How "Bridgerton" Instilled Romance in Our Lives

Netflix released their lush and swoon-worthy adaptation of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books, a series of Regency-era romance novels that each follow one of eight siblings in the titular Bridgerton family. 

The first season, which came out on Christmas Day, follows the plot of the first book, The Duke and I, and is largely focused on the romance of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings.

Anthony’s story was always the most linked to Daphne’s, since as her eldest brother and the head of the family, he does have a say in who she marries. But Bridgerton does a wonderful job of making Anthony both understandably burdened and an unlikeable man all at once.

The one thing I am most grateful to the first season of Bridgerton for, however, is the early introduction of Polin—or Penelope and Colin—my favourite romance in all eight books. Until their novel, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Penelope was a punchline

The unfortunately attired youngest sister of the Featherington family, whose mother saw her as little more than an inconvenience, and who everyone looked at sideways, assuring themselves that things might be bad, but at least they didn’t have it as bad as poor Penelope.

Though the Bridgerton family are friendly enough to the Featheringtons, it always felt like a shocking lack of empathy on their part to look down on Penelope as they did, especially when the family has four daughters of their own to see married off.

As each social season passed and Penelope remained the wallflower, my heart broke just a little more for the awkward girl who never had a chance in such a shallow society.

Then came Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, which suddenly threw Penelope’s friendship with Eloise and her subsequent proximity to the Bridgerton family directly into the spotlight. As much as I adored her snarky friendship-turned-romance with Colin, by the end I was a little frustrated that the whole thing was confined to just that one book.

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