All the 'Bridgerton' Novels, Ranked From Best to Worst
By now, everyone and their mother (or maybe not) has heard of Bridgerton, Netflix's smash original hit that landed right in time for the holidays last year. The series has become the streaming giant's most-watched original series ever, reaching 82 million households around the world, and has been confirmed for a Season 2. Adjoa Andoh, who plays the fearsome favorite Lady Danbury, has described the series as "Regency England on acid"—and with opulent sets and costumes, riveting gossipy storylines, and color-blind casting, what's not to love?
If you just can't wait for the next season to come out (patience may be a virtue, but no one said it was one of ours), treat yourself to reading the entire Bridgerton romance series by Julia Quinn. Plus, in our humble opinion, the best thing about reading romance novels is that we're guaranteed a happy ending. There's no question about who's going to end up with who, it's really all about the journey and not the destination with these—and what a fun journey it is.
There are eight novels in all, one for each of the Bridgerton children, who are named alphabetically from A-H. You get to know the other siblings as they show up throughout. And if you read them in chronological order, you're already emotionally invested in their fictional happily ever after by the time you get to their book.
Quinn also wrote a prequel series of four novels, which follows the Rokesby family, the close friends of the Bridgertons, one generation earlier. If you don't have the time to read all twelve novels (as I did—for science!), then here's which ones you should pick up first, ranked from best to worst in terms of steaminess, overall likeability of the hero and heroine, and of course, romance!
The Viscount Who Loved Me
Bridgerton series, #2
Stubborn eldest brother Anthony decides that love is not for him and chooses to court a woman for convenience. Meanwhile, Kate Sheffield is dead set on protecting her sister from him, because he is a rake. This book is a fun enemies-to-lovers story, which manages to combine the two of them helping each other navigate some intense childhood trauma while getting into all sorts of embarrassing situations along the way (albeit not at the same time.)
Steaminess: 4/5. Reformed rakes make the best husbands for a reason!
Memorable line: "Anthony glared at his brother, then for good measure at Miss Sheffield, who was looking at him as if he'd just despoiled ten virgins in her presence."
Best sibling cameo: When all the older siblings come together for a saboteur's game of Pall-Mall. Seriously, it's so wholesome.
When He Was Wicked
Bridgerton series, #6
Michael Stirling is in love with his cousin's wife, Francesca, who is also his best friend—and when she becomes his cousin's widow, well, you can imagine the sort of tortured love that ensues. There's a lot of "I love you, but..." in this one, followed by a lot of hand-wringing combined with drinking whiskey (on his part), and running away to Scotland after a particularly steamy encounter (on hers). This book is a more mature portrait of two characters who go through tragedy together, care about each other very much, and then have to figure out what to do about it.
Steaminess: 5/5. No blushing, awkward first-times here. Plus, there's one scene where she seduces him instead of the other way around.
Memorable line: "Thou shalt not covet thy cousin's wife. Moses must have forgotten to write that one down." (Michael's inner thoughts).
Best sibling cameo: Francesca's run-in with Eloise and Kate (née Sheffield) at a ball, where she starts to realize her feelings might not be so platonic, after all.
An Offer From A Gentleman
Bridgerton series, #3
This book is a spin on the Cinderella story that somehow manages to be charming enough to escape from being overdone or cheesy. (Although is there such a thing when it comes to romance novels, really?) Benedict meets Sophie Beckett at a masquerade ball, only to lose her at the stroke of midnight. As an illegitimate daughter of an earl and a housemaid, she's had the classic "you're not good enough" mantra drilled into her by a shrill stepmother. When they cross paths again years later, he doesn't recognize her and she's afraid to tell him, but they fall in love anyway, bickering all the while.
Steaminess: 4/5. Apparently, kisses are a very effective persuasion tactic.
Memorable line: She glared at him. "I'm not asking you to apologize." [Sophia said.] "Well, that's a relief. I doubt I could find the words." [Benedict said.]
