Note: I’ve only read the first three books of the Bridgerton series, so I can’t speak for the rest of the books. Also, only the first book, The Duke and I has been adapted to the Netflix series thus far.
It has come to my attention, that some of the ladies of this ton have been watching season one of Bridgerton on Netflix. This author can only imagine what joy you readers are missing out on by not reading the books by Julia Quinn. This author has considered some reasons in which you, dear reader, should become a reader of the novels. Please find the evidence attached.
When season one of Bridgerton was released to Netflix on Christmas in 2020, a record 82 million people watched the series. While some could argue that its success was largely due to the timing of its release – in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19 and during a lockdown order – I would argue that it deserved all its praise. The show was produced by Shonda Rhimes of Shondaland, who is the same producer that created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. The show was made for Netflix and adapted Julia Quinn’s 9-part series about the Bridgerton family. Season one featured beautiful costume design and cinematography, as viewers devoured London in bloom.
While some people argue that you need to read a book before watching a movie (or in this case, a series), I don’t think that is necessary with Bridgerton. While there was terminology that I didn’t understand at first, it was easier to understand certain terms on screen. I don’t think seeing the first season spoils the first book and I’d like to encourage you to read the books for yourself anyway.
1. Time commitment
Season one on Netflix consisted of 8 one-hour episodes, and each book is about 400 pages. According to readinglength.com, the first book would take seven hours and 44 minutes to read. If you have time to watch the Netflix series, you have time to read the books!
2. More insight into characters’ thoughts and lifestyles
The books switch between perspectives. I loved knowing what Simon Basset was thinking when he first met Daphne, unknowingly. As a lady myself, I had a pretty good idea of what Daphne might be thinking but knowing what the gentlemen were thinking was particularly interesting.
There’s questions that are answered in the books that aren’t addressed in the series. For instance, I realized after finishing season one that there were no washrooms or running water in the 1800’s, and while reading the second and third books, there was finally mention of the chamber pot.
3. Alternate scenes
The Netflix series is not a direct reproduction of the books. Unlike book-to-movie adaptations, where plots are entirely based on the respective book, the Netflix adaptation developed new characters, plot twists and scenes, in addition to those from the book. Consequently, some of the scenes and characters in the book have been left out. By reading the books, you can learn more about the eligible bachelors and ladies in the London Marriage Market, as well as their younger siblings who have not yet come out in society.
4. Reading is better for your eyes and mind
If you’re anything like me, your screen time has increased drastically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve found that reading books is a welcomed treat for my eyes and it allows me to ignite my creativity and imagination.
5. More appreciation for season two
Waiting up to a year for season two feels like a long time after fans binged the first season in days. By reading the books until the release, you can relive the Bridgerton world in the meantime. I’m sure I will notice more things in season two when I watch it than if I hadn’t read the book.
6. The waitlist will be worth it
If you’re a student like me, you probably don’t want to go out and buy eight or nine brand new books. I signed up for the library waitlist for the Bridgerton books as soon as I watched the series in January. I knew then that I wouldn’t necessarily have time to read the books during midterm season, so waiting a few months didn’t bother me. Reading the books took me back to Regency England and put the Bridgerton House in my mind.
7. Second epilogues
After writing eight Bridgerton novels (one love story for each sibling), Julia Quinn wrote the ninth novel The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After which features a story about Violet Bridgerton, in addition to second epilogues about the siblings’ families. Depending on which copy of the books you read, the second epilogue for the respective sibling may be included in your book. These give you more insight into the characters’ future lives.
8. Practice your British accent
Especially when I was reading the first book, I often read the Lady Whistledown column out loud. It was a fun way to feel more involved in the story and particularly fancy.
So far, I have really enjoyed the Bridgerton books. They switch between the main Bridgerton sibling’s perspective and their love interest’s perspective. There are some common plotlines between the books so far, but the major plot of the love story differs between books. The books are romance novels, so if you’re not interested in that, there’s no need to spend time reading the books. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to read the books when work and school aren’t so busy, so you’re ready for the next season!