bridgerton shake up penelope and colin

Can’t Wait for Season 3 of ‘Bridgerton’? Here’s How To Read All the Novels in Order To Tide You Over

How much longer, Netflix? How much?

*** Minor spoilers ahead for the entire Bridgerton book series. Be warned.***

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I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for any news on the release date of season 3 of Bridgerton to drop like—yesterday. Out of all the Bridgerton siblings’ romances, the one between third-born Colin Bridgerton and Actual Best Character And My Forever Beloved™ Penelope Featherington is hands-down my favorite, so you can imagine how much I’m ready to personally go and knock at Shonda Rhimes’s house to ask when exactly is this season premiering.

In the meantime, I’m doing the only thing I can do—reading and re-reading Romancing Mister Bridgerton, the fourth Bridgerton novel and the one that details how exactly Colin and Penelope fell in love. Or more accurately, how Penelope fell in love first and Colin took a stupid amount of time to realize he loved her too.

So if you find yourself in my same situation or if you simply want to get ahead of Netflix and know what happens to the rest of the Bridgerton brood beside Daphne and Anthony, here’s the entire rundown of everything you need to know about the Bridgerton novels— including their reading order, as put down by the series’ author Julia Quinn herself.

The Duke & I

Everything starts with The Duke & I, where we’re introduced to one of the most admired and beloved families of London’s early 19th-century high society: the Bridgertons. While the late Viscount Bridgerton sadly died quite some time before the start of the story, the family’s matriarch Violet does a marvelous job at keeping her eight children—named alphabetically, so going from Anthony to Hyacinth while passing by Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca. and Gregory—in check while also planning advantageous marriages for all of them, as any “matchmaking mama” of the ton should do.

In particular, The Duke & I is the story of Daphne Bridgerton, eldest of the Bridgerton girls and therefore the first to have made her debut on London’s social scene, and her “fake relationship” with one of the ton’s most infamous rakes, Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings. Of course, like all good fanfiction has taught us, that “fake relationship” doesn’t stay fake for long—I mean, we’ve all seen season 1 of Bridgerton, so we all know how the story of Daphne and Simon (played by Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page) goes.

In Bridgerton Daphne and Simon dance
Look at them being absolutely definitely completely NOT in love (Netflix)

The Viscount Who Loved Me

The second book in the series focuses on the eldest of the Bridgerton siblings and the current Viscount Bridgerton, Anthony, a man who has never calmed down a day in his life—and maybe understandably so, considering what the formative event of his childhood was. Anthony finally convinces himself to find the perfect wife with whom he can produce heirs to continue the Bridgerton line and he approaches this task as he would a math problem: all logic and no emotion.

Enter Kate—short for Katharine Sheffield in the books and Kathani Sharma in the show—new in town and looking for a husband for her younger sister, and you have the perfect recipe for the most classic of enemies-to-lovers romances. The Viscount Who Loved Me was the source material for season 2 of Bridgerton, with Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley taking up the leads.

Bridgerton Season 2 Kate and Anthony Dancing
Right in front of Edwina’s salad, you absolute buffoons of my heart? (Netflix)

An Offer from a Gentleman

This is where the switch happens from the book series to the Netflix adaptation. While the show has chosen to bump up Colin and Penelope by making them the protagonists of its third season, the third instalment of the Bridgerton series follows Benedict, the artist of the family, as he meets a mysterious woman at a masquerade ball.

The woman turns out to be Sophie, the illegitimate daughter of an earl, and her romance with Benedict unfolds in a very Cinderella-like fashion. There have been, however, rumors chasing each other around ever since the first season of Bridgerton that Benedict (played by Luke Thompson) could potentially maybe be queer in the adaptation—is that why his season was switched with Colin and Penelope’s? Will we see him live out his own romance in a future season four? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Benedict Bridgerton in Bridgerton
I’m not going to lie to you, I do kind of wish they followed up on the groundwork they sort of laid down in season 1 (Netflix)

Romancing Mister Bridgerton

As said before, the fourth Bridgerton novel focuses on Colin Bridgerton, the third-eldest Bridgerton sibling, and Penelope Featherington, a long-time friend of the family whom we learn is very closely involved with Lady Whistledown, the author of London’s most beloved gossip column.

