Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton season 3
(Netflix)

Alert The Ton! These 10 Regency Romances Have Major ‘Bridgerton’ Energy

With Season 3 of the Netflix series Bridgerton poised to debut on May 16, 2024, we’ve got Regency-era romances on the brain.

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The hit drama about the courting lives of the Bridgerton siblings was originally a series of novels by Julia Quinn, so we wondered what other books have the same juicy, frilly-collared and tightly-corseted vibe as Quinn’s popular source material. It turns out there are lots of fabulous Bridgerton-core books out there! Check out our ten favorites, ranked in order of “clutch the pearls” to “pass the smelling salts.”

10. Bringing Down the Duke (2019; book 1 in the A League of Extraordinary Women series) by Evie Dunmore

Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore paperback cover
(Berkley)

Author Evie Dunmore is a consultant at University of Oxford, and her time on the historic campus inspired her to write this romance novel set in the 19th Century. The book is about Annabelle Archer, an intelligent yet poor woman who receives a scholarship to study with Oxford’s first female cohort class in 1879. Part of her placement there involves recruiting powerful men to side with the women’s suffrage movement, but when she meets Sebastian Devereaux, the Duke of Montgomery, her job goes from hard to … harder.

This is the first in Dunmore’s popular A League of Extraordinary Women series. Three more novels followed, including A Rogue of One’s Own (2020), Portrait of a Scotsman (2021), and The Gentleman’s Gambit (2023).

9. Aphrodite and the Duke (2022) by J.J. McAvoy

Aphrodite and the Duke by JJ McAvoy
(Dell)

With a name like Aphrodite, you’d better be gorgeous! Thankfully, Aphrodite Du Bell is stunning, but that didn’t keep her true love, Evander Eagleman, from dumping her four years ago. Still stinging from the rejection, Aphrodite reluctantly returns to the ton for her sister’s debut, where she comes face-to-face with Evander once again. Newly widowed, Evander seems keen to pick up where they left off, but then his ugly secret rears its head once more.

Aphrodite and the Duke is part of the Du Bells series, which includes Verity and the Forbidden Suitor (2023) and Hathor and Her Lover (2024).

8. It Takes Two To Tumble (2017; book 1 in the Seducing the Sedgewicks series) by Cat Sebastian

It Takes Two To Tumble by Cat Sebastian
(Avon Impulse)

Why should the straights have all the fun!? Cat Sebastian has been heralded as the queen of queer historical romances thanks to her beloved Seducing the Sedgewicks series. In this, the first book in the series, Ben Sedgwick is a quiet vicar leading a pleasant if boring life when he’s suddenly called upon to help a widowed naval captain with his three unruly children. Ben quickly becomes indispensable, but it’s not long before the burly captain returns home and the sparks start to fly. Add in a kidnapping, blackmail, and lots of steamy nighttime scenes, and you’ve got yourself a winner of a romance!

Two more books follow in the series: A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (2018) and Two Rogues Make a Right (2020).

7. The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke (2017) by Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
(Avon)

The Duke of Ashbury has returned from war a changed man. He’s miserable and brooding, but realizing he needs an heir, he strikes a deal with the vicar’s daughter. He tells her not to ask about his war scars, not to expect conversation, and that their business arrangement is just that—nothing more. But Emma Gladstone has a mind of her own, and she’s got a few dealbreakers of her own.

Other books in this series include The Governess Game (2018) and The Wallflower Wager (2019).

6. An Arranged Marriage (1991; book 1 in the Company of Rogues series) by Jo Beverley

An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley
(Zebra)

Fans praise author Jo Beverley’s writing in all of her bestselling books, but her talents are especially evident in the Company of Rogues series. In the first book of the series, Eleanor Chivenham is dealing with a tarnished reputation thanks to her brother, so she agrees to marry Nicholas Delaney without knowing much about him. Eleanor soon finds that her new husband is hiding a big secret of his own, and when they fall for one another, everything gets delightfully complicated.

Beverley wrote ten books in this series, which she calls the Rogue Chronicles. The author recommends you read them in order, beginning with An Arranged Marriage.

5. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie (2011; book 1 in the Mackenzies & McBrides series) by Jennifer Ashley

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
(Berkley)

Jennifer Ashley has written over seventy books, but this was the first in her popular Victorian Highland Pleasure series centered around the Mackenzie and McBride families. In The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, a young woman named Beth learns the truth about the Scottish lord everyone says is mad. She feels that she can somehow help him, if she’s only brave enough to let him get close.

Several more books in this series followed, including Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage (2010) & The Many Sins of Cameron (2011).

4. Sorcerer to the Crown (2015; book 1 in the Sorcerer to the Crown series) by Zen Cho

Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho
(Ace)

Zen Cho adds a healthy dose of fantasy and science fiction to the Regency romance genre with this stunning debut. Sorcerer to the Crown is about Zacharias Wythe, an orphaned wizard who grows up to become a Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers. This group is in charge of maintaining magic within His Majesty’s realm. While investigating some anomalies in a far-flung part of England, he meets a powerful witch named Prunella Gentlewoman. Naturally, sparks fly.

Cho followed up this story with one more book, The True Queen, in 2019.

3. Wilde in Love (2017; book 1 in the The Wildes of Lindlow Castle series) by Eloisa James

Wilde in Love: The Wildes of Lindow Castle by Eloisa James
(Avon)

Lord Alaric Wilde has been away from England for so long that he doesn’t realize he’s amassed a bit of a fan club back at home. When he returns, he’s overwhelmed by throngs of women who see him as the perfect suitor: the son of a duke, handsome, brave, and rich. Alaric hides out in his father’s estate, where he meets Miss Willa Ffynche and is captivated by her wit and bawdy humor. Both Willa and Alaric claim they don’t want romance, but their actions say otherwise.

Author Eloisa James continues this Georgian (think big wigs and hoop dresses) series with six more novels, all of which center on one sibling from the Wilde family. Sound familiar?

2. To Have and To Hoax (2020; book 1 in the Regency Vows series) by Martha Waters

To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters
(Atria)

If you’re looking for a funny rom-com set in the Regency era, look no further. Martha Waters’ Regency Vows series mixes modern sensibilities with 19th-century characters and settings, and the results are perfect for fans of Julia Quinn and Bridgerton. To Have and To Hoax is about Lord Violet Grey and Lord James Audley, a couple whose passion turned cold after a terrible row just a year into their union. Five years later, they find themselves pulling pranks on each other to test their loyalties, but wind up finding more than either bargained for instead.

The Regency Vows series also includes To Love and To Loathe (2021), To Marry and To Meddle (2022), To Swoon and To Spar (2023), and To Woo and To Wed (2024).

1. Regency Buck (1935) by Georgette Heyer

Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer
(Bantam Books)

We simply cannot write a list of Regency dramas without mentioning Georgette Heyer. Although Heyer wrote dozens of novels across several genres, she’s best known for inventing the Regency romance (wherein the era and setting is part of the plot) with this book. Originally published in 1935, Heyer drew inspiration from the work of Jane Austen and did extensive research on the period before penning Regency Buck. It’s the tale of a young woman making her debut in society under the watchful eye of her reluctant guardian. The story also involves a mystery, another of Heyer’s specialties, and features a subplot about the heroine’s errant rakish brother.

Regency Buck was Heyer’s first Regency novel, but hardly the last. She wrote 26 in this newly-minted genre before her death in 1974.

I hope this list is helpful as you binge-read ahead of the next season of Bridgerton! Happy reading.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.