The Bridgerton children gathered at Eloise's debut, including Daphne, Athony, Benedict, Francesca, Hyacinth, and Gregory
(Netflix)

Your Ultimate Ranking of All Eight ‘Bridgerton’ Books

Some period romances are more romantic than others.

Spring is in the air and so is that sweet sweet Bridgerton frenzy, with the show’s much-anticipated third season growing nearer. And if, like me, you’ve been counting down the days to Penelope Featherington’s turn in the spotlight, then there’s only one solution to make it through this final month—going back to the books.

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Written by American author Julia Quinn, the eight Bridgerton novels that serve as inspiration from Netflix’s blockbuster series were published between 2000 and 2006. Each book focuses on one of the eight Bridgerton siblings and their—often scandalous, always chaotic—search for true love and marital bliss in a much simplified but very entertaining version of Regency London.

The Bridgerton novels are an entertaining read, especially if you’re a fan of period dramas, but of course, some of them land better than others. So here’s my ultimate ranking of all of them after having read through them all—and some of them multiple times, I’ll be honest. Be aware of some vague-ish spoilers for all the books ahead. 

8. The Duke and I (Book #1, Daphne’s story)

The Duke and I, published in 2000, is the one that started it all. It was the first Bridgerton novel to have been released, and it’s the first in the series chronologically. The book is set during the 1813 social season, the first to be rocked by Lady Whistledown’s scandalous gossip sheet.

In Bridgerton Daphne and Simon dance
And it’s precisely Lady Whistledown’s gossip sheet that leads Daphne and Simon to form their agreement (Netflix)

Maybe it’s because it was the first novel, but there’s something lacking in the love story of the eldest of the Bridgerton daughters with the Duke of Hastings—even if it all hinges on a fake relationship, which is one of romance’s great beloved tropes. Plus, that scene—I’m sure you know which one since it was also reprised in the show—was a terrible inclusion back then and has definitely not held up to the test of time.

7. An Offer from a Gentleman (Book #3, Benedict’s story)

This might be a bit controversial since Benedict—the secondborn of the Bridgerton clan as testified by the first letter of his name—is a fan favorite. And I mean, he’s also probably my favorite of the Bridgerton boys in the show. Still, I was forever annoyed with him throughout his story.

Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Bridgerton
Who here is thinking about how Benedict will look once he gets his leading man glow-up? (Netflix)

I don’t mean annoyed as in “All the Bridgerton boys share one brain cell.” I mean I couldn’t stand him and his behavior towards Sophie, his love interest who will eventually become his wife. Sure, I love that they end up living their best cottagecore life in the countryside away from London’s hustle and bustle. Wish that was me. But the way Benedict treats Sophie, a bit too insistent, a bit too patronizing, really irks me—enough to land his book near the bottom of this ranking.

6. On the Way to the Wedding (Book #8, Gregory’s story)

On the Way to the Wedding is the final Bridgerton book, published in 2006, and it covers the story of the second-to-last of Lady Violet’s children, Gregory—whom we first meet as a sweet and mischievous child who turns out to be just as chaotic and devoid of any sort of chill whatsoever as his older brothers. 

Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 2
Gregory might be the youngest of the Bridgerton brothers but he doesn’t escape their curse of being the most unhinged and sweetly dumb he can possibly be (Netflix)

His story is entertaining and a bit more intricate than the rest of his siblings,’ what with him objecting at his love interest’s wedding (even though she ends up going through with it anyway) and Gregory having to subsequently uncover the real identity of a traitor to the crown. Very Shakespearean comedy-esque.

The book is sitting here, in the middle-towards-the-bottom of the ranking, simply because I’m more attached to other stories and they have to take precedence in my heart and because sometimes the romantic plot struggles to emerge with everything else that is going on in the book.

5. It’s In His Kiss (Book #7, Hyacinth’s story)

Little Hyacinth is the youngest of the Bridgerton clan and as expected by someone from this particular family, she grows up into a headstrong and decisive young woman—something that applies also to her quest for true love.

Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton in Bridgerton
The baby of the family will be her effervescent self all throughout the ton (Netflix)

That’s because Hyacinth Bridgerton doesn’t beat around the bush and makes her feelings known to Gareth St. Clair—who just so happens to be Lady Danbury’s grandson, and so there’s a great many deal of the ton’s fiercest lady in this story as well—immediately and he just can’t help to fall head over heels for her as they work together to solve a hidden jewels case. Perfect if you enjoy a dash of mystery and detective work with your period romances.

4. To Sir Phillip, With Love (Book #5, Eloise’s story)

Eloise is the second-eldest of the Bridgerton daughters, born immediately after Daphne even though the two couldn’t be more different. Her story has proven to be especially divisive among readers. 

eloise bridgerton is kind of an asshole
An unconventional romance is exactly what we would have expected from Eloise Bridgerton (Netflix)

Personally, I’m always a big fan of the grumpy/sunshine trope, which Eloise and Sir Phillip Crane definitely are. I also like the idea of their romance beginnings as an epistolary one, something that sets Eloise apart from her siblings, even though we don’t actually see that many letters before the two move their relationship off the paper and into real life.

3. When He Was Wicked (Book #6, Francesca’s story)

Francesca is the quietest of the Bridgerton siblings—and a face that watchers of the Netflix show might not be as familiar with, since two actresses have played her over the course of three seasons—and yet her romance is up there as one of the best of the entire series.

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3
She might have spoken the least amount of lines of all the Bridgertons so far, but she’s coming for all our throats (Netflix)

When He Was Wicked is not just one of the best books of the series, capable of standing up by itself, it’s also probably one of the steamiest—because that’s just what happens when you have the good old “we won’t confront our undeniable feelings for each other but we sure as hell will act on all this sexual tension” trope. Plus, Francesca’s story starts when she’s in a very different place than her other sisters and sisters-in-law, which makes her turn as a leading lady very refreshing.

2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Book #2, Anthony’s story)

Kate and Anthony are massive fan favorites and with good reason. Besides the always enjoyable annoyances-to-lovers trope—I say “annoyances” because come on, they were never really “enemies”—they’re both incredibly stressed-out eldest siblings hard-wired to put everyone’s feelings before their own and doing their best to manage their not-inconsiderable amount of unhingedness. And I really felt that, honestly.

Bridgerton Season 2 Kate and Anthony Dancing
We love some eldest sister x eldest brother content (Netflix)

Their story is entertaining and fun and full of genuine emotion—and a lot of steam, which is always a plus. Both Kate and Anthony are also just great characters on their own. Their individual character arcs throughout the novel are almost as satisfying to witness as their undeniable attraction to each other—which only grows stronger and stronger even as Anthony officially pursues Kate’s younger sister Edwina.

1. Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Book #4, Penelope’s Colin’s story)

Nothing beats Romancing Mister Bridgerton for me. Sure, Penelope and Colin are also fan favorites and their book is generally beloved, but as a plus-size girl myself the incredible identification pull that Penelope has for me personally makes it impossible to place the fourth overall Bridgerton novel in the very first spot of my list.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton looking longingly at one another in Bridgerton season 3
I just can’t with them. I can’t (Netflix)

Sure, Colin is as dense as they come even for a Bridgerton brother, and the idea of being in love with a guy who doesn’t consider you for years isn’t exactly great in real life—but it becomes delicious in fiction as Colin realizes that Penelope is actually everything he’s ever dreamed of and all but grovels to get her attention back. Plus this book really shines a light on Penelope’s years-long work as Lady Whistledown—and we have no choice but to love a heroine who takes her future into her own hands while also being vengeful and petty at times. Honestly, they’re just everything to me.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.