Their story will be the one season 3 focuses on, with actors Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton taking center stage. Please give us a release date I can’t wait anymore.

penelope featherington lady whistledown bridgerton
Colin you absolute dumbass! How did you not see! She was right in front of you this whole time! (Netflix)

To Sir Phillip, With Love

The fifth book in the Bridgerton series focuses on Eloise, Penelope’s best friend and the family’s unconventional soul—by the time To Sir Phillip, With Love starts Eloise has firmly entered spinster territory and she’s not too worried about it. That is, of course, before Sir Phillip Crane and his letters enter her life.

Eloise (played by Claudia Jesse) has been one of Bridgerton’s most beloved secondary characters ever since the show started, and season 2 has also shown us a first glimpse at Phillip (played by Chris Fulton) who at this point in time is still married to Marina Thompson—whom we saw in season 1 portrayed by Ruby Barker.

eloise bridgerton is kind of an asshole
Eloise Bridgerton you will always be famous (Netflix)

When He Was Wicked

Second-to-last of the Bridgerton daughters, Francesca Bridgerton is musically-talented and has a rougher start in married life than most of her siblings. After going through a particularly difficult time, she finds herself entangled with Michael Stirling, who has been in love with her for quite some years by the time they are both free to start their romance.

So far, Francesca has appeared only a couple of times throughout the show, played by Ruby Stokes in the seasons we have seen and by Hannah Dodd in season 3. Still no signs of Michael Stirling, but if the show continues, we’ll definitely have our chance to meet him.

It’s in His Kiss

Hyacinth is the baby of the family, but by the time she comes out into London society she manages to dazzle the ton just like the rest of her family. She will cross paths with Gareth St. Clair, on a quest to save his estate with the help of a journal written in Italian, which Hyacinth will offer to help him translate. And we all know what happens when two characters are brought together to work on a project, right?

Hyacinth has been portrayed in both seasons of Bridgerton by young actress Florence Hunt, and it’s very likely she’ll be recast and aged up by the time it’s her turn to be the main character. Still, for now, we can enjoy her vexing her older siblings and running around Bridgerton House.

On the Way to the Wedding

The final novel of the main Bridgerton series follows the second-to-last child and youngest son, Gregory, as he chases the affection of a charming London miss who could not care less about his affections. So Gregory accepts the help of his love’s best friend, Lady Lucinda Abernathy, to win her over— and would you guess it, that’s when they both realize they’re actually in love with each other. If only Lucy wasn’t already engaged. 

Much like Hyacinth, we’ve seen Gregory in Bridgerton as portrayed by actor Will Tilston. Lucinda Abernathy has no face yet, but the family was actually mentioned by a very stressed-out Lady Violet while she was making sure that everything was ready for the ball at the Bridgerton’s country house in season 2.

Anthony, Benedict, Daphne, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth Bridgerton stand on the side as Eloise debuts officially during season 2 of Netflix's Bridgerton
Thre three youngest Bridgertons have been on the sides for now, but they’ll definitely get their time to shine (Netflix)

The series also includes five collections, two novellas, a graphic novel, and a four-book prequel series. 

Three of those collections are “simply” all the novels grouped together in bigger volumes. Another is a collection of the most memorable quotes from the Bridgerton world—aptly titled The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton. Then there’s The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, which might be the most interesting one to readers looking to know how things go for our favorite siblings once their respective books ended. This collection gives each of the Bridgertons a second epilogue to let us know how they’re doing after their respective weddings and also includes a story about the Bridgerton matriarch, Lady Violet, herself.

Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, and Luke Thomspon as Benedict Bridgerton in episode 201 of Bridgerton.
Lady Violet, truly a force to be reckoned with (Netflix)

The two novellas—The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown and Lady Whistledown Strikes Back—are also set in the world of the ton, even though no Bridgerton stars as their protagonist. Finally, the graphic novel Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron is actually a book-within-a-book, a breathtaking gothic novel that Julia Quinn invented and put into It’s in His Kiss, as well as several of her other non-Bridgerton series.

Now that you’re all caught up about the Bridgerton book series, it’s time for me to go and read about Colin having the realization of a lifetime while sitting in a carriage with Penelope. For like, the fifteenth time at the very least.

(via: Julia Quinn’s official website; 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.