was the large brooding man with major mood swings. Eloise was the shining spot of this one for sure. Sir Phillip had moments where he was charming and romantic but the thing that stands out about this book was his horniness. I felt like he was more than happy to have sex with Eloise and there was no doubt he was hot for her, but I doubted that he truly loved her. There were a few too many times that he said he simply wanted a mother for his children and then he would muse about how long it had been since he had been with a woman. He never had any trouble making love to Eloise but then he would be emotionally shut off from her for much of the story. Their romance was a hard one for me but again there were flashes of Phillip’s charm but it was so hidden under his dark moods that it didn’t shine like some of the others. I felt like their romance was more physical in nature than any in the series.

5. On the Way to the Wedding (Gregory’s story, Book 8)

Gregory was so romantic that it practically hurt. He had zero qualms wearing his heart on his sleeve. Unlike all his brothers, he was fully ready for a women he could love. I found that endearing and his grand romantic declaration was epic. I mean epic. I laughed and I cried at the same time and I have no doubt that audiences will remember that church scene with humor and pain! For being the hopeless romantic of the Bridgerton family, I didn’t think he was the most passionate of the bunch (women included!). He didn’t have the same issues to overcome that his siblings had. His siblings had to deal with things like inadequacies, life purpose, commitment issues, grief, guilt, and even their own personality flaws. Where as Gregory simply didn’t fight for what he wanted (which I found hard to believe from the beginning). But all those little quirks aside, his story was a solid end to the series and it set itself aside as a little different than the earlier books. I liked his romance with Lucy and while this book lacked some of the heat that the others had in spades, it was still a worthy romance for our hero.

4. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth’s story, Book 7)

Hyacinth was probably the most irritating of the Bridgerton siblings and I mean that with all the affection possible. In the series, many of the siblings make cameo appearances throughout the many books so I had ‘met’ Hyacinth before and she always came across as the typical youngest child—spoiled and immature. But Quinn is such a talented writer and I knew she could win me over. This book has the snappiest dialogue of the series in my opinion. Her romance with Gareth is full of comical conversations and wit. I also loved that Lady Danbury was featured in this one more than the other books. Gareth left a little something to be desired in the role of hero and their story ended way too abruptly but the dialogue in this one was on point! Hyacinth made for a formidable heroine, she had clearly grown from the nosy debutant sister that she was in some of the other books, here we see her fully come into her own. Her banter with Gareth was ripe and made their romance simmer throughout the story. I also enjoyed watching Gareth grown up in this one. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he was a ‘mature man’ when the story ended but I felt like he became more himself by the end.

3. Romancing Mr Bridgerton (Colin’s story, Book 4)

Colin is a big big big fan favorite. This troupe is also a fan favorite, friends to lovers. I loved Colin in all the other books. He was so charming, funny, smart, and generally likable—-right up until he wasn’t. In this book Colin and Penelope had to overcome quite a lot. Not only was Colin blind to Penelope’s affections, but he was also dealing with his own restlessness and purpose. I loved this one partially because of the troupe, but mostly because Penelope got the spotlight. Penelope really came into her own in this book, it was her swan song and I was so pleased with how much growth she went through in this one. I adored this book for that reason, but I struggled with Colin’s character a times. He was daft when it came to recognizing his jealousy toward Penelope and I hated that he was high handed with her at times. But ultimately their story was wonderful and truly a delight to read. I also felt that the steamy scenes in this book were more about making love rather than lusty needs. The big sex scene in this book was probably the most beautifully written in the entire series and I thought it was executed perfectly.

2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony’s story, Book 2)

This was a tough one for me. I adored Anthony’s story and I was sure that none of the other books could usurp that title as my favorite. I still struggle with the ranking of this one, but ultimately I had to put Anthony’s story as my number two though it could easily tie as number one. Anthony is going to be a top book boyfriend for a while for me. I loved this troupe (a little Taming of the Shrew meets Ten Things I Hate About You) and I thought that Kate was a worthy heroine to tame the rouge that Anthony was. She was very good at drawing him out and challenging him. Their chemistry was on fire and I could feel the heat in the pages but it wasn’t raunchy. I loved the dialogue in this one and the steam was the perfect level. I loved watching Kate and Anthony fall in love and I swooned more times than I cared to admit. In The Duke and I, Anthony was so irritating and bugged the crap out of me but in this book his superiority, protectiveness, and arrogance were not necessarily muted but rather explained and depicted in a more polished manor.

1. When He Was Wicked (Francesca’s story, Book 5)

This was the book I thought I was going to love the least. Francesca has been on the fringes more than any of the other Bridgerton siblings. We didn’t get to know really her prior to this book like we did with the other siblings which is why I think she read a little flat for me but I think she came across more as a woman than a girl the way some of the heroines in the other books came across. I think Francesca’s romance overall felt more mature and womanly in a way that the other books didn’t have. And Michael, good god Michael. I loved him. He had depth, brooding, and complexity more than any of the other heroes in my opinion. I loved the smoldering desire that he was barely able to contain and I thought his character brought so much life to the romance. He made up for Francesca’s flatness. I fully bought into their romance and I felt like their romance was so much more complex and nuanced than some of the others in the series and it was certainly more tormented and brooding but no less happy and beautiful when it ended. I adored this book and Michael will also be a top book boyfriend for me from here on out. I loved him.

Well friends that wraps up my ranking of the Bridgerton books! I loved them all for various reasons and sure some of them had some flaws but over all every book left me feeling happy, content, and fully believing in HEA. But I will say that I am in for a big book hangover now that I am done with them. I also know that a lot of people are looking for books to read that are like the Bridgerton show and books. I will be posting a short list of books that I recommend soon so be watching for those!

7 thoughts on “Reading and Ranking the Bridgerton Novels

  1. I love this post! I watched the tV show and loved it but heard so many mixed reviews about the first book that I decided to skip it and read the second book and I LOVED IT! I’m definitely going to binge the rest of the series and see if I end up having the same favorites as you! Amazing post!! 💕

  2. I think I’m one of the few people that haven’t read the books or watch the show. Reading historical romance isn’t my thing but after reading your thoughts about the books, I might have to check out the Netflix series.

  3. The Good thing about the Bridgerton Books is that all of them are 100% enjoyable. Even the one you like the least, you actually like it, although not as much.
    In my case, I prefer #2,#3 and #6; #4 and #5 come next, and finally #1, #7-8 come last.
    Main reason being that I felt myself reflected on Kate’s character, I loved the Cinderella story and I adored Michael Sterling. The rest were good too, but not as much.
    I am not sure how they plan to film the books, if it is going to be 1 season per book. I just hope it is not this way, otherwise we will have to wait 6 years to meet Michael!

    1. Would you recommend other books with similar themes and time periods? Such as Regency Romance by other authors?

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