Bright Romantic Fantasies

May 5, 2022

7 BOOKS FOR BRIDGERTON FANS

Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton

Suddenly, everyone is interested in Regency romance again! It’s no mystery that Bridgerton captured our imaginations with its lush sets, opulent costumes, and lavish soundtrack. The film adaptation of Julia Quinn’s romance series (which, by the way, has 13 books) hit just the right note – and we’re hungry for more.  

But: it’s actually kind of hard to find “books like Bridgerton.” Sure, there are a gazillion regency romance novels (if you want to explore the genre, start with Georgette Heyer), but the real  joy here is the immersive nature of the experience. The audience is carried away by the flowers, the music, the silks, the intrigue – and the fireworks! (Both literally and figuratively.)

It’s more than just a romance in the “weddings at the end” sense. It’s a romance in the old-fashioned, swashbuckling sense. This is romance in the way that Errol Flynn movies are romantic – in the way that Jules Verne stories are romantic. It’s a tale of adventure in the great wide somewhere…

With that in mind, here are some book recommendations that I think reflect the spirit of the Bridgerton series (complete with happy endings).

  1. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. The beloved childhood favorite was actually based on a 1973 novel (the author wrote the screenplay as well). True love! Swordfights! Magic! Pirates! Adventure!
  2. Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. If your favorite part of Bridgerton is TheAesthetic™, you will love this 1906 chronicle of a year in the English countryside. Full of watercolors by the author, it’s a treasure for natural historians and artists alike.
  3. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Kowal. This sweet, cottagecore romance has magic interwoven into a plot tapestry as visually delicate as its Regency setting. Utterly charming, it gives the reader a sense of walking through fields in spring.
  4. Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Yeah, it’s a play. Yeah, it’s set in the wrong century. But this classic comedy is full of the same things that make Bridgerton such a treat: lighthearted magic, colorful characters, and silly misunderstandings that all work out in the end. Elizabethan slang can be a little bit of a challenge for the modern reader, so I like the “parallel text” edition which allows you to understand the story using familiar language, while still retaining the poetry of the original words.
  5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. The story that started it all! Austen’s famous novel has been adapted over and over and over again for the screen, and it’s easy to see why. Complex characters, realistic sibling interactions, and an unforgettable dry wit keep readers coming back for more even after all these centuries. Fair warning: this book is HUGE.
  6. Jane Austen Charles DickensWhat Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool. This volume is full of juicy details about the time period – which can be really helpful if you do decide to tackle Pride & Prejudice. It’s also a good read on its own! 
  7. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron. This adorable series explores the question: what if Jane Austen were a detective?

Honorable mentions: 

  • Sorcery and Cecelia by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede. An epistolary novel, this cute fantasy revolves around the friendship between two young ladies in Regency England – and their encounters with magicians in the same social circles. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find, but I love it so much I couldn't bear to leave it off the list.
  • Meaningful Bouquets has beautiful photos of floral arrangements... you know, the kind required by every member of the ton. 
  • BridgertonTablescapes is a great place to start if you're inspired to host your own lavish dinner parties!
  • Berries makes me want to have a picnic, like, immediately. 
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon. The extraordinary true story of life before, during and after the First World War - in Highclere Castle (the location where Downton Abbey was filmed). 
  • Country Housewife is a primary source if you're interested in more serious history books. 
  • Poldark is another book series turned small screen historical drama - with equally swoonworthy leading characters. 
  • Lord John and the Private Matter is an Outlander spinoff focusing on Lord John, a Regency gentleman who often finds himself solving mysteries. 

If you haven't read Julia Quinn's novels yet, start with The Duke & I (first in the Bridgerton series), which was adapted for Season One of the show.  

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Jane Was Here: An Illustrated Guide to Jane Austen's England Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781784883362
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Published: Hardie Grant - June 2nd, 2020

Jane Austen For Beginners Cover Image
By Robert Dryden, Joe Lee (Illustrator)
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Published: For Beginners - June 12th, 2012

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Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Know to Start your First Beehive Cover Image
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Where's Jane?: Find Jane Austen Hidden in Her Stories Cover Image
By Rebecca Smith, Katy Dockrill (Illustrator)
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Bridgerton [TV Tie-in]: The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1) Cover Image
$8.49
ISBN: 9780063078697
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Published: Avon - December 1st, 2020

Arabella (The Georgette Heyer Signature Collection) Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9781492677635
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Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery (Being A Jane Austen Mystery #1) Cover Image
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The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure Cover Image
$9.34
ISBN: 9780156035217
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Published: Harper Perennial - October 8th, 2007

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady Cover Image
$25.50
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Published: Rizzoli - March 13th, 2018

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) Cover Image
$16.14
ISBN: 9780765325600
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Published: Tor Books - June 7th, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream (No Fear Shakespeare): Volume 7 (Sparknotes No Fear Shakespeare #7) Cover Image
$5.91
ISBN: 9781586638481
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Published: Sparknotes - July 3rd, 2003

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Pride and Prejudice Cover Image
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Published: Dover Publications - April 12th, 1995

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9780671882365
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Published: Touchstone - April 21st, 1994

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Lord John and the Private Matter (Lord John Grey #1) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780440241485
Published: Dell - October 28th, 2008

Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery (Phryne Fisher Mysteries) Cover Image
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The Country Housewife and Lady's Director, in the Management of a House, and the Delights and Profits of a Farm: Containing Instructions for Managing Cover Image
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Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (Poldark Saga #1) Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9781492622079
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Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - June 9th, 2015

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780770435622
Published: Crown - December 27th, 2011

Meaningful Bouquets: Create Special Messages with Flowers - 25 Beautiful Arrangements Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781452140070
Published: Chronicle Books - March 22nd, 2016

House Beautiful Tablescapes: Setting a Stylish Table Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781618372345
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Paperblanks Flexis Madame Butterfly (Esprit de Lacombe) Softcover Notebook, Lined - MIDI Cover Image
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Published: Paperblanks - February 25th, 2020

Christian Lacroix Heritage Collection Butterfly Parade A5 Layflat Notebook Cover Image
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Florida Butterflies & Moths: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (Pocket Naturalist Guides) Cover Image
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Florida Butterflies & Pollinators: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species Cover Image
By James Kavanagh, Raymond Leung (Illustrator)
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Common Butterflies of Florida Cover Image
By Rick Cech, Rick Cech (Illustrator)
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Great Lakes Butterflies & Moths: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (Pocket Naturalist Guides) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781583553701
Published: Waterford Press - August 29th, 2016