How ‘Bridgerton’ Ushered Romance into 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.

Bridgerton tells a wider story. Where romance novels of this sort generally focus on the central couple, with their friends and family only occupying a supportive peripheral role, Bridgerton expands the roles of Daphne’s elder brothers Anthony, Benedict, and Colin.

Daphne and Simon’s story is the perfect one with which to kick off the series and establish the world they live in, because outside of some inner turmoil, angst, and an astounding combination of naivete and communication issues, not a whole lot happens.

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.

This is the brilliance of Bridgerton. Penelope and Colin’s relationship is the only one built on the foundation of a pre-existing friendship, but in the books they only really start spending time together in their own story.

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