Best sibling cameo: A brotherly huddle of Anthony, Benedict and Colin, where Colin says emphatically that he will "certainly not marry Penelope Featherington!"... right in earshot of the lady herself. Awkward.
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
Bridgerton series, #4
Colin falls in love with the last person he expected to—Penelope Featherington, who's been overlooked by everyone. She, of course, has been in love with him since forever. This story is for all of those who have ever held out hope for unrequited love. Plus, we also find out the identity of Lady Whistledown in this novel, although, if you've watched the show, you would know already!
Steaminess: 3/5. A carriage ride leads to a marriage proposal. Guess what happened in the carriage?
Memorable line: "In three days," Colin continued, "I will be your husband. I will take a solemn vow to protect you until death do us part. Do you understand what that means?" [Penelope:] "You'll save me from marauding minotaurs?"
Best sibling cameo: Colin seeks out Daphne for love advice, who tells him quite sagely that love is something that grows over time, and " is not some thunderbolt from the sky, instantly transforming you into a different man. I know Benedict says it was that way for him, and that's just lovely, but you know, Benedict is not normal."
The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband
Rokesby series, #2
Edward Rokesby wakes up from a head injury and finds himself "married" to Cecilia Harcourt, the sister of his best friend who he's never met. Cecilia is looking for her missing brother in the colonies, and it's easier to do so as a married woman than an unmarried one. Somehow a marriage of deception turns out to be devastatingly romantic—although you're thinking "what is he going to do when he finds out?" the whole time. The good news is, the answer is pretty obvious when the happy couple sails off into the sunset!
Steaminess: 5/5. When you're virtually married already, there's no unnecessary reason for sneaking around for the fear of scandal!
Memorable line: "It's bacon. How can anything in the world seem bleak when one is eating bacon?"
It's In His Kiss
Bridgerton series, #7
Hyacinth who is too "managing" (clever? talkative? or God forbid, opinionated?) for her own good meets Lady Danbury's grandson, Gareth St. Clair, whose future hinges on him decoding an old Italian diary to prevent his father from ruining the family estate just to spite his own son. (Apparently, there's a shortage of good, living fathers in this universe.) But guess who knows Italian? Also, there's a jewel heist involved—just because.
Steaminess: 5/5. Gareth is shocked by Hyacinth wearing breeches at one point. We guess long, full skirts don't really do much for the imagination!
Memorable Line: "Mother," Hyacinth said, pausing for slightly longer than normal to steal a bit of time to organize her thoughts, "I am not going to chase after Mr. St. Clair. He's not at all the right sort of man for me."
"I'm not certain you'd know the right sort of man for you if he arrived on our doorstep riding an elephant."
"I would think the elephant would be a fairly good indication that I ought to look elsewhere."
Best sibling cameo: Hyacinth's banter with Gregory, which anyone with a mischief-making sibling can relate to.
To Sir Phillip, With Love
Bridgerton series, #5
Never one for half-measures, Eloise runs away to meet with this guy she's been pen pals with after finding out that she and Penelope won't be spinsters together. Sir Phillip Crane is the father of two young children and has no idea how to take care of them. He's also gruff and not prone to communicating his feelings or owning up to mistakes. Luckily, he has Eloise, whose outgoing and sunny personality has made her a fan favorite for both the book and the series.
Steaminess: 3/5. Minus a star for when they elect to engage in other activities instead of discussing their relationship!
Memorable line: "I'm twenty-three," [Gregory] bit off, with all the irritability of a younger sibling.
"And I'm twenty-eight," [Eloise] snapped. "I didn't need your help when you were in nappies, and I don't need it now."
Best sibling cameo: When all four Bridgerton brothers come after Sir Phillip for their sister, throw one punch between the four of them, and then proceed to get uproariously drunk together.
On The Way To The Wedding
Bridgerton series, #8
This story is a fun, campy, outrageous sort of novel with love lines crossing every which way. Gregory Bridgerton falls in love multiple times, runs all over London to stop a wedding, sneaks into his beloved's bedroom to confess, and gets shot at (and not on the same occasion as the sneaking!)—all in the pursuit of true love. He's a bit of a drama queen, this one. Read if you want to find all the detours one could possibly take to getting a happy ending.
Steaminess: 3/5. Steamy, but sleeping with another man on the eve of your wedding is probably not the best course of action to avoid misunderstandings.
Memorable line: "I simply refuse to deal with idiots...It has cut my social obligations in half." [ Anthony Bridgerton said]
Best sibling cameo: Hyacinth, who outdoes herself as a top-notch wingman, helps Gregory sneak Lucy away from a ball to propose.
First Comes Scandal
Rokesby Series, #4
Because in Regency England, the death of your reputation is as bad as, you know, actually dying, two childhood friends make a marriage of necessity. Nicholas Rokesby is studying to be a doctor when he offers to marry Georgiana Bridgerton, who was abducted for her dowry and on the verge of being ruined. Neither of them are particularly thrilled about it—at first, anyway.
Steaminess: 4/5. Although romance gets thwarted in one scene by a cat named Cat-Head.
"Pack of gossips, we are."
"We are not," Georgie said emphatically. "We are people who love and care about each other and are therefore logically interested in comings and goings. It is not at all the same as a pack of gossips."
"Sorry," Violet said with a wince. "There really ought to be a more benign word for people who love and care about each other and are therefore logically interested in the comings and goings."
"Family?" Georgie suggested.
Best cameo: Anthony and Benedict show up as precocious, mud-slinging children!
The Duke And I
Bridgerton series, #1
The Netflix series was based on this first Bridgerton novel, which follows Daphne and her fake courtship with Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Fake relationships are always fun, although most of the tension of the novel drops when they fall in love for real—only to be replaced with the sort of married life that makes you want to shake the both of them and force them to sit down and have an actual conversation for once.
Steaminess: 3/5. Simon has a line that goes, "Tonight, I'll be your blanket" which you just can't help to snicker at, especially after this delightful clip.
Memorable line: "Perhaps Mother is looking for you, then. In fact, I'm certain I hear her calling your name," [Daphne said.]
Colin grinned at her discomfort. "You're not supposed to be so obvious," he said in a stage whisper, purposely loud enough for Simon to hear. "He'll figure out that you like him."
Simon's entire body jerked with barely contained mirth.
"It's not his company I'm trying to secure," Daphne said acidly. "It's yours I'm trying to avoid."
Best sibling cameo: When Simon loses himself in a kiss with Daphne but forgets her three brothers are still around. Their reactions: "Anthony was studying the ceiling, Benedict was pretending to inspect his fingernails, and Colin was staring quite shamelessly."
The Other Miss Bridgerton
Rokesby series, #3
Poppy Bridgerton has a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time—for example, being held hostage on the ship of one Andrew Rokesby, aristocrat turned pirate. Shenanigans then ensue. (Question though: If it leads to a happy ending, then maybe the wrong place is actually the right place?)
Steaminess: 3/5. At one point, it gets heated while they're in a hostage situation, which really makes one consider their own priorities.
Memorable line: "Are you trying to torture me?"
"You know," he said thoughtfully, "I rather think I am."
Best cameo: Edmund and Violet Bridgerton (yes, parents of the alphabetically-named children!) make an appearance at a family dinner.
Because of Miss Bridgerton
Rokesby series, #1
Eldest son of the Rokesby family, George, is redeemed from being a total stick-in-the-mud character by Billie, oldest daughter of family friends, the Bridgertons. They make for an unlikely pair—she thinks of him as arrogant and annoying, he thinks of her as impulsive and foolish—but that's part of the fun isn't it?
Steaminess: 3/5. Frenemies-to-lovers make for a very good romance, especially when they're jealous and don't know why.
Memorable line: "You're wearing breeches," George said with a heavy sigh. "Of course, you're wearing breeches."
"I would hardly have attempted the tree in a dress."
"No," he said dryly, "you're much too sensible for that."